Connecticut could pass new law to shoot bears in self-defense
Black bears could be shot in self-defense in Connecticut should the governor sign into law a controversial bill already approved by state lawmakers. The House passed the bill by 115 to 32 after residents reported fearing for their safety and the safety of their children with “near daily” encounters, according to CT Insider.
“Parents are afraid to have their children in the backyard,” said Rep. Mark Anderson, R- Granby. “In my own neighborhood, some of the people are afraid to take a walk, we have [bears] walking down the sidewalk.”
If Gov. Ned Lamont signs the bill into law, it would allow residents to shoot bears in self-defense and allow the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to issue permits for farmers to kill bears that damage crops, livestock or beehives. The current version does not include the establishment of a lottery system that would allow hunters to kill up 50 bears each year in the northwestern hills. That was tabled after “hundreds of advocates” wrote to lawmakers, calling bear hunting “barbaric,” according to CT Insider.
To date, there are nearly 1,200 bears in the state and last year, DEEP reported a record 67 home invasions in which the bears were the culprit. This is compared to 30 similar incidents in 2021 and 45 in 2020, according to Fox News.
Right now, it appears that the bill has been waylaid, but lawmakers are optimistic it will pass.
“Nothing will ever stop human-bear interactions,” said Sen. Rick Lopes, D- New Britain. “But I hope this is a step in the right direction.”