On Wednesday, Sept. 18, a woman hiking alone on the Northville-Placid Trail between Wakely Dam and the Stephens Pond (Blue Ridge Wilderness, town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County) was followed by three black bears, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Despite numerous attempts to frighten them off, the bears continued to follow her. Near Stephens Pond one of the bears approached her closely from behind, feeling threatened she stabbed the bear with a knife. The bears fled and the woman hiked to the DEC Lake Durant Campground.
On Friday, DEC Wildlife staff and Environmental Conservation Officers, accompanied by the hiker, walked from each end of the trail to the location of the encounter with the bears, but did not find the animals.
DEC has posted notices at trailheads, on the DEC Adirondack Trail Information web pages and at other locations warning hikers, campers and hunters about the aggressive behavior of the bears.
The notice advises hikers to hike in groups, make noise as you hike (talking and clapping hands), hike only during daylight and secure food, trash, toiletries, and scented items when camping overnight.
If approached by a bear DO NOT RUN — stand tall, wave you hands over your head and to your sides, yell and clap hands. If the bear doesn’t move off through rocks, sticks or other objects. DO NOT throw food or objects containing food.
If attacked by a black bear, fight back. Use whatever items you have to punch, poke, or club the bear. As soon as possible contact the DEC Dispatch at (518) 891-0235 at any time of day or night to report the encounter.
The behavior may be the result of the bears directly or indirectly obtaining food from other hikers in the past. DEC reminds people that it is illegal and dangerous to feed bears. Bears that obtain food from humans often become more aggressive over time and must be destroyed.