Off-Duty Police Officer Uses AR-15 to Stop Bear in Connecticut

Black Bear iStock-482557323
Off-Duty Police Officer Uses AR-15 to Stop Bear in Connecticut IMG, iStock-482557323.

On Thursday, May 12, off-duty police Sgt. Lawrence Clarke, 55 years old, had his property damaged, livestock killed, and his grandson threatened by an aggressive black bear that had become habituated to people. When the bear proved to be resistant and unafraid of people, he was forced to shoot the bear to protect lives and property.

AmmoLand has obtained a copy of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report of the investigation of the incident.

On Friday, May 6, 2022, the Newtown police department received multiple nuisance wildlife concerning a black bear matching the description of a known problem bear. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) was called for assistance. The bear was said to be easily identifiable because of ear tags.

On Tuesday, May 10th, at about 0830, Clarke, a Sgt. in the Ridgefield Police Department, noticed one of his chickens on his back deck. He went to the front of the house and saw his chicken coop had been tipped over. He found he was missing three chickens. Within an hour, he saw a large black bear near the coop. He yelled and ran at the bear to chase it off. For the next four hours, the bear circled the south side of his property.  While Clarke was repairing his chicken coop, the bear appeared about 15 feet away. Clarke retrieved a starter pistol and fired twice to scare off the bear. The bear was not deterred until he began yelling and walking toward it.

Clarke had his wife call DEEP and report the incident and that the bear had killed three of his chickens. DEEP told them to purchase an electric fence for the chicken coop. Clarke purchased a solar-powered electric fence that day for $300.

The solar fence instructions are that it takes three days to charge. Clarke did not set up the fence.

On Thursday, May 12, at about 0900, Clarke’s son and three-year-old grandson were in the front yard. Clarke’s son noticed the bear about 30 feet away. The bear and his grandson were staring at each other. The son ran, yelling at the bear, to the grandson and grabbed the grandson. The bear stomped the ground, and the son ran inside with the grandson. Clarke went outside and yelled at the bear. The bear ran into the woods. The bear kept returning to the chicken coop and pawing at it for the next hour. Clarke kept going outside and yelling at the bear, causing it to run into the woods.

The bear returned and was on its hind feet, attempting to pull over the chicken coop. Clark went outside with his Colt Match Target AR-15 type rifle.

He walked toward the bear while yelling. The bear slowly walked away. The bear was about 20 feet away and huffing and pounding the ground with its feet. It was on all fours and about 15 feet from the chicken coop. Clarke yelled at the bear again, and it took one step toward Clarke, and Clarke shot it in the head.

The bear fell to the ground and started convulsing. Clarke stepped up to the bear and fired six more shots to put it down and stop its suffering.

Because of the angle of the shots, Clarke had a good backstop of the earth and dense woods behind the bear. The nearest houses were over a hundred yards away, on the other side of the woods.

Clarke was 55 when he was forced to deal with the problem bear. The bear had been creating problems for several years. It was a large sow black bear weighing 208 lbs. Some people in the area had labeled the problem bear “Bobbi.”   From

By 2019, Bobbi “showed little to no fear of humans,” the report said. That was also the first time Bobbi was seen with cubs.

Between 2017 and 2021, there were 191 reported sightings of Bobbi, mostly in the Southbury, Redding and Newtown areas. The majority of the sightings involved Bobbi damaging bird feeders and chicken coops and killing numerous chickens, according to a report from DEEP.

The Ridgeway police put Sgt. Clarke on paid leave while the incident was investigated by DEEP.  An investigation was conducted by the Ridgeway department as well as the DEEP.

Sgt. Clarke was cleared of any wrongdoing. A provision of the CT Fish and Game code allows for killing fur-bearing animals that are injuring any property. Bears are officially classified as fur-bearers. From Connecticut Fish and Game code:

No provision of this section shall be construed as prohibiting any landowner or lessee of land used for agricultural purposes or any citizen of the United States, or any person having on file in the court having jurisdiction thereof a written declaration of such person’s intention to become a citizen of the United States, who is regularly employed by such landowner or lessee, from pursuing, trapping and killing at any time any fur-bearing animal, except deer, which is injuring any property,

The law appears to be clear. Bears are legally fur-bearers in Connecticut. A bear that is causing damage may be pursued, trapped, and killed if it is causing damage on land used for agricultural purposes.

