Concerns About Bear Encounters Prompt Push for Feeding Ban in Granby

NBC Connecticut

Some people in Granby are hoping to follow the lead of five other communities in the state to stop people from feeding bears.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection discourages the practice but there is no statewide ban.

When the Bunz family moved into what they thought was their dream home in Granby this winter, they expected some wildlife encounters.

“It was going to be the forever house,” said mother Meg Bunz.

But then this spring bear after bear after bear started showing up.

“Multiple bears, multiple times a day, almost every day of the week,” said son Thomas Bunz.

The situation became so concerning they now yell when they go outside to scare off possible bears and bring a horn and bear spray.

NBC Connecticut

The kids avoid playing out here.

“I never know if there’s going to be any bears over there or over here,” said daughter Evelyn Bunz. “That’s just really scary.”

Scary for the family and dangerous for passing cars nearby on Mountain Road.

In recent years DEEP says drivers have struck several bears in this area, including one just last week.

“He was terrified. He came up, hit the bear and all the airbags deployed. The car was wrecked,” said father Thomas Bunz.

Over the past couple of days our camera captured several bears nearby.

And the Bunz family believes part of the reason for the steady stream of visitors is other people in the area purposefully feeding them.

“If someone didn’t do something something was never going to get done,” said Elizabeth Hardersen of Granby.

Hardersen helped to start a petition which calls for a new ordinance in town.

So far more than 700 people have signed on to stop intentional or unintentional feeding of bears.

“They are the town mascot. They’re very precious to us in a lot of ways. But there is a problem and we are part of the problem and we have to take some ownership and do something about it,” said Hardersen.

Community members are planning to head to a Board of Selectmen meeting next month to push the issue.

While there have been some concerns raised about the proposed ordinance, the first selectman tells me he’s open to doing something to stop people from purposefully feeding bears.

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