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Be BearWise this summer while recreating outdoors

Coexistence with bears is completely doable with a few easy steps that anyone can follow.

A black bear laying on the ground.
Bob Zweigle, rural Breezy Point, writes: "This bear first came by the house at night in early May, and totally tore up the bird feeders. It returned a day later in midafternoon, approached briefly from a distance and left. Another night time visit a week ago, again tore up the bird feeders and returned the next day, approached our patio/bird feeder area and posed for this picture taken through the window of the adjoining porch."
Contributed / Bob Zweigle

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds hikers, campers and others recreating outdoors to be aware of bears and learn how to prevent conflicts.

Minnesota is bear country, but people can peacefully share the outdoors with bears by paying attention to where and when they are most likely to encounter bears. Black bears are naturally cautious animals that typically avoid human contact for their own safety; however, it’s important to be proactive to prevent human-bear conflicts.

Headline News from the Brainerd Dispatch

“Coexistence with bears is completely doable with a few easy steps that anyone can follow,” said Andrew Tri, DNR bear project leader, in a news release. “The key things to remember are to not surprise them and to keep food secure.”

When moving about in bear country, people should be aware of their surroundings, make noise periodically so bears know they’re there, and always keep dogs leashed.

To keep human food away from bears, people should keep a clean camp by practicing leave no trace principles . People should:


  • Store coolers in a locked vehicle or store food in a certified bear-resistant container.
  • Take food waste with them rather than piling it outside the receptacle if the trash container or dumpster is full. Leave no trash or food scraps in camp and don’t burn scraps in the fire ring.
  • Not leave food, trash or pet food outdoors and unsupervised — all it takes is a few seconds for a hungry bear to swipe it.

Learn more about how to safely recreate in Minnesota on the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/bearsafety ) and at BearWise ( bearwise.org ).

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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