Black bear sightings seem to be on the rise in our area.

More and more bears are being forced out of their natural habitat by construction, and they have no place else to go but your backyard. Plus, Spring means nicer weather, flowers and trees blooming, but it also means black bears are coming out of hibernation, and they're hungry.

You've seen the videos on Facebook -- black bears wandering around our local towns, at times having very close encounters with people and or their pets. They seem cute scavenging through your trash for something to eat or just investigating. However, a black bear encounter could prove deadly.

Now, thanks to the folks at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, we know where in the local area you'll have the best odds of running into one of these creatures.

These are the towns in the area that have reported Black Bear sightings over the last 12 months through March 6, 2017, according to DEEP:

  • New Milford     217
  • Roxbury            79
  • Kent                  61
  • Brookfield          61
  • Washington       60
  • Redding             60
  • Sherman            59
  • New Fairfield      56
  • Danbury             47
  • Warren               30
  • Bethel                16
  • Ridgefield           8

Top spots in Connecticut for sightings were Avon, with 540, and Farmington, with 470.

So what do you do if you see a Black Bear? Once again, the folks at DEEP have come up a list of things you need to do to stay safe:

If you see a Bear:

  • Observe it from a distance, do not attempt to approach it.
  • Never sneak up on a Bear. Let it know your there by shouting and waving your arms, then walk away slowly
  • Never attempt to feed, or leave food out to attract them.
  • Report sighting as soon as you can to the departments Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011

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