Welcome to Connecticut. We shoot Bears here


Nobody denies that Connecticut has a bear issue (notice I didn’t say ‘problem’). Over the past few years, Bear/Human encounters (of the Too Close kind) have become almost a weekly issue.
For the majority of these encounters, it seems to be scavenging bears raiding trash, snacking on bird feeders, or similar occurrences.
And yes, there have been attacks and injuries, so, in their infinite (lack of) wisdom, the State of Connecticut has authorized the shooting of bears, with the caveat ‘if you feel threatened.’
Now, tell me exactly what ‘feeling threatened’ entails.
Some are now even calling for a season on bears. This is how Connecticut is going to ‘solve’ the.bear issue.
But, have any of these edumacated types ever considered WHY Bear/Human encounters have risen?
Could it possibly be due to the endless loss of Public Lands due to increased development? Land in areas that, WAS, bear habitats?
‘Ridiculous to even suggest that,’ is the usual response. 'We’ll let people shoot ‘em. That’ll solve the problem.’
I’d really like to get anyone’s input on this. Read the article in the link at the beginning, then, lemme know YOUR thoughts.
Si vis pacem, para Bellum.


Black bears are a game animal in many states including all Connecticut’s surrounding states. I support sustainable harvest for meat.

That being said, I don’t like the idea of using hunting as a sole (or even main) method of “pest” management. Addressing human behavior should always be the first step of good Integrated Pest Management (IPM), such as stricter enforcement of bear-proof garbage laws, etc.

Unfortunately, this is not easily reversed. Better to focus on removing bear attractants (e.g., pet food, garbage, intentional feeding) and of course protecting what habitat remains.


After years of very successful non-governmental conservation efforts to restore Louisiana Black Bear populations, this is starting to become an issue here too. Apparently the State/LDWF is essentially happy about it so that they can start a Bear hunt and raise funds by selling bear tags, since selling hunting licenses is their primary revenue (LDWF receives very little, if any, state tax money). This seems to be a pretty common mindset around the country.


Not only common, but for better or worse, it’s systemic:


Humans and bears have been killing and eating each other since around when we discovered fire. These days it’s nearly always the human eating the bear. What’s worse is when they kill it for no good reason and don’t eat it. I don’t think people should be shooting bears just because the bear scares them, when it isn’t even interacting with them. But, i too don’t have an issue with people sustainably hunting bears. Here in Vermont they are very abundant and people do hunt them. I could take issue with some specific practices that might be practiced by some hunters, but overall i don’t see this as an issue overall. I’m more worried about the bears that get hit by cars, or the ones that don’t get to exist at all due to dramatic habitat loss (though bears seem to do well with the type of diffuse suburbanization in Connecticut, so maybe there aren’t that many less bears than pre-colonization)


There ARE states where a Hunting season for bears has been successful in both Revenue for Conservation and Education, BUT, these states have hunters with TRUE understanding of what Conservation and Bioecology are all about.
Not here.
Connecticut is full of what I call ‘Green Weenies’, people who know very little about True Conservation and Ecology, but are quick to jump on the ‘Green’ bandwagon (electric-powered). Rather than Reuse,Repurpose, and Recycle, they prefer to spend taxpayer dollars on expensive, unproven ‘Green’ agendas.

The majority of these newer developments encroaching on bear, and other critters’ habitats, stand empty for years, while so much could be done with what already exists, at a fraction of the cost.

So, until the Green Weenies stop pushing programs that are unproven, we, as well as the animals who have been present longer than that $500,000 eyesore where the Hemlocks used to be, continue to lose Public Lands to easily-swayed ‘Public’ officials.

Hey, thank you all for weighing in on this. It’s an issue of mine, loss of Public Land, and has been for many years.

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You live in a state where Hunters truly.practice Conservation, for the most part.

Hey, thanks for commenting.


I’m interested in the loss of public lands. Do you know where to find more information about where these parcels were? Or even just how many acres?

I did find an article about a new transparency law that requires public comment before any sale of state land can happen. Progress?

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Thank you for the info! I hadn’t heard this side of it before; good to know.

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Your Town or County Assessor’s office should provide information on parcels considered or slated for development. And yes, the public is SUPPOSED to vote on most of these transfers, but I have found many smaller townships merely require ‘Vote by Affirmation,’ yelling Aye or Nay, with the results, well, let’s just say all of those affirming are SUPPOSED to be of voting age.
Don’t always happen. I know of a town a few years ago in Northeast Connecticut that lost a large Public Hiking Trail parcel for ‘badly-needed youth LaCrosse fields.’ Most of those yelling Aye were the youth LaCrosse players.

Connecticut resident here. I’m not a NYT paid subscriber so I can’t read the article, unfortunately. I’ve had several bears come through my yard and they don’t seem to cause much of an issue. 30 years ago when I was a kid I don’t remember seeing a single one, so obviously their numbers have swelled exponentially. As much development as there has been in CT, there have also been abandoned lands that have reverted back to forest. The bears may have to cross roads and cut through neighborhoods, but there are many routes where there is almost a continuous forested path they can traverse the state on. The Metacomet ridge and Tunxis trail comes to mind. When they happen to be in our neighborhoods, it’s best if we’re diligent with our trash cans especially. The more we leave our garbage accessible to them, the more they’ll stick around. I think if we all become a little more sensible in handling our trash, it will decrease the amount of encounters. As far as hunting goes, there is a time and place for population management. My concern leaving it up to the person who “feels threatened” is, are they going to put the animal down humanely? If they’re in a residential neighborhood, in the heat of the moment are they going to send bullets downrange into someone else’s yard, endangering others? What if they have a small caliber pistol, say 22LR? All they’re going to do with that is anger the bear and surely be attacked. To me an official hunting season makes more sense. There would be regulations about using an appropriate caliber, what size animal can be harvested, how many, etc. Plus the CT DEEP would benefit financially from the issued permits, which could help them in their conservation efforts. I don’t know, it sounds to me like another misguided law passed in typical CT fashion.


