By Gregory B. Hladky
5:27 PM EDT, April 2, 2013
In case you hadn’t heard, a legislative committee recently got behind a bill that would set up a lottery system for people to hunt and kill bears in Connecticut.
By some estimates, the population of black bears in Connecticut is something like 500 and growing every year, but others dispute those numbers. State wildlife officials and the University of Connecticut have just completed the first year of a planned four-year study of this state’s bear population.
The rationale for creating a bear hunt is that it would help reduce the numbers of these big (as in 300-600 pound) omnivores and reduce the chances of them raiding bird feeders, garbage cans and even harassing and killing livestock.
It would also raise some money for the state by having would-be Daniel Boones pay $10 for a chance to enter the bear-hunt lottery and $200 for an actual bear-shooting license.
Some state wildlife officials insist that we don’t have “a bear problem,” what we have is a “people problem” that exists because we’re not used to having large wild animals around our suburbs. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wants to wait until the four-year bear population study is completed before making any bear-hunt decisions.
Out of curiosity, I asked the DEEP for a list of the livestock that bears have allegedly killed in Connecticut recently. They weren’t able to provide a complete accounting, saying that might be impossible, but provided the following tally of “some” of the reports of bears versus livestock.
And here’s what they came up with for 2011 and 2012 (Apparently no reports for 2013 yet because our bears just woke up from their winter slumbers):
5/3011 – 129 Newfield Rd., Winchester. Report that a bear killed a pig.
4/25/11 – 115 Marshall Lake Rd., Torrington – bear got into chicken coop.
5/25/11 – White Memorial, Litchfield – bears damaged bee hives.
11/30/12 – 51 Hillcrest Dr., Barkhamsted, one goat dead and one missing in apparent attack by bear(s).
10/7/12 – Old North Rd., Winchester, bear tore door off rabbit coop.
9/13/12 – 32 Hollenback Rd., Cornwall – bear(s) apparently took rabbits from rabbit coop.
8/31/12 – 119 Chiswick Lane, Barkhamsted – chickens killed in coop.
7/12/12 – 298 Townhill Rd., Goshen – bear killed to sheep.
Not exactly the ferocious scorecard I was expecting.
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