PHOTO: Bear spotted near home in Shelton on Thursday

APRIL 30, 3:30 P.M.:  This photo shows a bear that was seen on Thursday morning near a home on Wesley Drive in Shelton. (All these images are from the same submitted photo, taken April 30 in Shelton.)

The bear was seen in a back yard, close to a house. The homes on Wesley Drive abut wooded areas in the rear.

Wesley Drive is part of a series of roads off Buddington Road, not too far from Huntington Street.

There are other reports a bear — most likely the same one — was spotted on Mill Street near Bridgeport Avenue, which is not that far away from Wesley Drive but closer to more heavily developed areas.

An additional report said a bear was seen near Long Hill Cross Road, off Bridgeport Avenue, which also is in the same general vicinity. This location would put the bear close to the Route 8 highway.

Teresa Gallagher, the city’s conservation agent, said bears have been seen before in Shelton.

“There are a lot of bears in Connecticut,” Gallagher said. “The bear population is growing in the state. Most of them are farther upstate, but I think in the future we will have more coming down this way.

“We’re going to have to get used to it,” she said.

Don’t become a food source

Gallagher said people shouldn’t be scared there has been a bear sighting in town, but should take logical steps to avoid becoming a food source for bears.

“Put away the bird feeders for the summer,” she said. “Secure the garbage kept outdoors, watch the pet food, and be careful with items in a compost pile that might attract bears, such as melon rinds.”
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She stressed that following these steps “will be much more important as the bear population climbs.”

Move around in the spring

Young male bears — as well as other wild animals, such as moose — often wander a lot in the spring, according to Gallagher.

“They tend to go far as they seek out their own territory,” she said. “They tend to go and disperse.”
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Gallagher also said a bear spotted in Shelton one morning may be in another neighborhood or town by the afternoon or the next day.

“A bear can go a long way in a short time,” she said. “This one may just be passing through.”

‘They are spreading around’

Bill Dyer, a longtime Shelton Conservation Commission member and active outdoorsman, said he’s never heard of a bear sighting in Shelton during his two decades or so on the commission.

“One was reported in Darien the other day, too, so they are spreading around,” said Dyer, who chairs the Shelton Trails Commission.

About the location

Wesley Drive is a dead-end road in the area between Buddington Road, Huntington Street (Route 108) and Shelton Avenue (also Route 108), which includes a lot of city-owned open space.

The Shelton Lakes Rec Path crosses Wesley Drive in two locations.
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It is accessed from Great Oak Road, which intersects with Buddington Road, and then Cathy Drive. Other roads in the immediate facility include Sycamore Drive, Scotch Pine Drive, Balsam Circle, Fraser Place and Serene Drive. Some parts of this area still are being developed.

Wesley Drive also is close to the rear of the Aspetuck Village condominium complex.