Man with Gun Shoots at Bear Out for a Morning Stroll

From petechar, Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re prone to wandering West Hartford’s reservoirs, beware…there are loons with guns shooting at bears.

OK, so that’s not how the media is reporting the incident in question, but it is how we here at the CuT — known for nothing more than being trailblazers — are framing the discussion. Here’s how NBCConnecticut is reporting it:

A man was walking his dogs just before 7 a.m. on Monday when the schnauzer, which was not on a leash, provoked the bear and the animals began to fight, officials said.

The man shot at the bear and it ran off into the woods. Paul Rego, of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said there were reports of eight gunshots.

There’s a lot to be learned from this little news story, not the least of which is to keep your goddamn dogs on a leash in places where it clearly say they must be leashed — and even in places where they don’t have to be if you aren’t 100% sure the little bastard isn’t going to chase things like bear and deer. I know, it’s a lot to ask for you to train your dog to walk politely on a leash, but c’mon… if it’s between that and fighting with a bear I’m gonna fork over some money for an obedience class.

But then there’s the issue of people roaming your hiking trails with guns at the ready. I mean, we’re talking about West Hartford, here, not Winsted. It’s not like there are vast forests with hunters on the prowl. As you might imagine, it would seem that the man in question broke quite a few of  the MDC’s rules:

  • Pets – Pets must be controlled AND on a leash. Maximum leash length: 7 feet. Dogs must be picked up afterin order to help protect the water supply and visitors.
  • Carrying or discharging firearms or dangerous weapons [is strictly prohibited] 
This is not a state forest, folks. It’s not a public park. The MDC is nice enough to let us use it, and the least we can do is follow the rules.
I mean, I get it, it’s easy to panic when you’re surprised by a bear. Hell, chipmunks are constantly startling me and sending my dog into a frenzy — which is why I keep her on a long leash when we’re out in the woods. Had the dog been on a leash and not able to run up to the bear, the ursine forest dweller probably would have just lumbered away at the sight of a barking dog. Instead, the poor dog is in need of veterinary care, and the bear may or may not be wounded — depending on how bad of a shot this guy was.