WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The bear population in Connecticut is at an all-time high, with sightings going up as they come out of hibernation.
More than 1,200 bears are waking up across the state. They are seeing a lot of bear sightings in West Hartford.
“I moved into my house and within two weeks, I found a bear looking at me through a sliding glass window which really freaked me out, he was probably three or 400 pounds,” said Mike Zibel of West Hartford.
Now is the time bears need food after hibernating for the winter, so now is the time to be careful.
Avon leads the way with bear sightings at 634 last year. Simsbury is right behind them with 622, while Farmington had 403, Granby had 372 and West Hartford had 330.
Every winter, a team of bear biologists tracks down dens in concrete culverts under porches and in backyards to see how many new baby bears have been added to the population in the spring.
One of the things they keep track of in the study is lineage. When they check in with bears again the next year, they can check on the mortality rate.
Five years ago, the bear population was hovering around 600 to 800. The population continues to thrive.
“We’ve got somewhere around 1,200 bears in Connecticut, but that number is growing all the time, and I think the easiest way for folks to remember is we can have bears in any town in Connecticut,” said Jenny Dickson, director of DEEP Wildlife Divisions.
There are so many bears, DEEP asks that you only report aggressive or close-up confrontations with them. You can do that through their website here.
“Significant property damage, they’ve torn down a fence, they’ve pulled siding off the garage, they’ve broken something else in the yard trying to get into a food source. Absolutely we want to know that,” Dickson said.
If you are out enjoying the day and a bear does go by, and has one of the tags in its ear, DEEP recommends seeing if you can get the tag number. Do not get too close to the bear, but if you can report that number to DEEP, it will help them track the population across the state.