Minnesota sheriff explains rules for trapping or killing nuisance bears

(NC Wildlife Resources Commission)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 9:42 AM CDT
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CASS COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The Sheriff in Cass County, Minnesota, is addressing how to deal with unwanted bears and other wildlife, after an increase in complaints over the last couple of months.

Sheriff Tom Burch says some calls are just to report a bear sighting, but others are the result of bears damaging property, structures, vehicles, landscaping or crops. Burch also says his department has received reports of bears entering homes through screen or patio-type doors.

Cass County doesn’t have an animal control officer, but when deputies are dispatched to this type of call, they say they’ll do their best to help. Officials also say to remove the source or reason the bear continues to return to the area.

Sheriff Burch also says his department is often asked if people can shoot nuisance bears. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has information about killing and trapping problem bears. You can read more about that here.

Killing nuisance bears is allowed by state law; however, this option can only be used if the bear is causing significant property damage or creating an immediate danger to people or animals. According to the law, destroying a bird feeder or unsecured trash cans is not a reason to shoot a bear.

“Before you shoot a bear, ask yourself if you have taken all of the necessary precautions to prevent the situation and if killing the animal is your only solution. Call your DNR Area Wildlife Manager to discuss the situation,” Burch said.

When a bear is shot by a property owner, it should be reported to a conservation officer so the meat can be salvaged. The DNR’s TIP Line is available 24/7 at 800-652-9093. By law, it must be reported within 48 hours.

“The property owner may not keep the bear. Bears are the property of the State of Minnesota,” according tot he DNR.

The DNR also will not remove or relocate nuisance bears.

“This practice ended in 2000 because trapping and moving bears does not resolve the underlying problem, which is the presence of attractive food sources provided by people.”

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