Connecticut Considers Black Bear Hunt Due to Rising Bear-Human Conflicts
“Connecticut is home to over 1,000 black bears—and data suggest the population may be primed for more growth
Bear-human conflicts in Connecticut set records in 2022. Now lawmakers are considering a bill that could lead to a bear hunt in the state.
A recent report from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment (CTDEEP) found that black bear sightings were reported last year in 158 of the state’s 169 towns and cities. Conflicts between bears and humans, in general, continued a long-term upward trend, with bear home invasions, in particular, setting a new record. Sixty-seven incidences of bears breaking into houses were reported in 22 different cities and towns—nearly double the rate in 2021.
The state’s black bears have become increasingly accustomed to people and are “much bolder and much more aggressive,” Jenny Dickson, director of CTDEEP’s Wildlife Division, told Connecticut Public Radio. There were two reports of bears attacking humans in 2022, including an attack on a 10-year-old boy that occurred in a Litchfield County backyard.
Lawmakers Mull Change
With an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 black bears, Connecticut is currently the only Northeastern state with a breeding bear population that prohibits hunting. A proposal before the state legislature would change that, allowing the CTDEEP commissioner to adopt an annual bear hunt lottery season in Litchfield County with a limit of 50 bears. State Bill No. 1148 would also grant nighttime depredation permits to landowners whose crops are damaged by black bears and would make it legal to kill any bear that enters a building. The bill also calls for limits on the intentional and unintentional feeding of wild animals.”
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