The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that bear sightings have been prevalent in the Northland and there are things you can do to keep them away.

According to the DNR, dry conditions in the northeast and north-central part of the state have caused a natural food shortage.  Therefore, hungry bears are looking for food wherever they can find it, which includes dumpsters, residential garbage cans and yards.

You can avoid bear conflicts by following these tips:

  • Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Keep garbage inside a secure building (not a screened porch) until the morning of pickup.
  • If there is not a secure building to put bear attractants in, erect an energized fence around trash or any other item attractive to bears (e.g., fruit trees, animal feed, gardens and compost piles).
  • When camping, pack out trash, dispose of it properly, and store food in bear-resistant containers or in a locked vehicle or camper.
  • Avoid feeding birds from April 1 to Nov. 15.
    If you still wish to feed birds, hang birdfeeders 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds daily.
  • Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Standard coolers are not bear-proof, but there are lockable, bear-resistant models available.
  • Pick fruit from your trees and collect any fallen fruit promptly. If not feasible to pick all the fruit, protect trees from damage by using an energized fence.
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Living with bears is a fact of life in the Northland.  You can follow the link below to see additional resources to avoid conflicts, including what to do if you have a persistent problelm.