Bear poaching case continued, protest postponed

The public outrage over the illegal bow-and-arrow killing of two black bears in the Wilton woods of Indian Rock Place on Sept. 16 will have to wait until Oct. 20.

That is the date of a planned protest outside the Norwalk Superior Court on Belden Avenue in Norwalk, said Marguerite Tucker O’Connor, a Wilton resident who responded to the news of the bear killings by announcing plans for a protest.

The court appearance was originally scheduled for Sept. 28, but got postponed. A clerk at the court could not be reached to explain the reason for the postponement.

In the Sept. 16 case, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received an anonymous report on a Saturday that an archery hunter had illegally shot and killed two black bears on private property in Wilton.

Officers from DEEP’s Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police responded and said Antonio Lio, 28, of Wilton was seen exiting the woods allegedly carrying a bear skin, head and paws stored in his backpack. He was accompanied by a second person, Daniel Moran, age 33, of Norwalk.

Lio allegedly said he shot a bear as it was walking under his tree stand. Lio further admitted that he shot and killed a second bear that approached him while he was checking on the first deceased bear, police said.

Lio told ENCon Police he texted Moran to assist in retrieving the bears. Upon arrival, Moran and Lio allegedly skinned the first bear, cutting off its paws and head, for a trophy mount.

Lio did not have a valid 2017 hunting license or archery permit. After the initial investigation both men were arrested. Lio was charged with two counts of Illegal taking of black bear and one count of fourth-degree negligent hunting. He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond for the misdemeanors.

Moran was charged with conspiracy to commit illegal taking of black bear and was released on a $3,000 non-surety bond for the misdemeanor.

Both Lio and Moran are scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Sept. 28.

No mug shots were taken after the arrest, said Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the DEEP. He said Lio used a standard and typical hunting bow to take the bears, and a standard hunting knife to take the skin.

Lio was wearing camouflage hunting gear at the time of his arrest.

Private landowners can give permission for people to hunt on their land.  Hunting activities need to be in season, with proper weapons, with enough space away from dwellings, and for proper species. There is no hunting of bear allowed in Connecticut.

Black bears are common in Wilton. There have been 31 bear sightings reported to Wilton Animal Control in 2017, according to Animal Control Officer Chris Muir.