CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — To many people’s surprise, a black bear got a little too close to home, taking an evening stroll through Clay Sunday night and Monday morning.

Neighbors have been calling and emailing the NewsChannel 9 Your Stories team, saying home surveillance video caught the bear wandering through backyards and front lawns before running off.

Alex Miner and her husband, Steven, live on Capricorn Drive. They couldn’t believe what they saw on their Nest home security camera Sunday night: the black bear in their front yard!

“We kept watching the video a few times because we couldn’t believe it was real! Now seeing it, it’s kind of crazy like where it came from, where it was going, and where it is now.”

Alex Miner, Lives on Capricorn Drive in Clay

Tiffany Sparks also lives on Capricorn Drive, right across the street from the Miner’s. She received a call from another neighbor Sunday night about the bear sighting.

“We don’t expect to see that kind of thing,” Sparks said. “We expect to see cars, dogs and maybe a deer once in a while, but not a bear!”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation believes the bear is a male around two-and-a-half years old just passing through Central New York.

One of the region’s wildlife biologists told NewsChannel 9 the bear seen in Clay could very well be the same bear roaming in the town of Van Buren last week based on his travel pattern.

Overall, his behavior seems normal and the DEC thinks the young bear is following his stomach, solely on the lookout for food.

“By in large, black bears are more afraid of people than we should be afraid of them. With any wild animal, you don’t want to corner them so that’s always something to consider if you see one in your yard.”

Courtney LaMere, NYSDEC Wildlife Biologist

The NYSDEC has advice on what to do if a bear ambles through your backyard. Those tips include:

  • Do NOT approach the bear
  • Don’t leave any food for the bear to find in your yard
  • Secure your garbage cans
  • Keep an eye on pets when let outside
  • Stay calm, walk and do not run to safety

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Central New York is not considered a primary area for black bears. However, black bear sightings have become more common recently.

I’d say in the last 5 years we’ve had sightings of bears in the northern suburbs of Syracuse and northern Onondaga County at least once a summer.

Courtney LaMere, NYSDEC Wildlife Biologist

Here is a video from the State Department of Conservation on black bears.