Krasowski jumped up and grabbed a flash light, which had been handy since they had lost power earlier that night during an intense thunderstorm. Figuring it was just a few racoons trying to score some scraps from the garbage can, he popped on his sneakers and went outside to scare them away.
Krasowski didn't see any racoons. And he ended up being the one scared.
As he was putting the lid back on the garbage can he looked up and saw a black bear, sitting above him in a tree, looking down at him.
Krasowski said he slowly made his way back to the house, and the bear made its way down and walked away. He awoke his wife, Amy, to tell her of his close encounter, and called Newtown police to report the bear.
Police responded to his home, in the Shady Rest neighborhood of Sandy Hook, and told him that the best thing to do is to make a lot of noise to scare the bear away. Police also encouraged the Krasowskis to report the sighting to the DEEP's Wildlife Division (860-675-8130).
Black bear sightings are increasingly popular in Connecticut, as their population has increased rapidly over the past 30 years. One was actually spotted in Shady Rest in July of 2012.
In a Fact Sheet on its website, the DEEP provides the following tips to deal with black bears near your home:
In wilderness settings bears usually avoid people. But food attractants near homes can cause them to grow habituated to humans and disturbances, such as dogs and other noises. Bears are attracted by bird feeders, garbage, outdoor pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and berry-producing shrubs.
To avoid attracting bears:
- Remove bird feeders from late March through November. If a bear visits a bird feeder in winter, remove the feeder.
- Wait until the morning of collection before bringing out trash. Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed.
- Do not leave pet food outside overnight. Store livestock food in airtight containers.
- Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell and discourage bears.
- Thoroughly clean grills after use or store in a garage or shed.
- Never intentionally feed bears. Bears that associate food with people may become aggressive and dangerous. This may lead to personal injury, property damage, and the need to destroy problem animals.
- Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.
If you see a bear on your property you can either leave the bear alone and wait for it to leave or make loud noises from a safe distance to attempt to scare the bear away. After the bear leaves the property, remove anything that may have attracted it to the area.
[Editor's note: The author of this article is related to the Krasowskis.]