Bear complaints are on the rise in MinnesotaMinnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers are reporting an increase in nuisance bear complaints for this time of year.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers are reporting an increase in nuisance bear complaints for this time of year. Bear sightings are most prevalent in northern Minnesota, but they’ve also been spotted in the metropolitan suburbs.
“Despite the mild winter, this is a tough time of year for bears,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager in Grand Rapids. “After hibernation, they are hungry. When berries and vegetation are scarce, bears are often tempted by dog food, livestock feed, birdseed, barbecues, compost or garbage.”
In addition, female bears chase away last year’s offspring at this time. These young bears are inexperienced at finding food and searching for territories of their own. They are the most likely to show up in places where they are not welcome.
Research and experience has clearly shown that removing food that attracts bears resolves problems much more effectively than attempting to trap and destroy the bear, Lightfoot said. Bears will not be trapped for causing minor property damage, such as tearing down bird feeders or tipping over garbage cans.
The DNR offers tips:
• Do not leave food outdoors from barbeques and picnics, especially overnight; coolers are not bear-proof.
• Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets that are also attractive to hummingbirds.
• Eliminate birdfeeders or hang them 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees; use a rope and pulley system to refill them and clean up seeds that spill onto the ground.
• Where bears are a nuisance, birdfeeders should be taken down between April 1 and Dec. 1.
• Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.
• Clean barbeque grills after each use, and store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.
• Harvest garden produce as it matures; locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.
• Do not put out feed for wildlife (e.g., corn, oats, pellets, molasses blocks).