Bear population continues to grow and bear activity increases in early spring. Connecticut residents should take the following simple steps to avoid problems with black bears:
1. NEVER feed bears.
2. Take down, clean, and put away birdfeeders by late March, or even earlier during mild weather. 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 if possible. 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.
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4. Protect beehives, livestock (including backyard chicken coops), and berry bushes from bears with electric fencing.
5. 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
6. Do not leave pet food outdoors.
7. Keep barbecue grills clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed.
8. Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods in compost piles.
If hiking, residents should make their presence by yelling, making loud noises, waiving their arms and throwing sticks or rocks. Never run or attempt to get closer to a bear to take a photo or video. If a bear appears to be aggressive towards people, residents should immediately contact the DEEP’s 24-hour dispatch line at 860-424-3333.
Anyone who observes a black bear in Connecticut is encouraged to report the sighting on the DEEP’s website or call the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.