This correspondent is not a lawyer; however, I have spent time serving as a game warden in two states. Nearly all states allow farmers to kill animals that are doing agricultural damage. There is some exception for endangered species.  Black bears are not endangered. Their numbers are growing. The laws vary from state to state. A Connecticut attorney, described as an animal rights advocate, claims there is no provision in Connecticut law to allow killing a bear to protect property or people. From

Per Throckmorton’s interpretation, state laws make it illegal to “take” a bear in Connecticut, with no statutory exception for protecting yourself, livestock, or poultry against a bear.

The DEEP investigator had a different interpretation.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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How far we have gone down towards the septic tank of history. An “investigation” into shooting a bear? Really? This clearly is the generation of idiots who’ve grown up watching purple cartoon bears wipe their butts with Charmin – or drink Coca Cola with their buddies the Penguins…arghhh


Remember; According to the WANNABE “gun” CONTROLLERS, an inanimate object(GUN) IS VIOLENT. IT IS a SHAME that COMMON SENSE has all but DISAPPEARED among the CONTROLLERS!


The 3 S law. Shoot, shovel, shutup!

Matt in Oklahoma

He was a lot more patient than I’d be. First time that bear woulda been shot. I don’t need government to tell me what to do and how to handle it nor that I need to spend even more money to buy deterrents.
I was raised that part of agriculture is following the 3 Ss. Shoot Shovel and Shut Up
Do whats needed and nothing more and nothing less

Handy N Handsome

Without hunting and trapping pressure to keep predators in check, this scenario will be played out more and more in the future.


I hope the lawyer that doesn’t believe you should be allowed to shoot a bear. Gets his chance to introduce himself to a 500 lb bear.A bear gotta eat. lol

Last edited 16 days ago by Arny

You read that also.

Matt in Oklahoma

I’m also sure there is some screeching somewhere about the use of 556/223 because blahblahblah from some fudd

Alan in NH

Just goes to show that there’s not much you can’t do with a 5.56 in the head.


Good thing he didn’t use a 9mm, it would have blown the lungs right out of that bear.


And probably 3 or 4 people behind it. I know how deadly the vaunted 9mm is thanks to our leader, the Usurper Bidet.

As my brother used to point out, a 9mm wont even kill an old pope.


C’mon man couldn’t he just have shot that bear in the leg after firing off a couple of shotgun blasts?


208 lbs? Just a cub and already habituated. I hope that whoever was feeding Bobbie is happy that they caused a bear to be killed. I used to have encounters with bears quiet often at my NE Georgia home, but after the unrelated death of one of my neighbors, bear sightings have become rare. Yeah, he would leave food out to feed the wildlife. The rule is simple: If you feed a bear, you’ve sentenced him to death. If it becomes necessary, I am always prepared to carry out that sentence. Always!


I hope that his assault weapon of war was registered. Magazine, too.


Where the hell is your “sarc” button.


Yes, me too. We all know that registered weapons cannot be misused


And of course whether misused or not – they will be confiscated.


“….starter pistol and fired twice to scare off the bear. The bear was not deterred until he began yelling and walking toward it.”

Good move, bring a starter pistol to a habituated bear encounter. Lunch looking for an diner. Shoot a little pepper spray into the wind for seasoning.


I call it the ‘Disneyfication’ of animals that started with the cartoon Bambi. It’s why there are so many Darwin award winners who try to pet wild animals.


I went to Yellowstone the first time in 1981.later that year, I read about a man placing his two year old daughter onto the back of a live grizzly fo a photo. Luckily, a park ranger saw the “nature encounter” and punched daddy’s lights out.

