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Senate defeats bill to expand farmers’ ability to kill bears

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HARTFORD — The Connecticut Senate has defeated a bill that would have expanded when farmers can kill nuisance wildlife, including bears, which destroy crops.

Tuesday’s bill was a scaled-back version of legislation that originally authorized regulated bear hunting in Litchfield County.

Instead, the Senate approved a second bill Tuesday that requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to provide the General Assembly with a report on non-lethal ways to control the bear population. That report is due no later than February 1, 2020.

Republican Sen. Craig Miner of Litchfield, who supports a bear hunt, says his constituents already use non-lethal management practices, but it’s not enough.

Republican Sen. Kevin Witkos of Canton says he’s “in fear” it will take a human mauling or death for lawmakers to ultimately pass tougher legislation.

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