10 Facts About Black Bears (And a Video)

A numerical look at North America’s most popular bear


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Our dear Valley is no stranger to the native black bear, the second largest mammal in New York State (behind the moose). You may never have seen one in the wild, and perhaps only know them as those menaces that rummage through your trash cans. But more and more frequently, we are hearing about these big guys strolling into more populated areas. In the last few months, schools in both Beacon and Ossining put the kibosh on students going outside after black bears were spotted cavorting nearby.


VIDEO: Black Bear Spotted in Monroe


Yes, the population is growing and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has responded by expanding bear hunting areas throughout upstate and creating an early firearms season (September 12-27) for bears in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley. Learn more about these black beauties here:

300 average weight of an adult male black bear (in pounds). Some males can weigh over 600 pounds, while the average female weighs anywhere between 90 and 300 pounds.

160,000 times more likely a person is to die in a car accident than get attacked by a bear.

20 average life span (in years) of black bears in the wild, although they have been known to live upwards of 30 years.

382 number of black bears killed in the Hudson Valley in 2014.

6,000-8,000 estimated number of black bears in New York State areas that are open to hunting.

12-27 designated days in September allotted for early-season bear hunting in the Hudson Valley. Hunters may use a bow, crossbow, muzzle-loader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle in zones mapped out by the DEC.

7 number of months a black bear can go without food during hibernation in northern ranges.

2-3 average number of black bear cubs per litter.

35 number of miles per hour a black bear can run.

192 black bears killed by hunters in Ulster County in 2014. There were 17 taken in Dutchess County that same year.


Update: On the morning of Tuesday, October 22, 2015, Hudson Valley reader (and coincidentally, the father of this story’s author, Jillian Phipps!) spotted a black bear wandering in his Orange County neighborhood. If you encounter a black bear or any other wild animal, carefully vacate the area and contact local authorities immediately.

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