Bear-human conflicts in Connecticut set information in 2022. Now lawmakers are contemplating a invoice that would result in a bear hunt within the state.

A current report from the Connecticut Division of Vitality and Atmosphere (CTDEEP) discovered that black bear sightings had been reported final 12 months in 158 of the state’s 169 cities and cities. Conflicts between bears and people, usually, continued a long-term upward pattern, with bear house invasions, particularly, setting a brand new file. Sixty-seven incidences of bears breaking into homes had been reported in 22 completely different cities and cities—practically double the speed in 2021.  

The state’s black bears have develop into more and more accustomed to individuals and are “a lot bolder and far more aggressive,” Jenny Dickson, director of CTDEEP’s Wildlife Division, informed Connecticut Public Radio. There have been two stories of bears attacking people in 2022, together with an assault on a 10-year-old boy that occurred in a Litchfield County yard.

Lawmakers Mull Change

With an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 black bears, Connecticut is presently the one Northeastern state with a breeding bear inhabitants that prohibits searching. A proposal earlier than the state legislature would change that, permitting the CTDEEP commissioner to undertake an annual bear hunt lottery season in Litchfield County with a restrict of fifty bears. State Invoice No. 1148 would additionally grant nighttime depredation permits to landowners whose crops are broken by black bears and would make it authorized to kill any bear that enters a constructing. The invoice additionally requires limits on the intentional and unintentional feeding of untamed animals.

The invoice has attracted assist from Gov. Ned Lamont and CTDEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “Our goal and our motivation is to not cut back the bear inhabitants, it’s to scale back conflicts between individuals and bears,” Dykes stated at a public listening to on the proposal held on March 10 earlier than the Connecticut Normal Meeting’s Atmosphere Committee.

About 1,000 individuals testified or submitted written feedback for the listening to. Roughly 70 % of the written testimony was in favor of the invoice, which additionally has the backing of searching teams reminiscent of Buddies of Connecticut Sportsmen. 

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The CTDEEP has tracked public sightings of black bears for the reason that animals started returning to the state within the Eighties, and the information helps gauge the inhabitants’s well being and statewide distribution. Stories of sows with cubs present breeding populations are increasing. In accordance with the CTDEEP, mom bears had been reported in additional than 90 Connecticut cities in every of the final two years, in comparison with fewer than 50 cities seven years in the past. The primary-year survival price for cubs is 81 % within the state, which is excessive for the species. This implies Connecticut’s bear inhabitants has a excessive potential for development.

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