The ranger resigned, but the article said he was rehired by the park head ranger that same day. That’s my kind of ranger and boss.


My God, the man that took care of business is a cop! Why do you need an investigation, to waste more money and provide job security? What BS. When in sacratomato I shot a coyote in the butt because he was trying to get to my chickens. He never came back. I shot 2 wild dogs in a pack of 8 and killed them for trying to take down one of my horses. The rest never came back. This was in the county on the border of the city which was one street over. The sheriff told me to carefully… Read more »


It is amazing what happens if animals get a whiff of what has been going on in ‘their’ neighborhood. 35 years ago I had a 35X50 raised bed garden that was fenced by four foot wire on steel posts. Started having problems with crows getting into it. One day I walked out with my trap shotgun and they all took flight and flew about two hundred yards away in some tall trees. I kind of ‘hid’ myself and after about 15 minutes they started coming back my way, saw me and started to do what ducks do when they know… Read more »


I had a similar experience. I had some carpet padding on the enclosed breezeway of my home. There yere yellow speckles in it that resembled corn. The crows spotted it, and started trying to peck their way through the sliding glass door, while I was trying to sleep after working midnights. I shooed them off for several days. Finally, I slipped out the front and walked around the house to the back corner. The crow offender saw me, and flew up onto my air conditioner heat exchanger. I tapped him with a .22 short and left in out for his… Read more »


Crows are amazingly intelligent and social. They do teach their young, even to point that second or third generation may recognize an individual human whom they have never met.

Of course they stay out of your deadly yard.


Because…. it’s Connecticut.


“….black bear matching the description of a known problem bear.” Probably……hairy and black…..positive ID. But, might also be a neighbor…. Ooops…had ear tags. Maybe still a neighbor.

Last edited 16 days ago by StLPro2A

What neighborhood you live in?!!!


Biden says all you need is a single shot shotgun. That would have pissed him off pretty good.

Last edited 14 days ago by Rodoeo
Pa John

On a related note, the following headline speaks for itself.
Pushing a ‘slower friend’ over and abandoning them isn’t the best way to escape from a bear, National Park Service warns 
If you come across a bear, never push a slower friend down even if you feel the friendship has run its course,” the National Park Service tweeted.

I don’t have to outrun the BEAR. I only have to outrun YOU!



Better yet move in slightly different directions so that you can use crossfire. My understanding is front of their head is quite tough, but a shot from the side can pass through heart and lungs with even a weak caliber pistol. Higher power may be able to break shoulder. Better aim though the temple (like little old trapper-lady in Alaska with her single shot 22LR) can end any bear.
If bear takes off after one person, person to side can focus on shooting far better since they are not immediate target of the bear.


There’s a reason that sighting a bear gives “nature lovers” a thrill. There aren’t as many of them as there used to be. That’s because bears and humans don’t coexist in peaceful bliss like a Disney movie, and our ancestors did their best to eradicate them. Thankfully, they were successful with the giant cave bears. If one wanders onto my property, I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t wander off.

Protect defend serve

The DEEP wanted the home owner to spend $300 of his own money to protect his chickens from a marauding bear? Would they reimburse him. Another sad case of well intended buffoons! Then an investigation of homeowner.


all the blame is on the department of natural resources for not trapping the bear and relocating it . the home owner did what had to be done and thats it.he made a very good decision


191 sightings in close proximity to humans. Couldn’t spell “habituated?” What could go wrong there? Just add cubs. DEEP failed to do its job of protecting residents from a growing problem bear. “,,,,CT Fish and Game code allows for killing fur-bearing animals that are injuring any property.” How about emminent danger to humans??? DUH!! But, wait…..”Per Throckmorton’s interpretation, state laws make it illegal to “take” a bear in Connecticut, with no statutory exception for protecting yourself, livestock, or poultry against a bear.” Defend the chicken coop, but not the chickens, or homeowners. Protect the inanimate but not the human. Live… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by StLPro2A

Use discretion when supporting police shootings. Because when YOUR time comes, police won’t support yours.