People hit deer all the time with their cars in New York.  But what should you do if you hit something like a bear?

How often do bears get hit by cars in New York?

It probably seems like an unlikely scenario.  Hitting a bear doesn't happen every day.  While the number of deer hit on a yearly basis is recorded in the thousands, the number of bears is in the hundreds.  New York State DEC claims that up to 100 bears are hit and killed every year.  In Lake Tahoe alone last year there were about 40-50 reported collisions with bears.

However, it does happen.  Just last night someone hit a bear in Eden, NY.

While it might be commonplace to know what to do when you hit a deer, what do you do when it's a much larger, and potentially more dangerous animal?

There are about four likely scenarios if you hit a bear

If you hit a bear, these are likely to be one of the four situations you will be left with:

1. The bear does not survive - Call law enforcement on their non-emergency number (if they have one listed) first.  You will need an accident report for insurance if you need repairs done to your vehicle. They will take care of the rest.

Can you keep the bear?  Yes.  The owner of the vehicle is entitled to keep the carcass if they can get a possession tag within 24 hours from a police officer who has geographical jurisdiction where the bear was hit.  If that person declines, any other person who can get a tag can take the bear.

2. The bear is injured and is at the side of the road - Again, call the non-emergency law enforcement number.  You will need an accident report if there is damage to your vehicle. They will encourage you to NOT try to put the animal out of its misery on your own.  It could be dangerous to get close to it.  They will probably call animal control for you.

3. The bear was injured and wanders off  - Call the Department of Environmental Conservation to report that the bear was injured.

4. The bear is fine and there is no damage to your vehicle - Remember the story.  You're going to want to remember every detail while you're telling your friends.  You don't need to call anyone.

For more information about how to stay safe around bears this summer, check out the DEC's website with some frequently asked questions.  It's called BearWise and you can find it by clicking here.

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