450-pound bear reportedly killed in self-defense in Connecticut

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Connecticut police were investigating the killing of a 450-pound, adult male black bear on Monday morning and claims by the shooter that it was done in self-defense.

The bear was killed after “reportedly feeding at an unsecured dumpster” in Canton, a community of about 10,000 people and about 13 miles northwest of Hartford, said Paul Copleman, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. DEEP’s Environmental and Conservation Police officers is conducting the investigation.

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The shooting comes a year after the General Assembly passed legislation that explicitly allows someone to use deadly force to kill a bear in Connecticut if they reasonably believe it’s inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm to a person, a pet or is entering an occupied building.

Some state legislators, concerned about the increase in human and bear interactions in Connecticut, had hoped the legislation would have gone further and included a bear hunt and restrictions on people unintentionally feeding the hungry animals.

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Copleman said the conservation police are looking into whether this marks the first time someone has claimed self-defense in killing a bear since the law was enacted.

In recent years, bears have been spotted throughout Connecticut. In 2023, bears were reported in 165 of the state’s 169 cities and towns.

There were more than 200 bear sightings last year in Canton. During a live news report on Monday evening by WFSB-TV about the shooting, another black bear showed to check out the same row of dumpsters before returning to the woods.

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