Bears, oh my, in Stockton

STOCKTON – Bears are being seen more often these days roaming through Stockton.

This issue was addressed at Tuesday night’s Stockton Town Board meeting after having been a growing concern to residents for the past several months.

Councilman John Beichner noted a mother bear with her two cubs have been seen in South Stockton.

“I got a nasty-looking bear on the dumpster,” he said about a picture of a half-starved bear atop a Beichner dumpster.

Supervisor David Wilson said the bears have been smashing his bird feeders.

“I set up cameras to catch the bear with my bird feeders, and they haven’t been coming back,” he said. “This really upsets me.”

People who notice a large furry creature wandering through their yard or across the road should not try to corner them.

“Bears are just as scared of you as you are of them,” Wilson said. “As long as you don’t try to back them into a corner, they won’t attack you.”

There have not been any reports of people being attacked by bears in the area.

“Young male (bears) are like juvenile delinquents,” Wilson said. “They will show off and break things, but won’t hurt anyone unless threatened.”

“The Department of Environmental Conservation used to relocate the bears,” Wilson said. “Now there are so many of them.”

“There has been a lot of animals coming up from Pennsylvania,” Wilson continued. “They are expanding their habitat just like the fishers.”

Beichner noted hunting has changed a great deal in his lifetime.

“If you didn’t hunt when I was a kid, there was something wrong with you,” he said. “Nowadays people think it is too much work to go out and hunt.”

Judge Mark Cunningham mentioned he saw a bear sitting in the middle of the road, and that was the first time he saw a bear outside of the zoo.

Beichner recalled one of his bear experiences.

“I got out of the car, and probably shouldn’t have, but I saw a large bear standing up and scratching his back along a tree,” he said. “He gave us quite a show.”