Bear Safety in North Dakota and Minnesota Remains Paramount

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 9:09 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - As the summer season enters full swing, residents and tourists in North Dakota and Minnesota are being strongly urged to exercise caution and remain well-informed about bear safety. This comes after a Northern Minnesota woman suffered injuries after being attacked by a bear while staying at a cabin near Gull Lake.

While encountering bears can provide an exhilarating experience, it is crucial to understand the necessary steps to avoid unwanted encounters and ensure personal safety.

The Department of Natural Resources emphasizes that two common attractants that unintentionally lure bears into human-inhabited areas are bird feeders and trash. Even though black bears are often associated with the forested north woods of Minnesota, they possess the ability to inhabit various regions across the state.

Individuals face a realistic chance of encountering a bear, even in unexpected places such as downtown areas. This year alone examples of bear sightings have been reported not only in Minneapolis but also in other cities like Knoxville, Tennessee, and Hartford, Connecticut.

In the event of an encounter with a bear, Andy Tri, a Bear Project Leader with the Department of Natural Resources, says there’s a few things one can do.

“Folks who happen to come across bears in their yards or on trails should remember to stay calm and make themselves appear large,” Tri said. “Stand your ground, make plenty of noise, and provide the bear with an escape route,”

The DNR further notes that bear populations have been slowly expanding their range southward and westward. Despite the potential fear associated with stumbling upon a bear, it is important to foster mutual respect for these creatures.

“Bears aren’t inherently dangerous, but they are large animals,” Tri said. “it is essential to respect their space,”

For more information on bear safety, local guidelines, and current bear activity, individuals are encouraged to visit the official websites of the Minnesota DNR and their wildlife agency partners such as Bearwise.