A Connecticut man learned the hard way Wednesday that it’s illegal in Connecticut to shoot a black bear that wanders into your yard.
John G. Rocha, 82, of Windsor, was arrested by Environmental Conservation officers at his home when they were alerted by Windsor Police that a bear had allegedly been shot and killed on Rocha's property.
The bear, which weighed about 250 pounds and was between 5 and 6 years old, was allegedly shot by Rocha with a .30 caliber rifle after "apparently causing damage to Mr. Rocha's bird feeder" in a tree, officials with the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Wednesday.
The bear was accompanied by a younger bear, described by DEEP officials as a 1-year-old weighing approximately 110 pounds, which was unharmed. The younger bear was tranquilized and relocated to a wooded area of the state by DEEP officials.
Rocha was charged by EnCon with negligent hunting, in addition to the charge of illegally killing a black bear.
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said Wednesday that under state law it is illegal to shoot black bears, which is a protected species in Connecticut, unless it is acting in a threatening manner or poses a harm. He said residents who see bears in their yards or near their homes should call their local police.
According to DEEP, Rocha was "released on a promise to appear in Enfield Superior Court on January 17."
According to the DEEP, there have been 2 documented bear sightings in East Haddam and 6 in Haddam. Have you ever seen a bear in the area?