Could Connecticut ban bear feeding?
As it turns out, you can feed bears in Connecticut with impunity, and without fear of legal reprimand. That's not the case in other places, where shooting a bear might be just fine (in season) but feeding them is a no-no.
For example, intentionally feed a bear in New Jersey and you could be looking at a $1,000 fine.
New York might send you to jail for 15 days for intentionally feeding the bears. In Rhode Island, you can get a license to feed the bears for scientific reasons, but unlicensed bear feeding could put you in prison for 90 days, plus a $500 fine.
Those states also prohibit leaving food around that might attract bears, so Yogi has to go without his pick-i-nick basket.
Black bears are, of course, very common in Connecticut. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there have been 2,787 black bear sightings in the state for the year ending Nov. 6. Apparently Farmington is swarming with bears — there have been 228 bear sightings reported within the last year.
Torrington is another big city for bears. The DEEP reports 177 sightings in the last year, behind only Farmington and Burlington (183 sightings).
In May, a Burlington man was charged after allegedly shooting and killing a black bear on his property (DEEP photo at right).
The Connecticut Mirror reported in September that, “Conflicts with humans are increasing every year,” according to Jason Hawley, a wildlife biologist with the (DEEP. “Really the only way to manage a bear population is through a hunting season.”