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For Release: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers Investigating Bear Attack in Fulton County

On Tuesday, August 11, at approximately 5 p.m., a 55-year-old man from Troy, NY, was walking his small dog in the Stewart's Landing area of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest in the Town of Stratford, when the unleashed dog encountered a bear. The bear attacked the dog and then the dog owner after the man tried to separate the animals. He was able to strike the bear on the nose with a stick causing the bear to run away. Both the victim and his dog suffered bites, scratches and puncture wounds. The injuries to the man are not considered life threatening.

Following the attack, the victim walked out to Stewart Landing Road with his dog where a passing motorist picked them up and transported them to the end of the road. A second motorist arrived and helped to contact emergency services. An S&S Volunteer Ambulance Service responded to the scene and transported the victim to a hospital in Utica. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian.

DEC ECO's, Forest rangers and wildlife staff, with the assistance of trained bear dogs and their handlers, attempted to locate the bear through the night. Based on the extensive search, DEC believes the bear has left the area and poses no continuing threat at this time.

If you encounter a bear, DEC recommends the following tips:

  • Never approach, surround or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Never run from a bear: stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice, slowly back away and leave the area.
  • Use noise to scare away bears from your campsite: yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.
  • Do not throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: Doing so will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food.

To report the feeding of bears or a bear encounter, contact the nearest Regional DEC Office. A list of regional offices can be found on DEC's website.

More information on encounters with bears.

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