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A bear heads back into the woods near Country Court south and of Hallquist Avenue, Pioneer Road and Highway 58 in Red Wing Tuesday morning. Due to increases sightings near homes, Wildlife experts recommend people suspend birdfeeders at least 10 feet off the ground (Photo by Sheryl Voth)

Black bear encounters increasing in region

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Ravaged birdfeeders. Up-ended garbage cans. Raided vegetable gardens.

Area residents have noticed an increased presence of black bears.

Indeed, Wisconsin's black bear population has tripled in 20 years. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, there were about 9,000 black bears in Wisconsin in 1989 and, by 2008, the population had grown to between 26,000 and 40,000 bears.

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