Bear Killing in Connecticut Under Investigation as Possible Self-Defense Incident

CANTON, Conn. — Authorities in Connecticut are investigating the shooting of a 450-pound, adult male black bear, with the shooter claiming self-defense in the incident. The bear was reportedly killed after being seen feeding at an unsecured dumpster in Canton, a community located about 13 miles northwest of Hartford, according to Paul Copleman, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Police officers from DEEP’s Environmental and Conservation division are currently conducting the investigation.

The shooting took place following the passage of legislation in the state that allows individuals to use deadly force against a bear if they believe it poses a threat of great bodily harm to a person, pet, or is entering an occupied building. Concerns about the rise in human-bear interactions in Connecticut prompted some state legislators to push for further measures, such as a bear hunt and restrictions on feeding the animals unintentionally.

Authorities are looking into whether this marks the first instance where self-defense has been claimed in a bear killing since the law was enacted. In recent years, bear sightings have become more frequent throughout Connecticut, with reports of bears in 165 of the state’s 169 cities and towns in 2023. Canton alone saw over 200 bear sightings last year, underscoring the increasing presence of these animals in the area.

The incident has reignited discussions about wildlife management and human-bear coexistence in the state. Some residents have expressed concerns about the potential dangers posed by bears, while others advocate for more comprehensive strategies to address the issue. As investigations continue into the circumstances surrounding the bear’s killing, authorities will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure public safety and promote responsible interactions between humans and wildlife in the region.