The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received an anonymous report on Saturday, Sept. 16, 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, age 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.

After the initial investigation both men were arrested. Lio was charged with violation of C.G.S. 26-80a — Illegal taking of black bear (two counts) — and violation of C.G.S 53a-217a(e)(1) — Negligent Hunting 4th degree. He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond.

Moran was charged with violation of C.G.S. 53a-48 / 26-80a — Conspiracy to commit illegal taking of black bear — and was released on a $3,000 non-surety bond.

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

Bear hunting is not legal in Connecticut at any time, a point that was made by First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice who issued the following statement.

"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 September 15th. 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."