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Conn. sees increase in 2018 bear sightings

January 7, 2019

The numbers of bear sightings in Connecticut increased significantly from the year before, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The most recent figures from DEEP of bear sightings cover the period from Jan. 8, 2018 to Dec. 12, 2018.

It shows a total of 8,937sightings - a increase of more 1,200 over 2017’s 7,674 sightings.

In 2016, there were 6,703 sightings.

The number of bear sightings, however, doesn’t necessarily translate to bear populations. The same bear can be spotted numerous times in various communities.

DEEP estimates Connecticut has a bear population of around 800 bears.

With an estimated bear population of more than 235 in Litchfield County, there has been an effort in two sessions in the General Assembly to allow bear hunting. Both efforts failed.

In backing the bill, DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said “Based on the tagging and tracking data gathered by the DEEP, the department estimates that Connecticut’s black bear population is increasing at a rate of 10 percent per year.In the absence of natural predators and with easy access to food sources associated with the presence of humans, it is reasonable to project that the population will continue to increase, with the overall population reaching 3,000 or higher (based upon observed density in similar habitats).”

Last year, there were a number of bear sightings that attracted the public attention, including:

A bear that was killed after attempting to enter a Torrington home.

In October, a Wolcott shot a bear that was attacking his goat. Both the bar and the goat died.

On Oct. 24, “very large bear” was seen in the area of Still Hill Road and Post Falls Lane in Hamden.

Like previous bear sighting numbers from prior years, the towns of Simsbury (597), Farmington (542), Avon (460) and Granby (403) lead the list.

Other towns in Connecticut’s bear country include:

Torrington: 392

New Milford: 311

Bristol: 236

Newtown: 230

Canton: 224

Litchfield: 214

Hawinton: 213

Brookfield: 211

Southbury: 204

Winchester: 204

New Hartford: 201

West Harford: 199

Barkhamsted: 148

Woodbury: 142

Windsor: 134

Thomaston: 132

Plymouth: 126

Hamden: 123

Scotland: 120

Sailsbury: 120

Bloomfield: 116

Redding: 115

Goshen: 97

Oxford: 90

Danbury: 87

East Granby: 80

Waterbury: 74

New Fairfield: 69

Kent: 65

Cornwall: 62

Sharon: 62

Madison: 56

Washington: 55

Bethlehem: 53

Monroe: 53

Cheshire: 49

Bethel: 34

Woodbridge: 31

Bethany: 30

Killingworth: 24

North Haven: 23

Easton: 21

Greenwich: 8

In Connecticut cities:

Danbury: 87

Waterbury: 74

Hartford: 14

New Haven: 5

Stamford: 4

Norwalk: 1

For the complete statewide list, click here

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