CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – Following reports of black bears in the neighborhood, the City of Corning is issuing a set of reminders to residents on how to deal with bear sightings.

The City said that while bear sightings usually begin in May, there have already been social media posts showing them roaming through Corning in February and March. The City also reminded residents of the New York DEC’s list of guidelines for “reducing human-bear conflicts”.

These include keeping garbage and birdseed in a secure container in a secure place, like a garage, and only putting the garbage out on the morning it is scheduled to be picked up. Other suggestions include only feeding birds from December through April, feeding pets indoors, and cleaning your grill after every use.

Though the police might not always be able to respond to a bear sighting, Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding said residents should still call so authorities can have accurate data. “Most importantly, never approach a bear. Bears are large powerful wild animals that act and react out of instinct,” Spaulding said.

The City of Corning’s list of guidelines are below:

If You Meet a Bear While Out Walking, Stay Calm

  • NEVER RUN. Running can make a bear chase you.
  • Keep your distance. Back slowly away while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Slowly and calmly leave the area. Talk aloud so the bear will become aware of you.
  • Be extra careful around a female with cubs. Never approach a cub.
  • NEVER throw food to distract a bear. This teaches a bear to approach people for food.
  • Fight back if attacked. Black bears have been driven away when people fight with rocks, sticks, or even bare hands.
  • Report bear sightings that occur in the City limits to the Corning Police Department at (607) 962-0340 Ext 1500. Call 911 if it’s an emergency.

Bear-Proof your yard – Once a bear finds food, it will come back for more.

  • Bear-proof your trash. Keep garbage indoors until it’s time for trash pickup.
  • Feed pets inside and store pet food indoors.
  • Clean barbecue grills immediately after use. Remember to empty or clean the grill’s “drip pan”
  • Only feed birds between December 1 & April 1. This is when birds need it andwhen bears normally hibernate. Bears love bird seed and hummingbird feeders.
  • Never store any food outside. Bears can even tear open locked containers.
  • Fruit-bearing trees and bushes can attract bears. Harvest fruit and vegetablesas they ripen. Pick up fallen fruit from the ground. Keep your lawn mowed and free of flowering dandelions and clover.
  • Keep compost clean and enclosed securely.
  • Educate your neighbors. If you follow these steps but neighbors don’t, bears may still come to your backyard.

If You See a Bear in the Area:

  • Stay calm. If the bear finds no food, it will usually leave.
  • Stay away. Bears could attack if they feel threatened.
  • Warn others. Bring kids and pets indoors. Remind others to keep their distance.
  • Scare the bear. Make sure the bear has a clear escape path. Make lots ofnoise, turn on lights, and bang pots and pans together. Don’t let the bear become comfortable around your home.
  • Remove attractants. After the bear is gone, make sure your home and yard is bear proof.
  • If the bear is actively threatening human safety or pets, or is destroying property, call 911. Otherwise, report bear sightings that occur in the City limits to the Corning Police Department at (607) 962-0340 Ext 1500