WXXI AM News

Bear spotted in Pittsford; curtails some school activities

Jun 8, 2018

There have been reports of bear sightings in this area in recent days, and one on Friday curtailed some activities at the Pittsford School District.

The district posted a note on its website saying that it has advised the DEC, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County Animal Control.

Pittsford elementary and secondary students we being told not go outside for recess or physical education classes. District officials did recommend  that parents of elementary students pick their children up from school if they walk home or from their bus stop. 

The Monroe County Sheriff’s office says that between 7:30 am and 10:30 am on Friday, there were three reported sightings of a Black Bear in South Pittsford, Barker Road area.  

Deputies have been checking the area but have not been able to locate the bear.  Callers were informed, per the DEC, “stay away from the bear, it should be just passing through.”

Honeoye Falls-Lima football coach John Russ, shared a video on Twitter, shot by Kevin Cutaia, of the bear wandering around: 

There have been reports of bear sightings in western Ontario County in recent days as well.

The NYS DEC said in a statement, that "looking at data of bear observations and/or complaints from 2017 to present, there have been three calls from Monroe County and sixteen calls from Ontario County.  Annual bear sightings are typically infrequent in Monroe County, and are more regular in Ontario County because the Bristol hills area provides fairly good bear habitat."

Adult bears have large home ranges, with males traveling up to 100 square miles, and females traveling 25 to 50 square miles.  

DEC officials say that "home ranges for bears are variable and dependent on the season and available food resources.  Young male bears dispersing from their maternal home range may travel great distances.  It is currently black bear breeding season in New York and these young males are in search of mates.  These young males must compete against mature males with established territories, so in their pursuit of mates they sometimes wander far." 

The DEC says that "Black bear cubs stay with the adult female until they are about 1.5 years old.  The bear(s) being seen in both Pittsford and Farmington are most likely yearling males in search of mates and available territory.  At this age they are approximately 100 pounds or more."

The NYS DEC also provided this advisory:

The first priority in human-bear conflicts is public safety. DEC evaluates every scenario to determine the severity of the situation and to identify problem animals. Most bear problems are resolved by taking the following measures to avoid attracting bears:

  • Remove bird feeders after April 1.
  • Always keep garbage in sealed garbage cans inside a sturdy building like a garage or shed. Also, consider using a bear-resistant trash container.
  • Remove the grease can from grills after every use. Turn the grill on "High" for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors off the grill.
  • Do not place food outside to attract wildlife. Any food items used to attract birds, squirrels, or other wildlife will also attract bears.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Do not operate refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches.
  • Ask neighbors to remove attractants.

If  you encounter a bear in a residential area, do not approach them.  Enjoy the sighting from a safe distance and allow them to leave the area on their own.  It may take several hours or even after dark, but they should leave so long as there are no attractants keeping them around.

Some situations call for DEC Wildlife staff to go afield to assess or resolve the problem. These situations include bears causing serious property damage, entering homes or buildings, or bears that are in urban/suburban settings and cannot find an escape. 

If you have issues with a bear call DEC at 585-226-5380. DEC law enforcement can be reached at 

1-844-332-3267

You can  alsoget more information on the DEC website.