Bear encounters escalate as bears are getting smarter on where food is and how to get to it. Some have tried breaking into garages where trash bins are kept. Will RVs be next? Should hunting be increased?
Tom Bradley had grown accustomed to seeing black bears walk through his Connecticut neighborhood, but this month he was alarmed to find something trying to turn a doorknob to enter his house.
He used his key fob to set off his car horn, to scare away whatever was in his garage. When he went outside, he saw a bear and two cubs that had been trying to get into his mudroom, reported ABC News.
“I think what is happening is, the bears are learning,” Bradley said. “It was sort of a step from going outside to get the garbage, to going into the garage where the cans are, and now they are moving into the homes because they have discovered that is where the food is.”
Bears have been encroaching on humans in record numbers this year in Connecticut, which has seen increases in the black bear population like other nearby states, and is the only state that does not allow bear hunting.
There have been 24 reports of bears breaking into homes and businesses in Connecticut this year, well above the yearly average of about six, said Paul Rego, a state wildlife biologist.
In recent months, bears have shredded a car’s interior, wandered into a liquor store, even woken residents in their own bedrooms.
“We have many cases where bears have become very comfortable living close to humans and not being impressed by barking dogs and yelling people,” Rego said.
Bear encounters are up in other states, as well. New York has received 1,282 nuisance bear reports this year, such as the animals getting into garbage or bird feeders, compared with 700 a year ago, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported. Officials believe drought conditions earlier this summer, which led to fewer berries, may be a factor.
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