CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — With the warm weather finally here, officials say to beware of bears that aren’t shy about where they get their snacks.
Barely an inch of glass was the only thing that separated Morris County homeowner Daniel Baesler from a black bear Tuesday night. He caught the encounter on camera from inside his Chatham Township home.
“I looked outside and there was a giant bear just sitting here eating birdseed,” Baseler told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. “I’ve heard of bear sightings but I’ve never seen one and I’ve certainly never seen one this close to a house.”
Baesler says up close it looked massive.
“When it was standing it’s back was about as high as the railing here but if it got up on its hind legs it would be taller than us,” he said.
The animal managed to make it up to his second floor deck for the meal, taking its time to chow down on every last seed.
“It seems like it looked over at me a couple times like it may have been aware that I was there,” Baesler said. “It kind of freaked me out, I didn’t want it to come charging or something.”
The bear ripped off his birdfeeder with almost no effort, so Daniel called 911 and with the help of some officers’ radios and lights the bear sauntered back into the woods.
Animal control officer Carol Tylor says the close encounter isn’t that rare this time of year as bears come out of hibernation.
“They’re a little hungry and they’re looking for love and unfortunately the bigger bears are going to chase the smaller bears out of the wooded areas which leaves them in our communities,” she said.
Officer Tyler has dealt with about 30 bear sighting calls in the last month, and says it’s rare that a black bear will attack a human.
Still, she urges caution.
“Don’t make eye contact, don’t yell or run,” she said. “Simply say ‘all right buddy, we’re good,’ and try to back away.”
If you see one on your deck officials say do what Daniel did — stay inside.