UPDATE, MONDAY, SEPT. 18–First selectman Lynne Vanderslice releases a statement regarding the poaching of the bears:

All of us in town government share the public’s outrage and concern about the poaching of two bears within Wilton. Bears are protected in Connecticut. There is not a bear hunting season. Environmental affairs director, Mike Conklin, will keep in contact with DEEP on this matter.

The two individuals are poachers, not hunters. They are not participants in the Town’s annual controlled deer hunt, which began on Friday, Sept. 15. Invited hunters are well experienced, safety oriented and have completed, at a minimum, all the appropriate State certifications courses and passed a CT background check performed by WPD. The hunt is held for numerous reasons, including to reduce the spread of Lyme Disease and its crippling effects, to reduce motor vehicle accidents and to protect the ecology of the area.

Please contact me or Mike at our wiltonct.org email addresses.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 16, 8:45 p.m.–According to multiple news reports, two men were arrested today in Wilton after one allegedly used a bow and arrow to shoot and kill two black bears on private property in town.

The reports say that an anonymous tip was made to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Officers from DEEP’s Environmental Conservation Police (EnCon) that responded to the scene found a 28-year-old man from Wilton named Antonio Lio who was seen walking out of the woods carrying a backpack containing a bear skin, head and paws.

A second man, Daniel Moran, 33, from Norwalk, was with him.

It’s reported that Lio told police he shot a bear as it walked under his tree stand. He then admitted that he shot and killed a second bear when it approached him as he was examining the first bear.

According to EnCon Police, Lio reportedly texted Moran to help him remove the bears from the woods. Once Moran arrived, the two men allegedly skinned the first bear, taking the paws and head for a trophy mount.

Both men were arrested. Lio was charged with two counts of Illegal Taking of Black Bear and Negligent Hunting in the 4th Degree. He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond.

Moran was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Illegal Taking of Black Bear. He was released on a $3,000 non-surety bond.

Both men are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 28.

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