I sure as hell have noticed it, in the early days of the pandemic, back in April, May of this year, more and more of my Facebook friends posted photos of massive bears in their yard, eating from the garbage, the bird feeder, etc. In Waterbury, Southbury, New Milford, Danbury, even Naugatuck. Is there a non-stop bear mating festival going on in the Berkshires that we don't know about? Ethan Carey even wrote about a bear taking a dip out on Candlewood Lake this Summer. Well, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP), has just released some record-breaking statistics, and they are urging Connecticut residents to use caution as the fall weather approaches.

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According to a CT DEEP news release, as Connecticut heads into the cooler Autumn weather, black bears start increasing their food intake in order to fatten up for their winter hibernation. Already in 2020, Connecticut has had a record number of human/bear interactions, and a lot of times, these interactions do not end well for the bear, or the human and/or their pet. There have been a record-breaking 42 instances of bears entering homes this year in the Nutmeg State.

“Black bears should never be fed – either intentionally or unintentionally,” said Jenny Dickson, DEEP Wildlife Division Director. “Bears that are attracted to homes by easily-accessible foods lose their fear of humans. It is important to remember to keep your grill clean and garbage secured and indoors until collection day to avoid giving bears a tempting snack. Bears that are rewarded by easy meals spend more time in neighborhoods and near people, increasing risks to public safety, the likelihood of property damage, and the possibility that the bears may be hit and killed by vehicles.”

Not all encounters with bears are bad, obviously, and the DEEP is actually encouraging the public to report common sightings to the DEEP's Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011. These routine public reports provide valuable information to assist the DEEP in keeping track of the black bear population.

If you do happen to encounter a bear that seems to be aggressive towards people, there is a 24 hour dispatch line set up at the DEEP - it's 860-424-3333.