Minnesota DNR: Be Aware of Bears This Spring

Minnesota DNR Advises Caution as Black Bears Awake from a Deep Winter Slumber

DULUTH, Minn. – Now that spring has officially sprung, officials with the Minnesota DNR are reminding homeowners to be aware of bears.

While these animals are typically more scared of humans than we are of them, experts say it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what to do if destruction is knocking on your door.

“The calls have started rolling in that bears are in garbage, and bears are getting at bird feeders; even ones on polls,” said Martha Minchak with the Minnesota DNR.

The Northland is no stranger when it comes to wildlife mixing with residential areas.

“I can always tell when I get calls when someone is new to the city because they don’t expect to see bears at all,” said Minchak.

Many of us expect to see a few bear roaming around after a long winter slumber.

“They’re just coming out of winter hibernation; look outside this week, we’re getting snow again, there’s not a whole lot of natural food for them,” said Minchak.

So the animals are turning to your backyard, full of easy access bird feeders and the occasional trash can to rummage through.

“Always try to discourage the bear from hanging around your place. Always make noise. Don’t just take a picture of video of it and send it to us, try to make noise to let the bear know they’re not welcome here,” said Minchak.

Aside from making unwanted gestures to keep black bears at bay, Minchak encourages homeowners to use preventable measures such as taking feeders in at night, or even putting them away for the spring until berries and other food sources start popping up.

“All of them have their local home range, areas that they frequent to find food where they have found food repeatedly,” said Minchak.

Minchak mentions many folks still call the DNR to have a bear removed from their property. But after years of research, the DNR finds this solution to be ineffective.

“We used to trap and relocate bears and just take them far out of the city into the woods. We found that didn’t work. We used to mark the bears that we would capture and we found the bears would return to the same area a few days later,” said Minchak.

The DNR says the only time they will trap and try to remove a bear is if the animal is acting aggressively.

Wildlife officials advise not feeding the birds from April 1 through November 15.

If you can’t fight the urge of feeding the birds, the DNR says it’s best to hang your feeders at least ten feet above ground, and more than four feet out from the nearest trees.

Once hummingbirds come back to the Northland, you’re encouraged to purchase hanging flower baskets rather than enticing bears in with tasty sugar water.

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