What started as a normal family dog walk for one family in Connecticut ended in a startling discovery: a large black bear, snuggled in a bed of leaves and sleeping under the deck to their home.
“We could not believe it,” Tyler Dashukewich, who took the video of the bear before posting it on Tik Tok, said. Her video has now gone viral as people marvel over a bear in such close proximity to humans.
Uncertain of what to do, the family did reach out to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The agency advised them that “it was likely a male black bear that can be left alone until hibernation is over.” They were advised to use an air horn or brought lights to scare the bear away if they were afraid, or DEEP would send an agent out to remove the bear.
According to DEEP, Connecticut has an population of 1,000-1,200 black bears, with encounters between bears and humans on the rise. Black bear are notoriously intelligent and opportunistic foragers that can cover a wide range in travel. For that reason, DEEP recommends residents take precautions to avoid attracting bear to their homes.
Among the preventative methods listed, residents are advised to remove bird feeders through the winter, secure all garbage cans and keep them in garages or enclosures until the day of trash collection, regularly clean outdoor grills, secure pet and livestock food overnight and to never place meat or sweet fruit scraps in compost bins.
DEEP advises strongly against approaching a black bear if you encounter one near your home. If the bear approaches you, wave your arms, shout and slowly back away to a safe area indoors.
The agency requests that all black bear sightings be reported to DEEP’s wildlife division or emailed to [email protected]. The agency tracks bear population and migration to ensure the safety of humans and wildlife.
While black bear rarely attack, in October of 2022, a 10-year old boy was mauled while playing in his grandparent’s back yard in Morris, CT. He is expected to make a full recovery, however, The bear was killed for rabies testing and to prevent future attacks. While the bear was negative for rabies, autopsy showed garbage in his stomach.
As for Vincent Dashukewich, Tyler’s brother, he remains cautiously unconcerned, giving the bear the nickname “Marty.”
“He’s been super chill, I’ve gone out to check on him a few times and he hasn’t really moved,” Vincent said, “He’s looked at me a few times but he’s pretty calm right now.”