Bear B-1 Takes A Dip In The Pool [Video]

Then she tries out the hammock, and tries to eat some swim floaties. They apparently weren't to her liking. It's kind of cute. And, also, scary ... if you have little kids who want to swim in that pool too.


In mid-July Michele Kuck and her family had a party in their backyard in North Madison. It's a perfect backyard for a party; it's spacious, with a deck, and a pool. There's a hammock nearby. It's an oasis of civilized fun surrounded by a shady, forested area. At this party were the invited guests including about 20 people and two big dogs. Music was playing.

And then there was an univited guest. Bear B-1 came right up the fence. She checked it out, then slowly sauntered away.

After the other guests left, she came back. It appears as though she tried out the hammock. She chewed on a few swim floaties. She broke some toys. She trashed the umbrella (anti-shade?). And then she took a dip in the pool, trashing the pool liner in the process.

And then she came back, when the kids were in the yard

She liked it so much she's been back. Her latest visit to the Kuck household, on Suffolk Drive off of County Road, was Friday around 4 p.m. Check out the video of Bear B-1 in the pool. It's kind of cute. And a little bit funny. Until you watch the second part of the video, submitted by North Madison resident Darren Kramer earlier this month. Check out the size of the paws and how used to human voices this bear is getting. Then think about the fact that Michele has kids who want to swim in that pool, too.

On Friday Michele was in the yard. Bear B-1 was so quiet, Michele didn't even know the bear was there until her kids yelled at her that the bear was back.

"At the advice of [state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Wildlife Biologist] Paul Rego we bought an air horn and I had it with me so that scared [her] off" when she came back into the backyard, Michele said. "However, coming home to damage like this (15 gashes in pool liner) is unacceptable. I don't let my kids out now unless I'm out there with air horn and the music is on. I don't feel safe otherwise. They say these bears aren't aggressive but the way [s]he is tearing up our yard I'm not too convinced. ... B-1 is cub. What's the damage going to be to my fence when it's full grown?"

Worried about kids going to and from bus stop

Michele says she's so worried she won't let her kids out in the yard alone.

"I'm very concerned about my kids walking to/from bus stop; so much so that I am signing them up for [the town's] after school [program for school children]," she said. "And, by the way, our garbage is locked up in our shed and we have no bird feeders or anything else that would draw the attention of a bear."

So now what?

Have happily coexisted for eight years, but now don't feel safe

"We have lived here for 8 years and have seen lots of wildlife and have happily coexisted with them. However, the situation has been elevated since it is now destroying our property and we don't feel safe in our own yard!" Michele said.

Is Michele supposed to lock her pool in the shed? Is Bear B-1 getting so habituated to humans that she is potentially a threat to children or pets? Right now, state DEEP officials think she (they are pretty sure it's a girl bear) is a yearling, meaning she is not yet breeding. What about when she's older, and, having met the right guy bear, starts having babies?

We'll check back with Rego next week to see if he has anything to add to

Madison Animal Control Officer tells Kuck family she is tracking B-1

Michele also sent us a picture of Bear B-1 picking berries on Dorset Lane, from August 8 that she got from Madison Animal Control Officer Fran Fellows. Fellows told Michele that she is tracking B-1.

And, .

An air horn sounds like it might be a good thing to purchase.

They can be purchased from West Marine at 1667 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, CT, 860-395-5431 and WalMart at 900 Boston Post Road  Guilford, CT, 203-458-1252. Call first to make sure they have them in stock.

