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Bear encounters have been on the increase this summer in Minnesota and the DNR has just issued a few tips on how to make sure it doesn't happen to you.

While the Bears are a conference rival of the Vikings in the NFL's NFC North, those Bears live in Chicago. Back here in Minnesota, there may only one species of bear that is native to the Land of 10,000 Lakes but there have been an increasing number of encounters with them this summer.

So many, in fact, that it's caused the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to issue this warning about what's behind these increasing encounters with black bears. According to this KSTP-TV story, a shortage of natural food is causing bears to look for food sources at homes, cabins and campsites across portions of north and central Minnesota. (Bears are less likely to be spotted in southeast Minnesota, though have been sighted here too-- in fact, this video shows a bear spotted a few days ago only an hour or so from Rochester.)

The DNR noted on its Facebook page that 'bears may seem bolder now because they’re hungry. In northeastern and north-central Minnesota bears are facing a shortage of natural food due to dry conditions. Be extra vigilant in securing trash and birdseed to make sure bears don’t make an easy meal of what you leave out on your property or campsite,' the post noted.

So, to make things less attractive, the DNR is asking Minnesotans to remove food sources like trash and birdseed that could attract bears from their properties or campsites. The DNR website has an entire section on living with bears in Minnesota. They recommend the following tips to try to keep bears away:

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 isn't a secure building to put bear attractants in, put up an energized fence around trash or any other item that's 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, or hang bird feeders 10-feet up and 4-feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill bird feeders, and clean up spilled seeds daily.
Do not leave food from barbecues and picnics outdoors, especially overnight.
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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