Be Bear Aware

Hunting Regulations Icon Connecticut Hunting

Connecticut’s bear population is growing and encounters between people and bears continue to increase.

When bears find human-provided foods, they can become habituated to humans and residential settings. Habituated bears are more likely to be struck by vehicles, cause property damage, and threaten human safety.

Removing and managing food sources can prevent these problems. Bears are rarely aggressive towards people, although habituated bears may act curious and approach more closely.

Black Bear DO’s and DON’Ts

Bears Seen When Hunting, Hiking, or Camping:

Bears normally leave an area once they have sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance.

  • DO watch bears from a distance if you are undetected in a hunting blind or stand.
  • DO make your presence known by making noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking, and DO back away slowly.
  • DON’T climb a tree or run away.
  • DO increase your efforts to look large and offensive if a bear continues to approach you.
  • DO keep dogs on a leash and under control.
  • DON’T approach or try to get close to a bear to get a photo or video.
  • DON’T cook food near your tent or store food inside your tent. Instead, store food in a secure vehicle or use rope to suspend it between two trees.

Bears Near Your Home: Bears are attracted to garbage, birdfeeders, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, livestock, and beehives around houses.

  • DON’T intentionally feed bears.
  • DO remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • DO store garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.
  • DO clean and store BBQ grills in a shed or garage after use.
  • DO protect beehives, chickens, and other livestock with electric fencing and move chickens and livestock into coops, sheds, or barns at night if possible.
  • DON’T approach or try to get close to a bear to get a photo or video.
  • DON’T leave pet food outside overnight.

Report Bear Sightings!

  • Reports of bear sightings are valuable indicators of how the state’s bear population is growing and expanding, as well as the activity and movements of bears. Report bear sightings and learn more about bears at www.ct.gov/deep/blackbear.
  • A common misconception is that a tagged bear in Connecticut is a problem bear, and a bear with two ear tags was caught on two different occasions because it was causing problems. Actually, every bear receives two ear tags (one in each ear) the first time it is handled by DEEP, regardless of why it was tagged. Most tagged bears have not been caught as problem bears, but rather as part of a project to research the state’s bear population.