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Connecticut Animal Law

Feeding Black Bears on Private Property

A legislative research report from November 2018 showed New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have state rules prohibiting feeding black bears on private property. There is no state law prohibiting the feeding of wildlife, but several towns in Connecticut such as Simsbury have enacted municipal ordinances adopted an ordinance prohibiting the intentional feeding of wildlife. 

Penalty for Black Bear Hunting

UConn and Black Bears

Connecticut Bear Population

Connecticut has an increasing bear population even in heavily populated areas.  Black bears are present throughout much of the state of Connecticut, with reports of bear sighting from approximately 140 of the state's 169 towns.  Over 6,000 sighting were reported in 2016, up-to-date tallies can be found here. The black bear population in Connecticut has continued to grow and expand.   The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection provides information on black bears and monitors reports of black bear activity in Connecticut. 

Bear in Grass

Bear Resources

Bear Hunting Laws in Connecticut

It is currently illegal to hunt or trap bears in Connecticut (Conn. Agencies Regs. § 26-66- 3(f)). However, a person may kill a bear in self-defense if he or she reasonably believes it is going to kill or seriously injure anyone. DEEP would investigate the circumstances to determine if the killing was justified. Additionally, state law allows (1) farmers or farm workers to pursue, trap, and kill a bear that damages property on land used for agriculture (CGS § 26-72) and (2) the DEEP commissioner to kill a bear if there is a public health or safety threat (CGS § 26-3).   

Allowing hunting of black bears in certain areas of the state has become an annual debate at the state Capitol. To check on the status of both pending and future legislation concerning bear law in Connecticut, sign up for bill tracking through the Connecticut General Assembly Website. 

Connecticut Votes for Animals also compiles a list of bill pertaining to animals for each Legislative Session. 


Nuisance Wildlife provides additional help and advice concerning nuisance wildlife in Connecticut.  Supported by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Northeast Wildlife Damage Management Cooperative, can provide guidance on a variety of nuisance wildlife in various states. 

Office of Legislative Research Reports