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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: A bear of a problem

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: A bear of a problem


Over the years one would have to believe that many species of wildlife have lost their fear of human beings. That being the case I wonder if this is a good thing or something that is going to bite us in the butt as the years go on.

Having hunted just about all of my life I have noticed a transition in the behavior of some wild critters while others still maintain their wary ways when it comes to encounters with us humans.

One of the critters that worries me the most is the burgeoning black bear population. Their success at entering buildings is legendary. Even up in the more northern zones stories of black bears entering unoccupied camps and destroying just about everything in sight.

Here in Connecticut black bear sightings and encounters are in the news almost on a daily basis. I recently got a telephone call from a Meriden resident telling me about a black bear sighting on Paddock Ave.

Those opposed to any kind of black bear population control like hunting tell us that the solution is simple, “Don’t feed the bears!” It sounds good but I have a hard time figuring out how we can control the black bear population by not feeding them.

Do they understand that it was not all that long ago that seeing a black bear in Connecticut was a rarity, not anymore? They tell folks not to put out birdfeeders robbing many humans of the joy of seeing songbirds at their feeders on a daily basis.

And then we are told not to put our garbage cans out for pickup until just before the garbage man makes his pickup at 4 or 5 a.m. Wow a rocket scientist must have thought that one up.

And yet all of these stop feeding the bears solutions they come up with still do not answer the problem of black bears breeding and producing even more black bears to worry about.

Sooner or later and I hope it is sooner, our legislators are going to have to come up with a black bear hunting season BEFORE some innocent human being gets killed or attacked.

Right here in Meriden I have heard numerous reports of local black bear sightings and encounters.

We even had one go by our back yard a couple of years ago and from reports I got it wandered the neighborhood like it owned it.

Over the years I have written a number of columns on black bears taking human lives and in some cases even consuming their victims. Who will take the blame if that happens here in Connecticut, our legislators who listen to the animal rightists? Don’t bet on it.

And yes, I do know that times have changed regarding hunting and trapping over the years by some folks, but that does not mean that that they should be eliminated as a tool for managing our wildlife resources.

The whitetail deer population is another example of how proper regulation by our CT DEEP Wildlife Division has been able to reduce an over abundant deer population here in CT. And the deer are a perfect example of how a species can increase in numbers if there are no means to keep them in check.

“A whitetailed deer was killed in the town of Waterbury”. The only thing unusual about that statement is that this happened in 1842. But it tells you how few deer there were in Connecticut back then. In 1893, the Connecticut Legislature protected deer for a period of 10 years.

Fast forward to 1896 and the first biennial report of the Commissioner of Fish and Game reported, “That there are at least one-dozen live wild deer within the boundaries of Connecticut. According to the information I have, for almost a century no deer records were kept (1700-1800), indicating that deer sightings were so rare nobody bothered to record them.

Would you believe that in 1941 landowners and lessees were allowed to give written permission to three licensed hunters for a fee of one-dollar per permit. The permit holders were allowed to use a shotgun on such private properties. While the number of licensed hunters on these private property holdings was limited, the number of permits per person were not limited.

Today, whitetailed deer can be seen just about everywhere, and in many instances in places they have no business being in, and YES I am talking about right here in our city limits. They have adapted to living close to humans and in many cases have taken to destroying ornamental bushes and plants.

A case in point is the abandoned Raven’s Farm property on Raven’s Lane when I am going down to the Meriden Rod and Gun Club. I have spent many years as a youngster working on the farm and in all of those years I have never seen a whitetailed deer or even any sign of their having been there.

Now more than once I have had to stop to let the deer get off of the road to the club and I am not talking about just one deer but many times up to six in a group and some really healthy looking bucks.

And the most unusual part is that the deer do not show any fear of humans.

And there are other species of wild critters including Canada geese, coyotes and crows that have also lost their fear of humans.

Like it or not, hunting and trapping are still the best tools of wildlife management. Now if we can only get our state legislators to give our DEEP Wildlife Division the right to manage our wildlife resources without involving politics. Only time will tell.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders

wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.