Connecticut Lawmakers Debate Bear Hunting Bill After Attacks


The Bear Attack

A bear hunting bill in Connecticut is being revisited after several black bear attacks left people in the hospital last month.

A 74-year-old woman was attacked by a bear while walking her dog, prompting Members of the Environment Committee in Connecticut, Sen. Stephen Harding and Rep. Patrick Callahan, to urge Senate and House leadership to take action.

S.B. 1148 aims to manage the growing bear population in the state. If passed, it would legalize bear hunting.

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This attack is the second case this week in which a bear was euthanized due to dangerous behavior. Both legislators expressed their concern for the victims’ well-being. They stressed the duty of legislators to acknowledge the issue and take action to ensure community safety.

The Bear Hunting Bill

S.B. 1148, which passed out of the Environment Committee, aims to implement a comprehensive bear management program that includes a bear hunt. 

“I wish a quick recovery to the victim of this bear attack. I support a comprehensive bear management program, including S.B. 1148, which passed out of the Environment Committee. The experts and bear biologists from DEEP also testified supporting a bear hunt.  Many Republicans submitted bills that included a bear hunt in CT. However, we did not have the votes to advance a bear hunt bill out of committee. Connecticut remains one of two states that does not allow any bear hunting, even as the bear population grows, and human encounters increase year after year,” said Rep. Patrick Callahan in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.

DEEP, or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, spoke at the event, “Conflicts between humans and bears are continuing to rise, and that trend is continuing this year.”

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They expressed their policy of public safety being a top priority.

Callahan and Harding emphasized that the proposed legislation would be critical in providing necessary safety measures within their communities, especially in Western CT. 

They hope that both parties can work together and “implement a policy that will provide safeguards for all of [their] constituents”

S.B. 1148 is currently waiting for action on the Senate calendar.

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About the author: Kimber Pearce is a student, an avid shooter, and a pro-2A advocate.

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