SOUTHBURY -- A Newtown man is lucky to be alive after his encounter with a black bear this past weekend.
The State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has not released the exact location, where the 38 year old hiker was knocked over by a black bear, but they did say it happened on Saturday, in the woods near Lake Zoar in Southbury.
Monday’s wonderful weather brought plenty of folks outdoors to Kettletown State Park in Southbury. This popular destination likely not far the man was likely surprised.
“This is actually my first time hearing like that this guy got knocked over,” said Patrick Purcell of Southbury. “So I am pretty sure I’m not gonna let my cat out any more.”
The cat’s name: bear.
“I’m not too intimidated by it,” said Carol Munson of Oxford. “Bears mostly just mind their own business. I’m not really too worried about it.”
Fortunately, the hiker did not sustain serious injuries. And, there are tips to remember if you spot a bear.
“Make sure they are aware that you’re there so you’re not surprising them and second thing is don’t approach,” said Rick Jacobson
of DEEP. “Don’t try to take videos or selfie’s with the animal.”
And, if they should start to approach you, take a more aggressive posture
“You should start to wave your hands and make loud noises,” Jacobson says. “If it appears they’re going so far as to be aggressive, then be more aggressive in response. Throw sticks. Throw rocks, whatever you can.”
State Sen. Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), who represents Southbury, and State Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield) believe the state should implement a bear hunting season.
DEEP says the black bear population, in the western part of the state, is growing at 10% a year, “but the greatest density of bears we have in the state are Avon, Simsbury, Canton, Granby.”
Jacobson also reminds folks not to feed these wild animals, including bears, because they become habituated to humans meaning they consider than humans a source of food.