Lawmakers meet with Simsbury residents to discuss bear problems

SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH) - “A bear came and tore open a window on my chicken coop, and pulled one of the chickens out. Peeled the roof off of the chicken coop, took the door off and took another chicken out.”

Tony Uanio lives in Simsbury and has a bear trap in his backyard set by DEEP bear biologists. Bears attack his chickens and property almost daily, sometimes as many as six times a night.

“What needs to be done? I don’t know? I don’t have the answer to that, and I wouldn’t want to be the person making the decision.”

Thursday night, lawmakers were listening to the residents of Simsbury, trying to come up with solutions. Other states like Maine have a bear hunting season.

State Rep. John Hampton says his phone and email has blown up with people telling him not to hunt the bears, but they have reached saturation point in Farmington as they have more than 500 bear calls a year.

“We are having near misses at schools, at school bus stops with the children. We don’t want an accident to happen, we want to get ahead of this issue and hear from the DEEP.”

DEEP recommends hunting but it is unpopular. They can trap the bears, but Simsbury police officer Mark Rudewicz says they can’t relocate them outside of Connecticut.

“I realize we have a no translocation packed with other states, but whether it’s relocation, of some bears if that’s realistic?”

One resident suggested fining people who leave bird feeders and trash cans out. It is a step in the right direction, but not a solution to a difficult problem.

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