Bear sightings on the rise across Connecticut

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WILTON -

Bear sightings across Connecticut are on the rise, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Animal control officers in Wilton say they've already received several bear-related calls.

One Wilton man says he went outside this morning to fill his bird feeder. Still groggy, he mistook a bear for his neighbor's large dog.

"So I just told him, 'Hank, get away from my bird feeder,'" says Dean Price. "And it stood up, we were pretty much close, and looked down at me, at which point I realized that's not Hank. That's a bear -- big bear."

Price went back inside and started recording the animal.

On Wednesday, a Redding police officer shot video of a bear making itself at home near Redding Center. In nearby Weston, animal control Officer Mark Harper says he often gets calls reporting bears, but they have been harmless except for some property damage, including to beehives and bird feeders.

Harper says you should contact local animal control or the state DEEP in case of a bear sighting for tracking purposes. 

Experts say bears are driven by their stomachs. So, to avoid problems, they advise people to never feed them, in addition to securing your garbage and protecting beehives with electric fencing.

If you encounter a bear, make your presence known.

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