Sen. Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), who represents Southbury in the state Senate, and Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), ranking Republican Senator on the Environment Committee, released a statement about bear hunting after a Newtown man was knocked to the ground by a black bear while hiking near Lake Zoar on Sunday.
The statement reads:
“We are relieved to hear that the hiker involved in this incident was not seriously hurt, however, we are concerned that, given the explosion in black bear population in the western part of the state, these incidents will only continue. We have seen livestock and pets killed, and now a hiker has been attacked. If something isn’t done to properly manage the bear population, we feel a real tragedy is inevitable.”
According to their release, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) estimates that the bear population is growing at 10% a year in the northwestern part of the state.
The senators suggest a limited bear hunting season to avoid future problems.
The senators added:
“It’s time we took the advice of the scientists. The fall is the time when black bears are out foraging and getting ready for the winter. At this time in 2014, a Rutgers student was tragically killed by a black bear while out for a walk in New Jersey. After that tragic incident, New Jersey adopted a black bear hunting season. We hope it doesn’t take a death for Connecticut to wise up and understand that a hunting season is the only way to get this population under control.”