HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – 18 News has learned wildlife officials removed a trap that was placed on private property last Thursday in the Bennett Circle area of Horseheads. The large black bear has been roaming the neighborhood looking for food, and even ripped a screen door to enter the room of a home. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the property owner asked for the trap to be removed. DEC told 18 News it “has received no new reports of a nuisance bear since Friday.” This morning 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina asked a DEC official to explain why the homeowner no longer wanted the trap on the property, and how long the trap had been in place before it was removed. The DEC official replied saying “I will get back to you.” As of this evening, we have not received a response.

A different homeowner was fined last week for intentionally feeding the bear. The Department of Environmental Conservation alerted residents the bear was showing behavior that could be dangerous to humans, and would have to be euthanized after being trapped.

This comes as more bear sightings are being reported in our area. Many people told 18 News the bears are coming out earlier than usual this year. Ryan Donnelly, Curator & Educator at the Tanglewood Nature Center in Elmira says it’s possible bear sightings are on the rise, for more than one reason.

“Are bears out earlier than usual this year?” Dubina asked.

“So that’s kind of an interesting thing to see and look at. We want to get some more info,” said Donnelly. “Bears are not true hibernators, as we think of other animals like rodents, squirrels, and chipmunks. They actually go into a process called torpor, which is a deep sleep, so it lasts longer, but at the same time, it’s actually lighter than hibernation so they can actually wake up quicker and faster depending on a lot of variables like food availability, temperature and light. So, with these kinds of warmer temperatures that were getting a little earlier that could lead to a lot more bears coming out of torpor earlier.”

“I’ve heard a lot of reports like you said but that could also be because bears are nocturnal. They do like to hang out at night. They will come out during the day but with a lot of people having cameras around their houses, there might just be more observed and reported incidents now.”

Several people told 18 News they were upset to hear wildlife officials would have to euthanize the bear spotted in Horseheads if it was trapped. We asked Ryan Donnelly from the Tanglewood Nature Center to explain why wildlife officials decided to kill the animal instead of returning it to the wild.

“The big problem with bears is, they’re coming out of hibernation, or I should say torpor, right now,” said Donnelly. “They’re looking to eat a lot. A bear usually per day is going to be eating 5000 calories. They usually get that from the wild, but if they’re in suburban, urban areas, they’re going to be eating trash, a lot of bird feeders, so they do get used to this kind of human-bear interaction. Unfortunately, though, relocation will be tough for black bears since they can return to their ‘home range.’ They can travel for about 100 miles to return to that, so relocating them is going to be pretty tough. They can travel very far distances to return to where they think the best food availability is. So unfortunately, it usually does leave kind of a last scenario or last-ditch effort for DEC to euthanize the bear.”

For more information on what wildlife officials say you should do if encountering a bear, click here.

Have you seen a bear roaming your neighborhood? Do you have photos or video? Let us know by emailing