I would also be wandering around in an ornery mood looking for something to eat if I had just woken up from a winter of hibernation, and a little too hairy too. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is cautioning people to avoid conflicts with bears this spring.

In their news release Monday, Eric Nelson, wildlife damage program supervisor for the DNR said, "Bears are roaming around now with the loss of snow and warmer weather, so interactions with people have started in many areas of the state."

The DNR offers a number of tips to avoid attracting bears.

  • Only use bird feeders that are hung from a tree and are at least ten feet above the ground. (Strike one against my family.)
  • Do not put out food for wildlife.
  • Do not put food into a compost pile
  • Pick garden produce as soon as it matures. (That might be strike two against us.)
  • Feed your pets inside and keep their food inside too.
  • Do not leave coolers outside, even if they are empty. (We found this out the hard way one year while vacationing in Colorado. We woke up in the middle of the night to a bear knocking a cooler around on the deck trying to get into it. On a positive note, we can identify our cooler easily as the one with the bear teeth marks in it. Strike three!)
  • Keep your recyclable pop cans inside. Rinse containers thoroughly.
  • Use bear-resistant garbage cans. Keep cans inside until pick up day.

The DNR news release states that black bears and the only ones that live in Minnesota and that they are usually shy and will flee when encountered. All the same, you should never try to approach a bear. Bears are dangerous due to their size, strength and speed.

"As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce," the news release indicates.

Already this year, students at a northern Minnesota school were told not to walk to school due to a bear sighting. Last June, the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office had a bear pay a visit.

On the other hand, the following bear is fine to interact with and will, in fact, pose for a picture with you! Listen to the Twins all season on KRFO AM 1390.

Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media