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Shelton Land Trust

The Shelton Land Conservation Trust is a private organization often confused with the Conservation Commission.  The Land Trust owns 364 acres of private open space that is open to the public, including several trails and a youth camp.



1. Shelton Conservation: Send email to conservation@cityofshelton.org, call 203-924-1555 x1315 and speak to Teresa Gallagher, or post a comment on the Shelton Trails & Conservation Facebook Page.  Please give a mappable location, date and time, and how the bear was behaving. (See bear sighting map for May 2015)
2. CT DEEP Bear Report Form.

There is usually no reason to call the Police unless a bear is behaving aggressively (including approaching or following people), which is very rare. Black Bear are normally extremely shy and avoid confrontation. Unlike coyote, black bears are mostly vegetarian and do not hunt for pet dogs and cats. Rather, they are looking for bird seed and garbage. If a bear is in your yard and you want it removed, you can probably do so by standing in your doorway and yelling while banging some pots and pans. People should not worry about being in the woods or going for a hike.  Dogs are at risk if they charge and corner a bear, but bears will usually try to escape before attacking.

PLEASE REMOVE BIRD FEEDERS between March and November. Summer bird seed is a major attractor of bear. Also secure garbage cans, do not leave out food for animals or put certain types of table scraps on compost piles (melons, fruits, bread, corn, etc.). Food sources at houses create "problem bears" that lose their fear of people.

Although most bears are furtive, nocturnal, and rarely seen, an occasional individual may learn it finds better food around houses and then it might get used to being around people. This individual is more likely to cause property damage, disturb residents, and in very rare cases, become aggressive. Bears that show signs of aggression (like approaching humans) will be euthanized by the CT DEEP. It is up to all Shelton residents to prevent this from happening by ensuring there is no food for bears on their property.

Some bears seek out bird feeders, like this one on Wesley Drive.

More bear in our future: In 2015, there was a dramatic escalation of bear sightings in Shelton, including a mother with a cub, which means bear are now breeding locally. Based on the sighting dates, there appear to have been at least four bear in Shelton in mid-May, with a few more just over the border in Stratford. See the May 2015 Bear Sightings Map.

Connecticut's bear population has been expanding out from the Northwest hills. For years, Shelton residents have reported seeing bears on occasion, but these appeared to be young males passing through as they looked for new territory. That a female with a cub has been spotted means they are now breeding here, and the bear population will continue to rise.

Shelton does have good habitat available for bear. These bear should not present any problem for people so long as residents refrain from setting out food for them.

The 2015 "Shelton Bear": Many of the May 2015 sightings were of a single young male that has become habituated to people and is less shy than normal. (There is even a Facebook page for the bear). This bear was spending much time in back yards looking for bird feeders and unsecured garbage, sometimes going up on porches, looking in windows, and in one case apparently taking a nap. This bear received a large gash on its left rear quarters, which is usefull for identification. Although the bear is more tame than what we like to see, it has not exhibited any aggressive behaviors, and has left when people yelled at him. This bear needs to be discouraged from back yards. Remove food sources before bears visit, and try to shoo the bear away while you remain in the safety of your home. Loud noises - horns, pots and pans, etc. may do the trick. People are asked to make sure their bird feeders have been removed, garbage is secured in a building, certain food scraps are not placed on compost piles (fruits, melon, corn, bread), and food is not left outdoors for pets or wild animals.  

Black bear attacks are very rare, but they do happen. If a black bear is approaching or following people, contact the Police, warn others, and leave immediately. If confronted by an aggressive black bear, do not run. Running may incite the bear, and bear can easily outrun people. If you are in a group, do not split up. Most black bear charges are bluffing. Try tossing an article of clothing or a pack on the ground as a distraction. Try to place an object like a tree beween you and the bear. If the worst happens, and a black bear makes physical contact, fight back aggressively by punching. Do not play dead (that's for Grizzlies).  Read more on how to survive a bear attack.

CT DEEP Links about Bears:
Black Bear Fact Sheet
Black Bear Do's and Don'ts
Black Bear Sightings by town