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.

Phil Dunn September 13, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Connecticut already has a bear hunt. The D.E.E.P. provides the hunters. We will quickly reach the point that the D.E.E.P. personnel cannot keep up and it will be necessary to allow private citizens to join in. http://www.wfsb.com/story/19527252/deep-officials-kill-bear-in-hartford
Ryan September 13, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Shell you make a good point. In my opinion anyway it is a sport due to the skill that most game takes to hunt. And Kat you are minimally correct, there is too much killing going of humans in this world. And you are correct that we don't "need" meat to survive but most meats are very nutrient and energy rich food source. I don't need to justify hunting, it has justified itself. If it wasn't as effective and beneficial as it is the folks over at DEEP wouldn't allow us to hunt other species. But thats where the nice thing about our country is, you are absolutely entitled to your right to eat a salad and I have my right to eat a steak and hunt a deer if i so chose to do so
Paul Bahre September 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Shell, I don't hunt, I used to years ago. I don't have time to put into it. I'm part Mowhawk and what does being a first American have to do with anything. Like their view is somhow more noble than any other view? If the game population is to high we have to cull the heard for the health of the heard. Just about every hunter I know eats their kills. That is pretty much the main reason all my friends hunt. I don't know any trophy hunters. Don't assume the world does not know how to hunt or eat their kills, they do know how to hunt and they do eat the meat. You have to kill it before you can grill it. You don't need to trapes out your Native American Cred to impress me because in my book you have lost all credibility with your assumptions you have made here on this blog.
Kat September 13, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Interesting??? I thought animals were here long before the Indians were.
Natalie Jarnstedt September 13, 2012 at 03:38 PM
The idea that bear populations double in 7 years is nothihng but bovine excrement! Killing them may just work the same way as it does with deer. Hunted herds reproduce at a higher rate than non-hunted herds (Rchter & Labisky). After learning about bear biology, who knows, we may learn that the same may apply, not that we'd learn any such facts from the DEEP because that's the last thing they would want us mere folks to know. A little research is called for, isn't it? The only solution to co-existing with wildlife, bears, is to stricltly adhere to guidelines set by the DEEP regarding garbage containment, etc. There is birth control available for deer, and should be alot easier to use on bears because they aren't as skittish, could also be done while they are in their dens in the winter, and their numbers are a lot lower (right now). But, as susal, killing is so much more expedient, isn't it? Just as killing bear B-1 and bear B-2 was yesterday in Hartford, rather than relocating them.
Ellen Shields September 13, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Paul, you're response is incredibly selfish and ignorant!
Ellen Shields September 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM
The only birth control needed on our planet is for humans. Human's uncontrolable breeding habits has put our planet at the brink of destruction. We are running out of natural resourses and have managed to pollute much of our air, soil and water. Humans are the invasive species Not the animals who were on this earth first and caused it no harm! The selfishness and greed of humans will be their own demise.
Jon September 13, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Hunting, with a gun or bow, should only be done when the meat is going to be consumed. Is the way most people supply their families with meat.
Kat September 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Well said Ellen!
Jon September 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Kat, without hunters you would not have all these animals. Over $2 billion has been raised through the fees that are collected from the purchase of a hunting license and hunting equipment (thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937). The money collected has saved and/or re-introduced many species of animals throughout the country. Also, monies collected has helped fund millions of acres of habitat acquisition and its management so that the animals can flourish. Most of this land makes up most of the state and national forest that you enjoy. Also, "not needing meat" is your opinion. Alot of families turn to hunting to help supply their meat sources. These hunters are usually experienced and use humane tactics. Unlike most meat that is supplied in the grocery stores. Last note; hunters spend over 10 billion dollars a year and make up countless jobs are created and maintained because of hunting. And I will justify my wish to hunt and enjoy it with all of its bounties and memories it provides.
Jon September 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Shell, hunters have taken that responsibility every time they purchase a license or ammunition. Thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act a fee is attached to each purchase. Over $2 billion has been raised to fund the acquisition of animal habitat.
Joan September 13, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I wonder if we could waive or reduce the hunting license fee for hunters that donate a percentage of the meat to food banks and homeless shelters? Bears are so large. That's a LOT of food.
Kat September 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Jon, You are entitled to your opinion and to justify hunting to yourself. In my opinion, there is no justification for killing an innocent animal. No one will ever convince me that it is the right thing to do. Not needing to eat meat is not an opinion it is a fact. You don't need to eat animals to survive. It is also a fact that we could feed more people on grains and beans than on meat. People do,however, have the choice of what they want to eat. I am not here to judge people on what they choose to eat. I personally don't feel that humans have the "right" to take away an animal's life because they feel the need to control. I don't care how much money is raised and how many jobs are created. There are plenty of jobs out there to be created that don't have anything to do with killing an innocent healthy animal. The question was "should we have a bear hunt?" We aren't talking about starving bears in the woods and bears dieing of disease. We are talking about a bunch that have been found becoming a nuisance and eating where they find food. I think most animals will go where there is food. I don't know what the solution to more bear sightings but I don't think that calls for a hunt. They are normally very docile animals.
