Bear Captured On Middletown Street
June 7, 2003
By SARAH BROWN, Hartford Courant Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN -- Those who promote the city's revitalized downtown boast that it offers fine food, music and shopping. Now they can add the occasional black bear.
The state Department of Environmental Protection captured a 187-pound male bear wandering along Main Street early Friday.
A resident who saw the bear called police, who alerted the DEP about 12:55 a.m., said DEP Sgt. Raul Camejo. By the time DEP officers arrived at 2 a.m., the bear had climbed a tree in front of the Community Health Center at 635 Main St., said Deputy Police Chief Philip Pessina.
A wildlife biologist arrived about 4 a.m. to mix the appropriate dose of tranquilizers for the animal, Pessina said.
Ed Parker of the DEP said the officers used a jab stick to inject the bear with the tranquilizers. The 8-foot-long stick is used for smaller distances than a tranquilizer gun, which can reach 20 to 25 yards.
After the bear was tranquilized, state wildlife biologist Paul Rego examined it. It was given white ear tags and released in a nearby state forest.
"It took some time because the bear was frightened," Pessina said.
The bear is thought to have been sighted in Portland recently. Parker said the connection couldn't be proved, but "it's unusual to have a bear sighting in Portland and Middletown."
If the bear indeed came from Portland, it would have had to either cross the Arrigoni Bridge or swim across the Connecticut River. River steward Chris Joyell said currents in the river are fast at this time of year.
"It's at least 4 miles an hour," he said.
Parker said the number of bear sightings in Connecticut has increased dramatically over the past few years. From 1996 to 1998, the state averaged 90 sightings a year. In 2002, more than 600 were reported. There have been 254 sightings reported in 2003.
"The bear population is healthy and thriving and will continue to grow," he said.
Bears are most often seen in the northwestern part of the state, but sightings in the east and south are becoming more common.
Pessina said this was the first report of a bear in downtown Middletown.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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Much as I've heard they are increasing in numbers here, I have yet to see one for sure in the wild. I heard from neighbors there was one in ny yard a few years back, and I know of one in town that met its demise when it turned on a conservation officer after being tagged with rubber bullet in an attempt to scare it off a year or 2 ago. I think I may have seen a couple on the road, but not sure. I currently have homebrew out in an attempt to get picture or 2 in an area I found tracks a few weeks ago. We will see. (hopefully won't be seeing how they can tear up a cam lol)