Family Discovers Hibernating Bear Beneath Deck, Plans To Leave It There

A family in Connecticut had a surprise waiting for them under a deck at their home when their son’s dog discovered a bear hibernating on their property. 

On December 30, the bear was found when Vinny Dashukewich’s pit bull, Cali, started growling close to an elevated deck outside of the home. His girlfriend, Olivia Unwin, was with him and started insisting that she had seen a bear. Dashukewich saw the bear, which was heavy and tired, beneath the deck. The bear was lying down on a tarp and a leaf pile.

 “He was totally unfazed by everything,” Dashukewich said. “As soon as we saw each other he didn’t move, he didn’t react. He’s definitely super comfortable.”

Dashukewich then put a video on TikTok that went viral, gaining over 15 million views. The family decided to name the bear, giving it the title of Marty Bearnard. They also started an Instagram account for Marty. 

“He hasn’t bothered us at all,” Tyler Dashukewich, Vinny’s sister, told The New York Times. “So we feel like there’s no reason to move him.”

“I turned my head and saw the bear, and we were staring right at each other. It’s pretty crazy,” one of the people who lives in the home also said, according to CBS, without specifying who the person was. “He’s massive, but he’s super chill. He hasn’t really done much so far.”

The children in the Dashukewich family said they’ve seen lots of bears close to the area for years but this was the closest encounter, according to The Times. But they said that living near the bear has been peaceful so far. Tyler Dashukewich said that the family reached out to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environment Protection after finding the animal. 

“They said to just leave him alone, let him be, as long as he’s not creating a disturbance or, you know, bothering anybody,” Vinny Dashukewich said.

The group said that it looked like a black bear and it seemed to be a male. Tyler Dashukewich said they told the family that they could attempt to get Marty to leave the area or just allow him to relax in that area until the end of his hibernation period. 

“We get 10-20 reports of bears denning under porches every year, and we have never had a negative incident that occurred as a result of this,” Jason Hawley, a wildlife biologist with the department, told the Times over email. He also said the group tells people to allow the bears to remain there before they leave, which typically happens near April.

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