Talk about hitting the nail (or paw) on the head, you just managed to air some of my own concerns.

Yes, being vigilant in trash disposale and watching our bird feeders can certainly curb some of these encounters.

I also worry about that definition of ‘threatened’, particularly regarding panic- firing in a neighborhood.

I’ve often encountered bears during hikes. Usually they either sniff and move away, or I make noise (no, not screaming in fear…well…) and they leave. I have ONLY seen a Black Bear become aggressive if its young were being threatened, or if the bear saw me as a challenge to a food source. They don’t like loud noise, so if screaming in fear works…
Better that, than shooting one.


I think in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to even consider thinning the population. If there could be an equilibrium reached without that measure it would be ideal. I’m not a conservationist professional nor do I know what the actual bear population is, so I can only speculate how we got here. My guess is this conversation has been brewing for years, and it wasn’t until certain people in certain neighborhoods started getting very vocal about their fears that things reached a fever pitch in Hartford and da gub had to act.

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Yeah, pretty much. Sad that is has gotten to this point.
People expect Nature to adapt to humans, yet we refuse to adapt to Nature, seeking to control it.

Hmm, …

Anywho, thank you. And
Support YOUR Right to Keep and Arm BEARS.

How’s THAT for a solution?

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I hear you. When I go into the woods, the only thing I’m armed with is a knife. Not as a bear deterrent, but there’s a million uses for a knife in the woods. I’m more worried about WHO I might run into while I’m there, than what. There’s only been one time I’ve been scared of a bear, and that was because my kid was running towards it. The bear was on the back deck of my in-laws, (unbeknownst to them) we arrived, my kid went running into the house and onto the deck, where he was face to face with a bear. I made some noise and the bear staggered away, to go eat peaches off the neighbor’s tree. No harm no foul, like most encounters.


Like you, I worry more about ticks and ‘other’ predators more than the Black Bears around the area.

I grew up in Clear Creek County, Colorado, around black bear and cougar. CDOW shot a cougar that hung out around our elementary school at one point.

“feeling threatened” is a fuzzy definition, and I’ll grant that right out the gate. And yeah you’ll have idiots that “feel threatened” by the existence of animals. But it’s also asking a lot for people not to protect themselves if they do feel threatened/are threatened. And it can be damned hard to articulate after the fact how and why you felt threatened when, in the moment, your balls are crawling up your guts and your mouth is bone dry and your heart rate’s shot up double normal rate too.

There’s no ultimate way to protect against all bad actors, but assuming everyone that’s got a “too close for comfort” story has been a bad actor is not going to win you any friends, and it is not going to lead to successful policies for wildlife either.


Hell I wish Texas Parks and Wildlife would take this approach. Protect cats and bears enough to re-establish so they can sell high dollar tags for them. Then plow that money back into more protected habitat


I lived most of my life in Oregon. During that time I encountered perhaps 15 or 20 black bears in the backcountry, and without exception they ran like heck as soon as they recognized me as a human. It seems that if black bears in Oregon know humans mostly as hunters, then they see us as very dangerous apex predators. Brown bears – grizzlies – were top bear before humans arrived; black bears had to live knowing that there was a tougher animal out there which could and would kill them. In a sense, humans took the place of grizzlies in black bear behavior.

An example: I was hiking solo in a wilderness area with the first fall snow on the ground – very quiet walking. I surprised a mother bear with two cubs. One cub ran off through the forest; the other cub started to climb a lodgepole pine. The mother bear smacked the cub out of the tree, and they both took off running. (Mom’s implicit message: “If you tree up when you see a human, then you will die.”) The encounter lasted perhaps 20 seconds. I didn’t even have time to be worried.

But in eastern states the bears don’t have vast unpopulated national forests and wilderness areas, as they do in much of the west. People are too close. Bears are darned smart, and with enough contact they figure out how pathetically weak and defenseless humans are. And they learn that our garbage and dog food and bird feeders can be a tasty food source. Then the trouble starts.

I gave up shooting wild beings when I was 18. I’m not saying hunting is bad, but I’m not saying that a hunting season on bears in Connecticut is an answer, either. I don’t know that there is an answer which keeps humans safe and bears happily wild and uninvolved in human affairs as well. I’m not smart enough for that.

A look at records of black bear encounters in northern California (I did this many years ago) was amazing. A woman got clawed when she started beating a bear with a broom because it was eating her bird seed. A guy decided a yearling bear was on orphan, coaxed it into the back seat of his car, and drove around until the bear finally scratched someone who got in the back seat with it.

Given bears’ lust for high-fat and high-sugar junk food, and given (modern) humans’ idiocy when dealing with wild animals, bad outcomes seem to be inevitable.


Personally, I think a return to more Primitive understanding on the part of humans, would help.
I grew up in the Smoky Mountains, hiking the trails (The AT as well) , and bear encounters, while not really rare, they were not as common as what we are now seeing.
I no longer hunt (animals) either, and I’m not saying hunting is or isn’t the answer here. But seeing some of the examples of how people now behave on trails, maybe Nature is ‘culling the population of a destructive species.’
Maybe …

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