DEEP: Bear population rising in CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

DEEP: Bear population rising in CT

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While it may be hibernation season, bears are still being spotted across the state.  

Ed Ingalls, of Avon, said he spotted a black bear earlier this week.

“I said ‘oh I thought they were in hibernation,’” Ingalls said. “I guess maybe not."

Wildlife experts such as Paul Rego said bear sightings were still being reported during typical hibernation season.

“When we do have wilder winter weather like this, some will come out of their dens and forage for a period,” Rego said.

In the past year, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said between Jan. 20, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017 there were 600 bear sightings in Avon, 283 in Southbury and 280 in Simsbury.

Last summer, Ingalls' granddaughter had an encounter with a black bear.

“I looked out of the slider and the bear was coming right out of the top of my railing and I was like wholly mackerel,” she said.

Ingalls said he saw a survival TV show about bears in the deep woods and copied a trick used by outdoors men. He put spikes in his fence to keep the bears from climbing and added It's working for now.

“We believe we're going to see an escalating number of conflicts with bears,” Ingalls said.

Rego said it's not because people are building deeper into forests, instead, because the bear population is rising. There are an estimated 500-700 bears in Connecticut right now. DEEP doesn't track bear attacks, but said there hasn't been one in recent memory.

Wildlife experts said to remember that black bears are really aggressive with people but if you happen to see one don't approach it. If it approaches you, back away slowly and never run.

To see full report on bear sightings in Connecticut, click here

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