New York officials are warning hikers and campers that bears have recently been closely approaching people in the Dix Mountain Wilderness and intimidating them to get food.

Bears around Gill Brook and Chapel Pond have reportedly been stealing food from hikers, campers and rock climbers.

Bears have approached hikers and campers in the area around Gill Brook, Indian Pass, Mount Colvin, Elk Pass, and Nippletop. Officials say these bears are approaching closely in an attempt to intimidate people into giving them food. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation warns hikers and campers not to reward bears by dropping packs or otherwise providing them with food.

DEC recently captured and euthanized the most aggressive of the bears. A bear with one purple ear tag and one green ear tag had been approaching numerous hikers and campers very closely and not backing down.

Another bear with one red ear tag has been a reported problem but has not behaved as aggressively and has been encountered less frequently.

Other bears have been stealing food from campers and rock climbers in the area around Chapel Pond, including the Beer Walls.

Campers are hikers are encouraged to keep all food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear resistant canister or out of sight in motor vehicles.

Rock climbers should rack up at their vehicle, leave all food in the vehicle, or carry any food with them as they climb. Climbers should not leave packs on the ground for bears to destroy.

DEC has temporarily closed one of the campsites at the Chapel Pond Outlet while it attempts to capture the bears. Captured bears will be given unique colored ear tags, hazed, and released.

If you are approached by a bear, do not give it food. Make noise and try to scare it away. Call the DEC Regional Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291 to report encounters with bears.

Hikers and campers may also want to consider carrying bear spray as a precautionary measure for close encounters. If you do so, make sure to read the instructions carefully before setting out on the trail and be sure to follow the instructions if you use the spray.