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Should Connecticut Allow Bear Hunting? [POLL]

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 towns 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.

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.

So again, officials are pondering launching a yearly bear hunt in the state to help control the population. What do you think? Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

Joan September 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Paul, I stand corrected. You're right. They weren't reintroduced, and the explanation of their population explosion is that the farmlands (that were abundant pre-1980s) have reverted to forests, which are bear habitat. OK, who to blame then? It doesn't matter to me if there's no one to blame. I just want to add my opinion that it is in fact a problem, and we'd be foolish not to address it now while it's still manageable. I'm old enough to remember bears in the Northwest hills, too. I've seen eagles, wild turkey, and I believe coyote reintroduced into the state, and I thought bears were too, but you're right. Not bears. Still though, they are protected. We don't allow hunting of them, and if we keep relocating them when they're found in residential areas then there'll be an imbalance of their population in the places we send them to. I just don't think it's reasonable to ask people to live alongside them as though they're harmless if you keep food out of their reach. I'm tired of being told that if you don't keep a bird feeder everything will be okay. I just don't believe that. As I said, first cool, dry summer we'll have HUNGRY bears in residential neighborhoods, and no matter how diligent we are about keeping food wrapped airtight and out of reach, a situation like that SCARES me. A tragedy waiting to happen if we don't manage the situation reasonably now. Just my opinion.
Jon September 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Joan, I think it's more of a blame of the digital age and the mass movement of people building communities farther away from the cities. Years ago you didn't have mass communication to tell people you saw a bear. For the most part we just took as "normal". Another reason is that more and more farmlands are turning into instant communities were the new tenants have never even so much as a squirrel. These farmlands and the woods that surround them are the bear's domain. Unfortunitely, these communities now make it easier for the bears the forage for food. That's survival. They need to feed quickly and often in the Fall and the same in the Spring. Now that bear becomes a "nuisance" and is taken care of. Their "over population" is only relative to the increase of human population in their habitat. 20 bears 20 years ago in a particualr area were never talked about. The same 20 bears today are seen in the papers and/or internet 20 times a day.
Paul Bahre September 28, 2012 at 05:54 PM
The only thing I know about being re-introduced were game birds. Turkey's, pheasants, and the like. The game bird population has exploded and that in turn is luring other high order food chain animals to the state. Coyotes and coy dogs, rumors of wolves, and the occasional Mt. Lion that ended up on someone's front bumper. I don't ever remember anyone wanting to introduce these predators into our eco system. All those fat meals running around tend to attract them. As for the Eagles, they have rebounded due to the banning of DDT and other chemicals that have harmed their eggs in the years between WWII and 1970. We have also cleaned up our waterways here in CT and that really helps the raptors who have made a comeback. Good healthy fish = good healthy raptors.
Bill Stanford September 28, 2012 at 06:27 PM
It is a simple fact that wildlife needs to be managed. Birth Control is impossible. First, it is impossible to get a condom on a live bear. If you don't believe me, please feel free to try. If you do try, please make sure your insurance premiums are all paid up. Second, you cannot leave birth control drugs in food b/c the inability to control dosage would likely lead to poisoning of bears and other animals. Simply put, hunting is the only way to ensure that the bear population doesn't grow into a threat to humans or a threat to other wildlife populations.
Paul Bahre September 28, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Well Said Bill

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