Black bear spotted in Bristol - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Black bear spotted in Bristol

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BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) -

A large black bear was spotted in a resident's backyard in Bristol Tuesday afternoon.

Marlene Carson reported the sighting in the backyard of her Glendale Drive home at about 3 p.m.

"He was huge," Carson said. "He was standing at the time and must have been about 4' tall."

Carson said the animal stayed in the backyard of her densely populated neighborhood for about two hours. She said there were no woods in which to run.

"He laid there under the tree for about an hour and a half before moving," she said.

Eyewitness News found large paw prints and feces left behind by the bear.

"We've seen deer in the yard and walking down the street, but never a bear," Carson said. "Not this size."

Officials with Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said that Bristol has the fifth most bear sightings of any city in Connecticut.

Between March 5, 2013 and March 3, 2014, there were 170 bear sightings in Bristol while in the rest of the state there were 3,481, according to the state DEEP officials.

While DEEP said they can be harmless, Carson said the sight was still startling.

"I'd be afraid to be in the yard, especially on the deck," said Carson.

The DEEP encourages residents to take the following simple steps to avoid problems with black bears:

  1. Never feed bears.
  2. Take down, clean and put away bird feeders by late March. Store the feeders until late fall. Clean up spilled seed from the ground.
  3. Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or storage area. Double bagging and adding ammonia to cans and bags will reduce odors that attract bears. Periodically clean garbage cans with ammonia to reduce residual odor. Garbage for pickup should be put outside the morning of collection and not the night before.
  4. Avoid leaving pet food outdoors at night.
  5. Keep barbecue grills clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed.
  6. Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods in compost piles.
  7. Protect beehives, livestock and berry bushes from bears with electric fencing.
  8. Supervise dogs at all times when outside. Keep dogs on a leash when walking and hiking. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.

Carson said she hopes the tips are enough to keep the bear away.

"Not in the neighborhood because in the nice weather of course," she said. "I hope we won't see him, hopefully not."

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