Connecticut residents advised to expect more bear sightings

HARTFORD  — As the weather starts to get nicer a lot of us will be spending more time outside, as will a lot more animals.

Bears are coming out of hibernation and some could come into your backyard. Just this year we've already had about 880 bear sightings reported, according to DEEP, and it's only expected to grow from here. Last year we had a total of about 7,000 bear sightings in Connecticut, and we're expected to reach peak bear sighting season this year around July.

Jamie Mordarski said it was this time last year, when a bear walked through his front yard at his home in Oakville.

"A neighbor called me and said hey there's a bear in your yard," Mordarski said. "I thought he was joking or something, and I looked out the window and there's this black bear just kinda walking through the yard."

Wildlife biologist Paul Rego at Sessions Woods Wildlife in Burlington said it's only going to keep becoming more common. He said the black bear population is growing though they're not aggressive by nature, but their range is expanding from Northwestern Connecticut to Northern and Fairfield county.

If you see a bear in your neighborhood, Rego recommends, "First thing is not to approach the bear if it's a safe distance away try to scare it. It can be with yelling, banging pots and pans."

Rego said  bears usually wonder through because they smell food

"Bears have actually broken into kitchens and gone into refrigerators" Rego said.

They can come for your backyard bird feeders and livestock too.

If you're in the forest most large trail heads have a sign warning you there are bears around. Experts said if you spot a bear try to find another trail, and there is strength in numbers. If you're alone a bold bear could approach anyone regardless of size.

Experts add, keeping bears away is a community effort. Make sure your neighbors don't have bird food out and they keep their trash in a garage or an air tight container. And if you do see a bear call your local police department or a conservation officer. It's important for them to keep track of bear sightings. Some bears also have ear tags, so taking a picture and posting it on social media is also recommended to help spread awareness.

Black Bear Do's and Don'ts 

Bear sightings by town