Cathy Marsh August 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM
This situation would be freaking me out. Especially having kids out at 6:30 am! I hope it does not get into your garage. Might motion detector spotlights help at all?
Vince Principato August 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
DEP needs to trap and relo this animal. Plain and simple. Why are we paying them to deliver AirHorns??? Out west bear traps and shotguns would be the norm. Instead people are complaining that B1 might drown. A man was eaten by a bear this weekend. Wake up tree hungers. NOT cute.
AM Blomberg August 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM
It’s getting to the point that this Bear should be removed for being a nuisance. She is getting way too comfortable being in yards, on decks, and even starting to test the boundaries with people.
khd August 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I agree with am, these bears have there own habitat, there should be enough food for them to survive on. The state should step in and relocate her where she will be safe in her own natural setting.
Vince Principato August 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM
So the question is how can the tax paying citizenry demand that a humane relocation of this animal occur before an increasingly escalating dangerous and harmful incident occurs. In most of these cases the bears lose their lives unnecessarily. Worst of all our children are being put at risk for none other than what apperas to be a budget issue at the DEP. Mr. First Selectman, your help would be appreciated.
Paula August 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Yes that will work....what about all the others???/ should we relocate them too????I understand the concern. We all have pets and children;but! we will have to learn to deal with them just like other states do.
Paula August 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
We have coyotes as well. Just as dangerous. Should we relocate them too????
Jay Berardino August 26, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The equipment costs to relocate this bear could cost as much as $15,000. Typical equipment for live relocation might include three culvert live traps and several Aldrich foot-snares. A culvert-type live trap about $6,000 and is a major start-up cost of this technique. The question of where to relocate the animal then arises. Their range can extend over an area larger than Connecticut. New Jersey has opened a new bear hunting season. Naturally a license is required to hunt bears. A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found that 53% of New Jersey voters approved of the new bear hunting season if scientists concluded black bears were leaving their usual habitats and destroying private property. New Jersey is making money rather than spending money while dealing with their bear problem.
Nicola August 26, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It is my understanding that NJ has been dealing with bears for a number of years. The bear population has exploded to a point that they put in bear hunting season to deplete the population Residents were also informed to get the horns take down all bird feeders. I do think relocation is what we should seriously consider for one bear. The safety of children is more important than the dollars and scents of relocation
CJ August 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
In response to Paula's comments, the coyotes are not doing property damage and are afraid of humans. This particular bear has shown it is not afraid of humans, evident by Mr. Kramer's video of the bear eating his bird feeder, and seems to be exhibiting destructive behavior. So should we wait until someone is hurt or worse?
Paula August 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I consider a coyote shredding my pets damage. I consider deer eating my gardens damage. Go ahead and relocate this one. What about the next one????. I hear Swamp Griswold is not being used. Why not relocate to the swamp and make a bear park????WE are in thecountry. I would rather have a bear iin my yard than a pack of coyotes or a sick racoon. Perhaps a keep out sign would work as well as relocating Get used to it
Anita Bath August 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Black bears are not dangerous to humans
Paula August 26, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Thanks Anita!!!! Finally someone with common sense
Ellen August 26, 2012 at 07:06 PM
This IS her own natural setting.
Ellen August 26, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Yes! Let's get the government involved because, as we see from this video, the sky is falling! An air horn is sufficient to scare away a bear. Better yet, bang two pot tops together! This is a method that never fails... and it will cost the taxpayer NOTHING! The idea of hunting these animals in Madison is nothing less than absurd.
Local August 26, 2012 at 10:06 PM
The point is not to have wildlife removed from Madison. The point is that the SAME bear is surfacing everywhere and causing damage and is not fearful of humans. Can you identify one SAME coyote that damaged so many pets or one SAME deer that ravages so many gardens? It was not suggested that all bears should be taken out of Madison, just B-1. Anita is (mostly) right. Most black bears are not dangerous to humans however, most black bears don't repeatedly go to the same houses and most black bears are scared off when a human shoos it away. Let's hope B-1 knows that she is not a danger to children or pets.
Anita Bath August 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM
B1 is very smart. She is returning to the same houses because the homeowners are still leaving food outside even after she has visited. You all voted for swamp Griswold to preserve wildlife...this is one of the outcomes...Ballfields with bears!
Paula August 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM
