Black Bear Sightings Increasing in CT

From June 2013 to June 2014, the DEEP recorded statistics on black bear activity in Connecticut. Here’s a breakdown by town and why sightings are increasing.

Photo courtesy of Charlene Rogers (Patch archives)
Photo courtesy of Charlene Rogers (Patch archives)

The black bear population in Connecticut was on the minds of residents recently, after a Connecticut family lost its pet dog due to an attack by a black bear.

In general terms, there are more black bear sightings than in years past, said Paul Rego, Wildlife Biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“Specifically, I would describe it [the bear population] as growing in numbers and expanding in range,” he said.

In 2011, the DEEP received nearly 3,000 bear sighting reports from 122 of Connecticut’s 169 towns. From June 2013 to June 2014, the DEEP recorded 3,718 sightings in 133 towns in the state.

“The long term factor is that the bear population is responding to reforestation,” said Rego. “There’s suitable habitat for bears, more habitat than there was 100 years ago.”

View recent pictures from readers and past articles on black bear sightings in Connecticut.

The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shared info on black bear sightings in the state, from June 2013 to June 2014. See the full breakdown by town below.

It seems that bears like Hartford County towns the best — Farmington had the most sightings, at 424.

"Farmington offers a diverse landscape with dense forest, wetlands, rock ledge hillsides and meadows where different species of wildlife thrive,” Farmington Animal Control Officer Charlene Rogers said in this September 2012 article. “When these areas are disrupted or decreased, the wildlife is forced to adapt or relocate. Because of the dry conditions, there have been increased sightings and reports of our native wildlife including deer, fox, coyote, bobcat and bear."

Avon clocked in at 364 sightings. Canton residents reportedly saw 153 bears, including this one, who appeared to enjoy bargain hunting.

Is a Yearly Bear Hunt in Our Future?

In 2012, state officials pondered launching a yearly bear hunt in Connecticut, to help control the population and the corresponding cost incurred by towns and the state, when dealing with black bears.

That is still on the table, Rego said.

“One of the options is to try and reduce the bear population,” he said. 

Not a Happy Neighbor

“Every day, we receive multiple complaints from people that are not happy that bears are living in their neighborhood,” said Rego.

And every year, the DEEP gives the same tips on how to avoid attracting bears, mainly removing bird feeders from yards and not leaving garbage outside.

“Under the current circumstances, we predict the population will grow rapidly,” he said.

How to Report a Black Bear Sighting

If you see a black bear, the DEEP has a report form you can fill out online. Click here to fill out the form or bookmark it in case you see a black bear.

If you need immediate assistance concerning a black bear, you may call the DEEP's 24-hour hotline at 860-424-3333.

2014 Sightings By Town

Avon: 364

Barkhamsted: 78

Berlin: 22

Bethel: 2

Bethlehem: 10

Bloomfield: 64

Branford: 1

Bridgewater: 10

Bristol: 164

Brookfield: 6

Brooklyn: 6

Burlington: 235

Canaan: 14

Canterbury: 1

Canton: 153

Chaplin: 1

Cheshire: 3

Clinton: 1

Colebrook: 29

Columbia: 3

Cornwall: 16

Coventry: 2

Cromwell: 6

Danbury: 10

Durham: 11

East Granby: 46

East Hampton: 3

East Haven: 1

Eastford: 1

Easton: 7

Ellington: 3

Enfield: 1

Farmington: 424

Franklin: 1

Glastonbury: 10

Goshen: 27

Granby: 116

Griswold: 7

Groton: 1

Guilford: 1

Haddam: 2

Hartford: 1

Hartland: 35

Harwinton: 70

Kent: 57

Killingly: 3

Killingworth: 1

Ledyard: 1

Lisbon: 5

Litchfield: 61

Lyme: 3

Madison: 1

Manchester: 9

Mansfield: 1

Marlborough: 6

Meriden: 8

Middlebury: 3

Middlefield: 10

Middletown: 7

Milford: 1

Monroe: 7

Montville: 1

Morris: 7

Naugatuck: 1

New Britain: 8

New Canaan: 1

New Fairfield: 31

New Hartford: 101

New Milford: 105

Newington: 3

Newtown: 18

Norfolk: 24

North Canaan: 3

North Stonington: 1

Old Lyme: 1

Oxford: 1

Plainfield: 4

Plainville: 27

Plymouth: 47

Pomfret: 4

Portland: 14

Preston: 1

Putnam: 1

Redding: 13

Ridgefield: 6

Rocky Hill: 19

Roxbury: 80

Salisbury: 14

Scotland: 2

Sharon: 63

Shelton: 2

Sherman: 68

Simsbury: 163

Somers: 27

Southbury: 28

Southington: 12

Stafford: 29

Stamford: 1

Stratford: 2

Suffield: 45

Thomaston: 18

Thompson: 1

Tolland: 11

Torrington: 213

Trumbull: 4

Union: 6

Vernon: 4

Wallingford: 2

Warren: 20

Washington: 35

Waterbury: 3

Waterford: 1

Watertown: 26

West Hartford: 48

Wethersfield: 1

Willington: 14

Wilton: 2

Winchester: 112

Windham: 1

Windsor: 19

Windsor Locks: 2

Wolcott: 12

Woodbury: 29

Woodstock: 3

Total: 3,718

Albert Williams June 27, 2014 at 09:40 AM
"Not leaving garbage outside"? WTF am I supposed to put those massive 90 gallon garbage and recycling bins? Oh maybe put them in the garage and leave the cars outside so the chipmunks can nest in my air filter of wire harnesses. Don't really have to worry about one crossing my path, Windsor did a great job of having trailer trucks constantly pass by so they'll clip one or two of them.
Gwen Houston June 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM
On June 1, 400 Mapletone Ave, we had a beautiful looking black bear about 6 ft. tall, in our yard destroying the bird feeders and having a great feast. When he was done he just casually left. He had two tags on him #33 and I called DEEP and gave them the number and they said it was about 15 years old and was last tagged at Peoples State Park. I worried he might come back looking for our bird feeders but he never came back.
Gwen Houston June 27, 2014 at 02:49 PM
Top of this page says Suffield Patch. So I guess I figured this is where I put this notice about the bear on Mapleton Ave. Suffield, Ct.


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