Living with Black Bears: Several Bear Sightings Reported in Bayport on Tuesday Morning

Several black bear sightings were reported Tuesday morning in and around Lakeside Park in Bayport.

An adolescent black bear was seen meandering around Lakeside Park, and according to one report, the bear charged a man and his dog, stopping about 10-15 feet away from them.

It’s not uncommon for black bears to be seen in the Stillwater area in the spring and early summer. There have been dozens of black bear sightings reported in the area in recent weeks.

If you encounter a black bear:

  • Don’t panic. Don’t shoot. Don’t approach it.
  • Learn to tolerate bears. Many bears are killed or injured when not causing problems.
  • Most bears fear people and will leave when they see you. If a bear woofs, snaps its jaws, slaps the ground or brush, or bluff charges, you are too close!
  • Back away slowly.
  • Go inside and wait for the bear to leave.

Black bears are shy and generally flee when encountered, but it is important to never approach or try to pet a bear.

Injury to people is rare, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

The DNR offers these tips for avoiding bear conflicts:

Around the yard

  • Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.
  • Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which 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 birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds. Where bears are a nuisance, birdfeeders should be taken down between now and Dec. 1.
  • Store pet food inside and feed pets inside.
  • Clean and store barbeque grills after each use.
  • Pick fruit from trees as soon as it’s ripe, and collect fallen fruit immediately.
  • Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.
  • Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.
  • Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible. Clover and dandelions will attract bears.
  • Elevate bee hives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.
  • Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).

Garbage

  • Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters.
  • Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.
  • Properly rinse all recyclable containers with hot water to remove all remaining product.
  • Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.
  • Store garbage that can become smelly, such as meat or fish scraps, in a freezer until it can be taken to a refuse site or picked up by refuse collector.
  • Take especially smelly or rotting garbage as soon as possible to your local refuse facility so it can be buried.