The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is issuing an advisory on black bears in Connecticut.
DEEP is advising residents to be mindful that black bears are on the lookout for food as the emerge from their winter-long hibernation.
Officials say residents should never feed bears, intentionally or otherwise.
Experts say if bears become accustomed to easily-accessible food sources, they become habitutated and lose their fear of humans.
DEEP advises removing bird feeders, securing garbage cans and avoid leaving pet food outdoors as these all can attract bears.
Also, if out hiking or walking and you encounter a black bear, DEEP says to yell and make noise and if the animal doesn’t retreat, slowly leave the area.
Those who encounter black bears are urged to call the department from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (860) 675-8130 or the 24-hour dispatch line at (860) 424-3333 on weekends and off-hours.