Though bears have been a problem presence in nearby communities recently, they have not been as much of a problem in Granville. Rick Vladyka, nuisance wildlife officer, said he has received four to five complaints regarding bears in the last couple of months.
“I’ve taken several calls, and what I’m mostly doing is giving people counseling on what to do,” Vladyka said. A few bears did limited damage to area cornfields, and one destroyed a couple of beehives in Hebron, so it had to be put down. He said he’s had more issues with skunks this year than bears.
Vladyka said bears are docile creatures for the most part. Because this summer was so dry, a lot of their sustenance, like acorns, wasn’t as available. This is the time of year when they gorge themselves to get fat in order to prepare for winter, Vladyka said.
“If they’re on your property and hanging around, it’s probably for a reason,” Vladyka said. “Don’t do anything to entice them.”
He advises people to get bird feeders and trash inside if they see a bear near their house. He also stresses the importance of staying away from the animals.
“Don’t try to approach them – there is no good reason to approach a bear,” Vladyka said. As part of his job, he carries rubber bullets with him, which he uses to drive away nuisance bears.
“A bear is just like you. If you keep stinging them with rubber bullets, they’ll go away,” he said. Some people, however, want to use real bullets.
“It’s a delicate situation. We have a lot of people who want to go hunt them,” Vladyka said. Bear hunting season in most of Washington County lasts from mid-November through mid-December, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.
Vladyka thinks problems with bears in and around Granville are limited and sees more encounters in southern Washington County, closer to the Green Mountains. They do not tend to aggress people unless they feel cornered.
“The problem is, you don’t know when you’re making them feel cornered,” Vladyka said. To report a nuisance animal call Vladyka at 518-642-1531.