Animal Control: Black Bear Seen Sunday in Irwin Park Has Moved On [VIDEO]


A bear seen Sunday in Irwin Park (see video above, courtesy of Kevin Sheridan) was traveling through town and doesn’t live here permanently, according to the head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section.

The black bear “has moved back to New York,” according to Animal Control Officer Sean Godejohn.

“I received reports of the bear heading in that direction from three different residents,” Godejohn told in an email when asked about the animal. “None of the bears we have in New Canaan live here. To the best of my knowledge bears come into New Canaan just to pass through from New York and Wilton.”

Even so, the sighting is a good reminder to New Canaanites that there are bears in town, Godejohn said.

“The bears in New Canaan keep to themselves,” he said. “If you see a bear do not approach or feed the bears. If a bear approaches you don’t run, instead make yourself look big by waving your arms and slowly back away towards a safe structure like a house or a car.”

New Canaan has seen an increasing number of black bears in recent years, officials say, including an adult and her four cubs spotted on lower Valley Road in June.

Effective deterrents to bears include walking a dog, as bears typically are scared of canines, Godejohn said.

“Even Chihuahuas barking have been known to scare black bears,” he said. “When jogging or hiking trails wear bells or a noise maker that will alert the bear that you’re in the area so that you don’t sneak up on one. You can even place bells on your dog’s collar or harness. At your home, don’t leave food unattended outside and place your trash cans in your garage or shed. Bears are also attracted to bird feeders.”

Deer carcass found Aug. 6, 2023 in Irwin Park. Credit: Gretchen Fedeli

A deer carcass found mauled in Irwin Park the prior Sunday likely was not killed by a bear, Godejohn said.

“I believe that a bobcat, car, coyote or any combination of the three killed the deer,” he said.

Black bears typically breed in late June or early July, according to the state. During that time, males travel extensively in search of females. In New Canaan, bear sightings are reported to police all throughout town.

If you see a bear call New Canaan Animal Control at 203-594-3510 or the New Canaan Police Department main line at 203-594-3500.   

One thought on “Animal Control: Black Bear Seen Sunday in Irwin Park Has Moved On [VIDEO]

  1. 2 years ago the Mothers Helper( pushing a pram!) and I came with in 10 feet of a Black bear in the driveway in New Canaan that is an easement to our property. It was in the morning . I told the mothers helper to slowly back off, as did I. The bear stood up but eventually ran away. I had also come with in 5 feet of a bear and her 2 cubs while hiking in Mt Raineer. They must have been 2 year cubs as the mother was not too protective. However the trio did move parallel to me for about 10 mins as I went down the mountain. I now have a “Bear Whistle” on my backpack!

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