March 20, 2023

CT Considers Instituting Black Bear Hunting Lottery

Why It Matters: Bear hunting is an effective wildlife management practice relied on by states across the nation to regulate populations and minimize human-wildlife conflicts. Connecticut,, which presently does not have a bear hunting season, has seen a significant increase in black bear populations in recent years, leading to increased instances of nuisance animals posing threats to humans, pets, and property. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is supportive of efforts to implement science-based management strategies that manage these populations and lead to increased opportunities for sportsmen and women.


  • Connecticut Senate Bill 1148 (S.B. 1148) would authorize the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to establish a bear hunt lottery season in Litchfield County.
  • Nearby New Jersey recently re-established a black bear hunting season through a truncated season and saw a successful cumulative harvest rate.
  • A public hearing was held on March 10 for S.B. 1148, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted a letter of support emphasizing that regulated hunting is an effective form of predator management that is used across the country to manage wildlife populations.

Over the last several years, black bear hunting in the northeast has been an  ongoing topic that has garnered significant public interest. As bear and human populations continue to grow, instances of conflicts between the two have increased accordingly. Connecticut – a state that currently does not offer black bear hunting – has witnessed numerous conflicts between bears, humans, their pets, and property, which have been widely reported in the media over the past few years.

Senate Bill 1148 (S.B. 1148) would authorize the harvesting of black bears by establishing an annual bear hunt lottery season in Litchfield County, reinstating a powerful and effective tool that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) can utilize for managing the black bear population, and likely reducing human-wildlife conflicts. As the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation stated in its testimony in support of S.B. 1148, by implementing a bear hunting lottery, Connecticut can effectively manage its black bear population while taking in additional revenue generated by sportsmen and women through the unique “user pays – public benefits” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding.

Looking regionally, New Jersey serves as a prime case study into the need for black bear hunting. Faced with a similar situation last year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy – who ran for reelection on the platform of ending bear hunting – chose to reauthorize it through an emergency rulemaking. He acknowledged “From the data we have analyzed to the stories we have heard from families across the state, it is clear that New Jersey’s black bear population is growing significantly, and nonlethal bear management strategies alone are not enough to mitigate this trend.”

At the time of this writing, Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Environment has not yet voted on S.B. 1148. CSF will provide further updates as they are made available.



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