(Story by Lily Coleman)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation every spring puts out flyers and posts on its website advice on how to avoid problems with black bears.

The DEC says the best way to avoid these type of encounters is to remove food sources that attract bears. Some of these sources include barbecue grills, garbage cans and pet food. There are instances in which bears have been relocated due to them being opportunistic animals that try to get any food that they can easily find, but are not deterred by usual methods. There have even been bear traps seen near a dumpster in Northeast Pennsylvania at the Wayne Highlands School District.

New York State has up to 7,000 bears that come out after a long hibernation and need to replenish their nutrients and body fat. The food that they find readily available just happens to be human food.

The DEC says it is illegal and dangerous to feed bears. Authorities say its illegal even to indirectly feed them with bird feeders or garbage. If you or someone else believes that bears are being intentionally fed, you're asked to report it to the DEC immediately.

For more information on living with black bears, check out the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov