Nine break-ins in any town are going to cause alarm. When black bears are the culprits, that may be a bit more concerning. However, when your town sports a 'Bear Task Force', you probably have some level of expectation for this type of invasion.

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55 miles south of the Capital District, the town of Woodstock is no stranger to black bear interactions. This is the time of year when the fury beasts are packing on the pounds, getting ready for their winter hibernation.

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According to William J. Kemble of dailyfreeman.com, Bear Task Force member Anula Courtis warned residents about this time of year, noting that there were more than 50 bear-related conflicts reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation by Woodstock residents last year.

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Courtis explained to the Town Board, “Though the majority of these reports were associated with bears accessing trash or bird feeders, there were also nine instances of bears breaking into homes. Once a bear enters a home and obtains food, it is more likely to enter a home a second time, creating a significant public safety concern. Because of this, six of these bears had to be euthanized by DEC staff and in one instance a homeowner shot and killed a bear themselves after it entered their home.”

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Bear interactions may not be as common in the urban or suburban areas in the Capital Region. However, they do happen annually and bear encounters can be dangerous, especially if bear cubs are involved. Never get between a mother and her cubs. Period. If you do not have an escape, do not turn your back on the bear. Ever. Make yourself as big as possible and be loud. Go to dec.ny.gov for more information on how to deal with bears and other wildlife encounters.

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