Black Bears Problematic, Pricey for CT

The state's black bear population is estimated to double every 5-7 years, and they are costing taxpayers $250,000 a year.


There is no question that there are more black bears in Connecticut's suburban town, based on just the anecdotal evidence we have of Patch users posting photos. But state environmental officials say the increase in population is getting expensive and problematic.

Officials are pondering launching a yearly bear hunt in the state to help control the population. 

Connecticut Mirror reports Wednesday the state is now spending a quarter-million-dollars a year responding to concerns about the exploding black bear population.

According to the DEEP:

  • There were 352 reports of damage by bears in Connecticut last year, and at least 16 incidents in the year before where bears entered homes.
  • Road accidents involving bears have also been on the rise, with 24 killed last year compared with fewer than 10 in 2000.

Last week, after the department decided it had become too aggressive toward humans.

Joan September 12, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I think the first thing the state should do is to acknowledge that there's a problem. There have been more and more bear "encounters" over the last fifteen years and I'm tired of being told that bears are afraid of us, so just don't keep a bird feeder and everything will be okay. In Fairfield County, deer used to be afraid of us, but as the deer population exploded, they've become almost tame. Likewise, bear may be afraid of us now, but they'll adapt, like the bear who have entered homes. Your article is the first I've read that has presented this as a problem. I've read so many that have an entirely different tone. For example, the CT EPA site says about bears: "As bears become more regular residents of Connecticut towns, it is important that people learn to adapt to the presence of bears and take measures to avoid damage and problems." Is "problem behavior by bears" something that we can control? We can't change the nature of bears. If they're hungry, they'll use their teeth and claws to get at food. It took Americans 200 yrs. to clear towns out of the wilderness and to get wild animals away from our doors, families, pets, and farm animals. I know, it's cool to see a bear, and I respect them and appreciate them for what they are, but I don't want to see them in my yard. I don't know what the state should do, but telling us to "adapt" to the bears is all wrong. Plus, I really miss my bird feeder and I'm sure the birds do too. Just sayin'.
Joan September 13, 2012 at 05:10 AM
This is the whole quote from the CT EPA site: As bears become more regular residents of Connecticut towns, it is important that people learn to adapt to the presence of bears and take measures to avoid damage and problems. If people do not take precautions, problem behavior by bears can increase, possibly leading to bears being removed or destroyed.
Joan September 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I wanted to add my two cents about hunting. Fairfield County waited too many years before allowing deer hunting. The deer population is still way too high, and it's caused all sorts of problems, from car accidents to the spread of lyme disease. I hope we don't wait too long before allowing bear hunting. I've seen Patch readers point to New Hampshire as an example of the correct way to handle the exploding bear population. They say the public should be informed to not keep bird feeders, and should be taught the correct way to "shoo" a bear away. But what they don't say is that New Hampshire very purposefully manages its bear population. They allow bear hunting (10%) every year. I know that hunting is more of a problem for Connecticut, because we don't have the space, especially in Fairfield County. But when CT wanted to allow deer hunting, there were many meetings open to the public (and hunters) and it was all worked out. I've heard people say that we've torn down forests and overbuilt, and moved into bear's territory, so it's not fair to hunt them. But that's not the case. The bear population is simply exploding, and no one knows why for sure. It may be that they have better nutrition now (from us) than they've ever had before. (See EPA site.) I'd like to see bear hunting allowed before the situation becomes unmanageable and someone gets hurt. Plus, keep in mind that an animal that size can provide many pounds of food to food banks.


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