Bill to allow limited bear hunting in CT has been dropped

Bear hunting bill dropped
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A controversial bill to allow limited bear hunting in Connecticut has been abandoned.

Hunters and farmers have been pushing for a bear hunt.

Even Governor Ned Lamont and the state’s environmental leaders feel a hunt will help prevent dangerous encounters between bears and people.

But lawmakers are backing off from killing bears.

Connecticut black bears have moved into many neighborhoods. There have been dangerous encounters.

Last October a bear attacked a 10-year-old boy in Morris. A neighbor fought the bear off.

The legislature’s environment committee was set to vote on a bill Friday to allow limited hunting, but the proposal was taken off the table.

The bill would have allowed 50 bears a year to be killed through a lottery system.

“What this will do is jeopardize the safety of the residents by not doing anything at all,” said Rep. Karen Reddington-Hughes (R – Woodbury).

Those who supported the hunt said we have a serious problem: that people are getting injured, pets are being killed, and bears are breaking into people’s homes.

But opposition has been fierce by the humane society and many others.

“The reason there are bear human conflicts is because of food and they need food and if they know there will be food in the back of people’s home yes, they will be there,” said Rep. David Michel (D – Stamford).

Michel said if we do a better job securing food, bears may stay away.

While lawmakers are abandoning the hunt, they are considering a plan to stop bird feeders from being outside certain times of the year.

But Reddington-Hughes said bears are going into the dumpsters and they’ll keep coming back.

“Unfortunately, what’s happened is we can’t put the lid back on Pandora’s box,” said Reddington-Hughes.

Legalizing a limited bear hunt has been pushed for a few years, and it will not happen this year.

Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only states on the east coast that do not allow some form of bear hunting.