Update 9:15 a.m.
The black bear climbed a tree on Oenoke Ridge Road, closing the road for a time between Lukes Wood and Turtle Back Roads starting at about 9:15 a.m., officials said. He or she started coming down around 9:25 a.m.
New Canaan Police received reports the first black bear sightings in town of 2018 on Wednesday morning, as eyewitnesses on Hickok Road described seeing the animal around 7:20 a.m., according to local authorities.
Two more sightings followed, including at the Country Club of New Canaan golf course off of Smith Ridge Road, meaning the bear is moving east-west, said Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section.
Halm said she originally had been concerned that New Canaan had a mother bear with young ones, since a resident had reported last month what could have been a pair of cubs, but that the bear seen May 2 was on its own.
“So I feel better about that,” she said.
Those encountering a black bear—or mountain lion, for that matter—should back away slowly, facing the animal, making themselves “loud and large,” Halm said.
“You never want to surprise them,” she said.
New Canaan has seen black bears roving through town in all seasons in recent years, though spring generally sees more sightings reported.
Last August, black bear sightings reported on opposite sides of New Canaan led officials to surmise that the town had two different bears here at once—yet another sign that the species increasingly is making its home here and in surrounding towns.
One year ago, an Indian Rock Road man took a video of a bear just outside his home—the third sighting in two weeks at the time. Residents of eastern New Canaan had reported seeing a black bear in the areas of Evergreen Road and also Mariomi Road.
The animals are increasing in numbers and have been seen more frequently in Connecticut, according the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Natural Resources Wildlife Division.
“They are rarely aggressive toward humans but can create a variety of problems,” the agency said. “In particular, bears that are fed by humans can become habituated and may need to be euthanized. Connecticut residents must learn how to reduce the likelihood of bears becoming a problem. Birdfeeders, garbage, pet food and compost attract bears close to houses and people, and should be made unavailable to bears.”
The omnivorous mammal had been spotted on Weed Street in October 2014 and then made headlines in New Canaan in April 2015, when a (rescue) dog alerted his family to a black bear that had entered the rear porch of a residence. After a black bear was spotted in June 2015 on Thayer Pond Road, officials urged New Canaanites to ensure their garbage cans were secured, and town officials issued a list of do’s and don’ts. Another sighting occurred in Hoyt Farms in September 2015.