I had a dog go after my dogs and break into my house. that same dog is back again. I am afraid to let my dogs out. This dog is huge. What is the difference????? Can we relocate this dog at the same time?????When is the last time you saw a coyote or deer with a tag on its ear?????We are in the country. What do you expect?. Children should not be unsupervised anyway. If a four legged predator doesn't get them, a two legged one will. Who says that most black bears don't go to the same houses???? I just talked to someone who lives in Vermont. They keep comiing back. Get used to it
Vince Principato August 27, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Not sure about the cost of the relo technology nor how you determine when children's safety is too expensive. Also not sure how you can equate a thirty pound coyote with a 250 lb bear. And most of us are used to and enjoy wildlife. But when a bear gets over acclamated to humans and equates them with dinner trouble follows. B1 needs to go.
Paula August 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM
You act like these people went up and tried to pet the bear. No one to my knowledge got up close. The bear was not aggressive. Coyotes are.I think you are gettiing over dramatic. I have children and grandchildren. Again, I don't take my eyes off of them. It is ridiculous to think if you relocate it, it won't come back.I wouldn't want the bear in my pool. I understand that. But it needs to be scared away.I bet some do gooder, perhaps yourself, will come along and kiil it. Untilthenext one comes along. Maybe you should move. Inside a large bubble
Paula August 27, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Children's safety in my opinion wouldl be jepardized even more by the people who are ignorant enough to think this will work. The kids and parents will let their guard down only to have another one show up..Then what??????
Pem McNerney (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Comments that characterize other people or comments as "stupid" or "ignorant" will be deleted. Comments that have been deleted are welcome back if that kind of language can be omitted. Try to keep it civil. Thanks.
Paula August 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Bottom line. There have been numerous pictures of bears on Dorset and Devonshire for the last few years. No tags on these bears. The bear is not doing anything more than any other bear would do.Playing with toys? a hammock???? yes the pool was clawed, but that could happen with a racoon.People need to get a grip, stop being so dramatic and learn to live with them. they are here to stay, just like the deer and coyotes.
EJT August 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Each year I am a little disappointed that we dont get to see the bear in our yard off of Dorset. I am an avid hunter, but also have a deep respect for the animals so my veiw could go either way. In Vermont we get bears every year and a few that return year after year. We have learned to live with it in VT, but are cautious in the spring and summer when we know they are on the move. As for our friend B1 in Madison. This bear has travel the state and for some reason decided to stay in Madison for a while. It could be for any number of reasons, but with its continued visits to homes and temper that allows it to become so comfortable with humans I unfortunately think that this beautiful animal should be moved. We should NOT move every bear that is spotted, but ones that continue to visit homes and become that comfortable with humans we should consider moving. Who knows she might like Madison enough to travel back....there are bears that have been recorded travleing up to 700 miles! We DO live in the country and need to learn to live with the wildlife. I also do NOT support bear hunting in CT as we do not have a population that would sustain that at this time. B1 is a beautiful animal.
Matt August 28, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I think people should be more careful with their trash cans and bird feeders before relocation is attempted. If people stop involuntarily feeding her, she'll go elsewhere for food. Bird feeders and trash cans are like a snack for them. Would you leave dog treats lying out on the table, then act surprised the dog went for them? Would you leave cookies out and be surprised a small child ate them? Of course not. When you hide the treats and cookies, does the dog or kid start eating people? Again of course not. They go about their daily life without the sweet treat. As for endangering small pets and children... two things. First, she has never exhibited behavior that would elude to any such possibility. I doubt she would find people very tasty anyway. Second, no small child or pet should ever be remotely in a situation where she has an opportunity to even think about it let alone try. No parent in Madison would do that, we don't let our toddlers roam the treeline or leave them unattended in the yard. At least I should hope not. There are coyotes and birds of prey that are far more dangerous than Betsy The Bear. Worrying about B1 making off with your child or poodle is an understandable concern for a parent, but misguided. If she becomes aggressive towards people, or becomes destructive beyond haphazard birdfeeders and pool toys, then absolutely something will have to be done. But until then, it's just an animal in the woods doing what they do. Enjoy it.
Paula August 28, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Wow!!!!! two sensible answers in a row We are on a roll.I 100% agree.
Anita Bath August 28, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Easy Paula...if your values and opinions are too strong, Pem will kick you off. She already warned you once. :-)
Paula August 28, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I noticed.. What happened to freedom of speech?????
Karen Carey August 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Bear B-1 is not a cub. Yellow tags are from the year 2008. That makes this bear at the very least 4 years old. Check with the dep web site. About 150 bears were tag in 2008. B-1 tells the dep the bears history. The dep will make the decision whether or not this bear lives or dies. If they think they can't convince this bear to stay away then they will put it down. BUT, everyone need to do their part. Get your trash cans in, empty your bird feeders, don't leave food around. That's what they are after!


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