Senators Berthel and Miner Issue a Statement on the Bear Attack in Southbury, Call for New Urgency to Pass a Bear Hunting Bill

September 30, 2019

Hartford—In response to a bear attack on a hiker in Southbury yesterday, Sen. Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), who represents Southbury in the state Senate, and Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), ranking Republican Senator on the Environment Committee, released a statement expressing relief that the hiker was not hurt, but warned their fellow legislators that these incidents will only increase if a bear hunt is not instituted to control the population.

“We are relieved to hear that the hiker involved in this incident was not seriously hurt,” said Berthel and Miner, “however, we are concerned that, given the explosion in black bear population in the western part of the state, these incidents will only continue. We have seen livestock and pets killed, and now a hiker has been attacked. If something isn’t done to properly manage the bear population, we feel a real tragedy is inevitable.”

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) estimates that the bear population in the northwestern portion of the state is growing at 10% a year. State wildlife biologists have long recommend a limited bear hunting season as the only effective way to manage the population and achieve balance in the ecosystem.

“It’s time we took the advice of the scientists,” the senators said. “The fall is the time when black bears are out foraging and getting ready for the winter. At this time in 2014, a Rutgers student was tragically killed by a black bear while out for a walk in New Jersey. After that tragic incident, New Jersey expanded its successful black bear hunting season. We hope it doesn’t take a death for Connecticut to wise up and understand that a hunting season is the only way to get this population under control.”