December 2, 2023

Just How Many Black Bears Does Connecticut Have Anyway?

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Yesterday I reported in “Connecticut: Counting and Killing Bears” that the “official” bear count in Connecticut was about 500 bears. Maybe Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection should learn how to measure the number of bears in the same fashion as the old timer learned how to convey the size of the trout he caught. When asked how big a particular fish was being told about in a story, the old timer fisherman would reply, “I wouldn’t say it was bigger than 14 inches.”

Maybe if Connecticut reported that the state had no more than 5,000 they would be better off. Then again, one has to honestly question with a department of energy and environmental protection is rightfully equipped to know and understand the population of a flock of bears or a herd of turtles.

After publishing my article yesterday, a reader and part time contributor to this blog, Richard Paradis, emailed me a link to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website where they have tracked and recorded by town bear sightings/encounters reported by residents from September 7, 2011 until August 30, 2012.

This chart shows 2,915 reports of bear sightings all across the state. As was pointed out by Mr. Paradis, “If there are 500 bears [in Connecticut] then each bear has been sighted an average of 6 times.” It might be safe to say, I don’t see my next door neighbor that often.

While not out of the realm of possibilities that there exists only 500 bears in Connecticut, this many sightings are very much possible providing that the bears are out hitch hiking, visiting the local restaurants, standing in unemployment lines and chartering buses to Foxwoods Casino.

IF the counting and estimating process continues, I will be curious to see what kind of a number they come up with and how much confidence to put into such an estimate.