Animal Rights Activists Connections Entwined is holding a rally in front of the state capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday, March 17 at 3 p.m. to oppose a proposed bill allowing for a black bear hunting lottery to take place.
According to the group’s Facebook post announcement, the rally is meant to alert state legislators that a bear hunt is not necessary.
“Every year a few hunters and those not very mindful of animals push for hunting,” reads the post. “…Let’s make sure the legislators know the people don’t want a hunt. We’ll have people say a few words then we ask those willing to go in and leave a message or ask their legislator to stop the hunt.”
The proposed bill, which would “authorize a black bear hunting lottery in the northwestern part of [Connecticut],” was introduced by state representative Karen Reddington-Hughes and referred to the state’s Environment Committee in January, according to the Connecticut General Assembly’s website.
The legislation follows an incident from October 2022 in which a black bear attacked a 10-year-old boy at his home in Morris, Connecticut. The boy was left with puncture wounds, bite marks and claw marks, but no life-threatening injuries. The bear was later euthanized by the state’s Environmental Conservation Police.
The rally’s organizers believe that the boy and his family “hadn’t been handling their trash properly and the bear was attracted to their house” after smelling the outdoor trash bin.
Another proposed bill, introduced by state representatives David Michel and Nicole Klarides-Ditria, would prohibit Connecticut residents from feeding black bears and form a program to encourage the use of nonlethal techniques against bears, such as bear-resistant trash bins.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the number of black bear sightings in the state, as well as human-bear incidents, has increased in recent years.
“Black bears are increasingly common in Connecticut,” reads the DEEP website. “Reports of bear sightings, even in heavily populated residential areas, are on the rise. The Wildlife Division has also seen an increase in the number of reported problems with black bears.”
One main cause for bear presence in residential areas, according to DEEP, is the easy accessibility of food sources in backyards, which includes birdfeeders, garbage containers that are not airtight or bear-proof, unclean barbecue grills and compost piles.
Currently, Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only two states in New England that ban bear hunting. The states that allow bear hunting (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont) all require a permit for hunting but have varying regulations on how many bears can be hunted per person. More information about each state’s limit can be found on the CT state website.
How about capturing (tranquilizer gun, humane trap ?) And relocating to safer location ? Oh and stop infringing on their natural habitat.