Be aware of bears: DNR lists tips for avoiding conflicts

A black bear was spotted Aug. 30 near Tamarack Nature Center by a homeowner.

A black bear has recently been sighted in North Oaks, Vadnais Heights and White Bear Township.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers the following tips for avoiding conflicts with bears. Black bears are the only bear species that live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.


The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts:

Around the yard

• Do not feed birds from April 1 to Nov. 15. Anytime you feed birds, you risk attracting bears.

•If you must feed birds, hang bird feeders 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill bird feeders and clean up spilled seeds.

•Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).

•Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.

•Do not leave food from barbecues and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.

•Clean and store barbecue grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.

•Elevate beehives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.

•Pick fruit from trees as soon as it’s ripe and collect fallen fruit immediately.

•Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.

•Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.

•Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible.

•Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.


•Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.

•Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.

•Properly rinse all recyclable containers with hot water to remove all remaining product.

•Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.

People should always be cautious around bears. If bear problems persist after cleaning up food sources, contact a DNR area wildlife office for advice. For the name of the local wildlife manager, contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or visit

Last year the DNR asked the public to report bear sightings outside primary bear range in Minnesota. Male bears are known to travel long distances in search of new habitat and food, and there is a public perception that bear range has expanded in the central and southern counties of the state. For a map showing the primary bear range and to report a bear sighting outside of this range, visit



(1) comment

ROSANNE Thompson

It's only matter of time before there's an incident. Once bears become accustomed to being around people they will become more aggressive towards people.

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