In recent decades, the human settlement trend has reversed, with many urban New York residents returning to more rural settings. At the same time, black bears (Ursus americanus) are expanding their range. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) records indicate that New York state’s black bear population exceeds 7000 bears. Though breeding can occur anytime from May until September, in black bears, a fertilized egg develops into a blastocyst, which does not attach to the uterus until November or early December.
This ensures that all cubs are born between January and early February, while the female is still in a winter den. Not true hibernators, black bears do enter a state of dormancy during the winter months with most NY bears beginning to ‘den up’ during the month of November. If the wonderful experience of encountering a bear eludes you during your late fall treks, don’t fret, as the bear will become active again in March and April.