Rep. Bolinsky Opposes Proposed Bear Hunting Measure

Posted on March 14, 2023


HARTFORD- Last Friday, State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) along with chairs of the CT Animal Advocacy Caucus, and advocates from the CT Coalition to Protect Bears strongly opposed legislation that would open the door to a proposed bear hunting season.

“We do not have a population problem when it comes to black bears,” said State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky. “We’re talking about a very small number of 1,000 to 1,200 and all the bears are doing is responding to their need to have nourishment.”

According to the CT Coalition to Protect Black Bears, studies have shown time and again that if is food available, negative human-bear interactions may occur. Bears are highly intelligent and opportunistic feeders but are also very shy and will typically avoid or retreat from interactions with humans.  The CT Coalition to Protect Bears was formed by leading animal and environmental advocacy groups because of misleading information circulating about black bears in Connecticut, including that they need to be managed with a bear hunt. You can download the new report with this link: “The Truth About CT’s Black Bears.”

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) last official bear population study that was made public in 2016. Since that time, the agency has failed to use this data to help local town managers anticipate areas of possible bear habitat.

Instead, Rep. Bolinsky reiterated his support for House Bill 5160, which includes a conflict-reduction community grant program that will, among other strategies, provide funding to communities for bear-resistant trash cans and electric fencing around chicken coops and beehives. The bill would also include an educational component; a prohibition of intentional or unintentional feeding of black bears; establishment of bear cub rehabilitation guidelines; and explore a system to make restitution to farmers experiencing damage caused by bears.