Bear sightings in southern Minnesota

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(ABC 6 News) – Over the past 50 years or so, Minnesota has seen an overall significant increase in the black bear population.

Although they are much easier to spot north of the Twin Cities and up closer toward Duluth, bears have slowly been adventuring down toward Rochester and surrounding communities.

Rochester has even had about six or seven bear sightings since the DNR started taking reports.

Dan Stark is a large carnivore specialist with the Minnesota DNR. He says the good news is if you see one, you’re not likely in a dire situation. “Black bears are rarely aggressive when encountered.”

Although it is best to keep your distance. He also mentions a couple of specific things that bears like to eat out of, “Bird feeders, garbage, food that’s left out for pets. Things like that.”

Forests during the summer months make it easier for bears to have food in the woods. In the meantime, limiting how long your trash can is in the street and putting away birdfeeders until fall reduce the odds of seeing a bear on your property.

If you are in a group, it’s important to stay together. Any pets should either be on a leash or kept at home.

The Minnesota DNR is also asking the public to report any bear sightings.

This data will help the Minnesota DNR further get an idea as to how much bears are migrating out of the northeastern part of the state.

If you want any additional information on black bears and safety tips, you can go HERE.