A new rule that took effect this year in New York state is designed to stop the illegal sale of black bear parts for use in Asian medicine and cooking. While the sale of parts is still allowed, hunters will now have to document that they were taken legally.
The tiny village of Keene, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains is part of a trade network that supplies Asian apothecaries and restaurants from New York City to Seoul, South Korea.
The mild New England winter means that more bears are up and about, looking for food — and not just in the woods. They're also exploring urban backyards and residential streets. The small town of Northampton, Mass., has more than its share of furry visitors.
In Northampton, a call on a neighborhood email list for tales of recent bear encounters netted about about a dozen responses in an hour. Almost everyone, it seems, has a bear story.