When it rains, it pours... and right now it feels like you can't two steps in the Hudson Valley without coming face-to-face with a black bear. Do you know what to do to keep your family and pets safe?

There are nearly 10,000 black bear in New York state, and with the weather finally starting to warm, many are emerging from their dens to search for their first meal of the year. Unfortunately, many are wandering a little far from home.

March in the Hudson Valley, NY means that black bears are starting to appear in every county
March in the Hudson Valley, NY means that black bears are starting to appear in every county (AwakenedEye via Canva)
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Black Bears Reappearing in the Hudson Valley, NY

"Good morning residents, the black bear has been sighted on property again this morning", read the beginning of a text sent to occupants of a Beacon, NY apartment building. They weren't the only ones to have a visitor. Bears are popping up all across the Hudson Valley.

There have been recent black bear sightings in Hyde Park, NY, Beacon, NY and Newburgh, NY
There have been recent black bear sightings in Hyde Park, NY, Beacon, NY and Newburgh, NY (Google/Canva)
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Black Bear Spotted in Newburgh, NY

Last week, black bears were spotted further north on Pine Woods Road in Hyde Park, NY as well as across the river in Orange County, NY. A Ring camera was able to capture footage of a curious (and large) bear in Newburgh, NY (below).

A black bear in Newburgh, NY has been spotted numerous times this week
A black bear in Newburgh, NY has been spotted numerous times this week (Ring/Cathy B)
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Black Bear Safety in the Hudson Valley, NY

While fascinating to watch on camera, black bears can cause myriad problems when they wander into human-populated areas. Encouraged by the food they find in unsecured garbage cans, bird feeders, and even groceries inadvertently left outside (below), they are one of the many creatures whose presence could be avoided.

Hungry black bears will make a snack out of anything, even groceries left outside in New Paltz, NY
Hungry black bears will make a snack out of anything, even groceries left outside in New Paltz, NY (Cathy Fredrick via Facebook)
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Food Sources for Hudson Valley, NY Black Bears

Similar to dogs, bears can learn behaviors based on past experiences. As the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) puts it, "If an activity results in food, they will repeat that activity". To stay safe, there are several guidelines every New Yorker should follow.

Read More: HAVE YOU SEEN NEW YORK’S “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” BEAR?

Securing potential food sources is the first step to keep your property bear-free. From garbage cans to miniature donkeys, almost anything edible can be on the menu. While some tasks, like only filling bird feeders in the winter months, are easy to complete, securing livestock with an electrified fence might require the help of a professional. This month may also be an especially dangerous time for encounters.

Black bears will go to great lengths for food, especially in places where they have been successful before
Black bears will go to great lengths for food, especially in places where they have been successful before (NYSDEC via Facebook)
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March is the Month for Black Bears in the Hudson Valley, NY

For bears, March is the month of change. While some bears are ready to fully emerge from their dens, others may simply be "stretching their legs" before returning for more naptime. Either way, bears are hungrier than ever, which means they may have a heightened interest in easy-to-grab snacks. Even toys may not be safe...

Last year, it seemed that Hudson Valley, NY black bears were interested in more than just eating when one curious explorer made themselves at home in a Wappingers Falls family's back yard (above). From investigating pool equipment to bouncing on the trampoline, it would be easy to believe the critter was a person in a fur suited rather than a wild animal.

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While March is usually the first month for bear-spotting in the Hudson Valley, the summer months are when they really find their swing. Check out what happened when a curious black bear visited the SUNY New Paltz campus below, and keep scrolling for more black bear safety tips.

Bear on Campus at SUNY New Paltz NY

On Thursday (June 23, 2022) this unassuming good-size black bear wandered onto campus and decided to climb a tree. The SUNY New Paltz Police along with the NYS DEC Police monitored the situation on-site. They were able to encourage the campus visitor to return home without incident.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn

LOOK: What black bears want, and how to deter them

Black bears are on the move in New Jersey and all 21 counties need to be ready. Here's a look at what might attract them to your property should one be sighted in your area.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant