Beware of the baby bear that has been seen strolling around a Central New York neighborhood, a long way from the Adirondacks where most bears call home.

The cub was spotted in North Utica in the Tamarack Street and Lorraine Avenue areas. Sarah Oleksik saw it in her backyard on Halloween weekend. "The cops were driving by telling us to go inside."

Credit - Sarah Oleksik
Credit - Sarah Oleksik

City Life

Oleksik never saw a mamma bear, just the little cub that appeared to be searching for something to eat. She's hoping they moved on to a more heavily wooded, less populated area. "I thought I lived in the city," she joked.

This isn't the first bear to wander down from the mountains. Another was spotted in Verona, searching the neighborhood for food.

Bears in New York

There are 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York State, according to the DEC. 50 to 60 percent of them are in the Adirondacks. They are curious creatures that like to eat almost anything. And they are smart. If they find food, they'll be back.

If you don't want one in your yard, limit those food sources. Take down your bird feeders, keep pet food indoors, and lock up trash containers. And for the love of God, don't intentionally feed them. A fed bear is a dead bear.

The DEC has more tips on how to keep bears away from your property and what to do if you encounter one.

To Avoid Bears Coming Onto Your Property:

  • Clean your grill by turning it on high for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors.
  • Lock up your trash. Bears love garbage. Keep all trash in sealed cans inside a building like a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear.
  • Do not feed your pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
  • Do not have refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.


  • Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
  • Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
  • Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.


  • 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.
  • Run from a bear: They may chase.
  • Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other campers/residents, and the bears.
  • If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
  • If a bear charges you: Stand your ground.
  • If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).

Luckily, with the colder weather right around the corner, bears should be finding a place to hibernate for the winter soon.

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