zippythepinhead September 13, 2012 at 08:12 PM
the human race needs to be culled
michele mackenzie September 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I have been writing on the Madison Patch about the beautiful Bear that was killed (for now reason) Relocation would have been a much better answer...The DEEP took the easy way out. The bears are usually docile animals. My cousin works up in Alaska with the wildlife. I sent him the stories about Madison and he thought it was so very wrong. Bears are NOT afraid of humans by nature. They knew there was food by the houses and were HUNGRY....If they had been shot at by rubber (and I said RUBBER) bullets or extreme loud noises, they would associate humans to fear. The bear that went to the house in Madison was encouraged to do so by the homeowner...The news played it without *sound* so it looked like the bear just ran at the house...I love all creation,. and we should respect it. Man thinks they are entitled to Anything they want by Any means it takes. Killing---A Sport??? How really pathetic. I am a Vegan, all my 3 grown sons are Vegan and all Very Healthy. Jon, hunters spend over $$$$$ a year..so What....Life is more precious...Memories of killing an animal..?? The world is a "Fast Disappearing Wonder"...being destroyed by Man...Really Sad...I respect Mother Nature and all the beautiful animals that live on the earth..Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. His Holiness The Dalai Lama
michele mackenzie September 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
And only the last sentence was by the Dalai Lama.........Kat and a few others...I like what you say
michele mackenzie September 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi And This Says it Too...Look how the people in the world treat each other. !! It is true-the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated....So Very True.......
love connecticut September 28, 2012 at 02:11 AM
People need to be educated about not feeding bears and leaving out feeders. This is ridiculous to even consider hunting. If people continue to leave out garbage and bird feeders than a fine should be considered to the offenders not the bears. It is irresponsible to feed the bears even inadvertanly. As the saying goes "A fed bear is a dead bear." Common sense is not so common anymore.
Paul Bahre September 28, 2012 at 02:22 AM
It's like this, a bear's closest relatives are the Dog and the Pig. Bears task a whole hellavla like a pig. BBQ pig is the Shee IE Tee !!! Hell black bear comes in my yard, I'm not going to shoot the bear, I'm going to jump the bear and stab that mo Fo in the heart. Then I'm going to have a BBQ for my neighborhood and we will all have a pot latch, as I am part Mohawk and that is just what we do. So if you are a liberal democrat and you don't like the idea of me hacking to death a black bear or over grown dog and you don't like me bbqing the dog/bear y'all can all F yersleves cause I have no regards for liberal folk !!!
Cheryl Anderson September 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM
I am not a liberal democrat, I am not anti-hunting to provide food on your table. I absolutely agree that human slovenliness and ignorance creates much of the conflicts that arise with acclimated bears. While acknowledging that culling the bear population seems to be an inevitability, I would like to see people held to a stricter standard and penalized for feeding the bears. A ticketing process for garbage left out, or feeders up in the summer would help defray some of the cost of relocation, and raise awareness on how to live responsibly alongside wildlife. Paul ~ your comment above is absurd. To paint anyone who disagrees with your blustering statement as a "liberal democrat" is ridiculous. Also, I for one would like to watch you attempt to "jump the bear and stab that mo Fo in the heart." I feel fairly confident that it wouldn't be the bear that is being served for dinner afterwards. What a useless comment that contributes nothing to the conversation except to elicit inflammatory responses. One more thing ~ there is no doubt that the human population is increasing exponentially and is overwhelming the natural resources needed to support it. To state this simple fact hardly makes one a "fascist" nor does it mean that one holds human life as anything less than sacred.
Jon September 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Well Of to NH to....hunt...have a great weekend
Paul Bahre September 28, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Cheryl, you have to find where you lost your sense of humor. Like I'm going to go all Ted Nugent on a bear. Probably not going to ever happen. You are right, bear proof the garbage in the bins and don't put in bird feed. It also helps to have a very noisy dog in the back yard. Me and all my neighbors have noisy dogs in our back yards and that is why we never see any bears in my neighborhood. Bears hate having to listen to noisy dogs.
Joan September 28, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I feel sorry for the bears like many of you do, and I agree, of course, that none of this is the fault of the bears, but I also agree that this is a real problem. Many of you are blaming people who leave food out (bird feeders, etc.), but I blame the people who "reintroduced" the bears back in the first place. We shouldn't mess with mother nature. A serious problem has been created. It's a tragedy waiting to happen. The bears may have a natural fear of us NOW, but just like the deer, who are WAY overpopulated, they will become almost tame. What I'm afraid of is the first cool, dry summer we have, when the plants that usually flourish to feed animals of that size aren't here. The bears will be HUNGRY. And if a bear wants to get at the food on your dining room table, it can easily rip a door or window off. My trash collector asks that we have our trash out on the curb by 6 A.M. and I'm nervous taking the garbage out at that hour when bears are most active. There was a bear in my yard a few years ago, and I don't live in a rural area. Man has once again, created a weird and dangerous situation by messing with mother nature. We should correct that mistake by allowing hunting. NH allows hunting, but not enough, in my opinion. My father lives in an old age community in NH, and bears tear apart the dumpsters there regularly. Bears have wandered onto the porches of his neighbors. It's a crime to risk the safety of the elderly like this.
Paul Bahre September 28, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The bears were not re-introduced they have never left the CT eco system. As far back as I can remember there have always been Black Bears in CT and MA. There are more of them then when I was a child. Used to be they were in places like N. Canton, West Granby, Hartland, Barkhamsted, New Hartford and all through the North West Hills and into the Berkshires. I guess they migrated over Tallcot Mountain in the early 80's or so and now you have them in West Hartford. I don't believe there was ever an effort to re-introduce bears in CT. They are pretty good at survival. They are after all "Big Dogs."
Joan September 28, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Margaret, I like that idea, too. I remember reading that the eastern tip of Long Island tried that with their extreme overpopulation of deer. That was about fifteen years ago, and I remember hearing then that it failed, for some reason. Maybe it's been perfected since then?
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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