While black bears do exist in many areas of the Hudson Valley, many residents would never expect to see one walking through their neighborhood.

Black bears have always been a mainstay in rural areas of the Hudson Valley. Every once in a while you'll hear a crazy story about one of these massive creatures making their way into a more populated area of the region, but those incidents seem to be few and far between.

For the most part, people living in local cities, villages and neighborhoods don't think twice about bears. The reality is that everyone who lives anywhere in Dutchess, Ulster or Orange Counties could certainly come face to face with a black bear, as demonstrated this weekend.

The Town of Fishkill is warning residents of a black bear that has been spotted near Castle Point Road. Because black bears can have territories that span from 15 to 77 square miles, this sighting means that anyone in surrounding communities should be on alert for the possibility of bear activity.

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Another black bear sighting was reported recently near I-84 and Route 52. It's unclear if this is the same bear or another animal. The town shared some important advice to follow if you do happen to come face to face with a black bear. According to the DEC, those who encounter a bear should remain calm. Wildlife experts suggest slowly backing away while speaking quietly. Sudden movements or running may cause a bear to chase after you.

Once in a safe area, yelling or banging pots and pans are usually effective ways to scare away the large animals. If cornered, yelling or clapping can convince a bear to leave the area. Never approach or threaten a bear, as the animals can aggressively defend themselves when they feal they're in danger.

The DEC says one of the worst things you can do is to throw food at them as a distraction.

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.

Wildlife authorities suggest keeping trash covered tightly and removing bird feeders in areas where bears could be lured near homes.

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