I'm an avid reader of the weekly Minnesota DNR officer reports online, and in the last couple of weeks, there seems to be an increase in reports of nuisance bears. As bear hunting season draws near (September 1st - October 17th) it makes sense that these animals would be out and about looking for something to eat.

Conservation Officer Bret Grundmeier based in Hinckley reported last week that he continued to take calls from frustrated farmers about black bears destroying their corn crop. A few bear baiters had to be dealt with who wanted to establish baits in the same areas of a state forest and could not agree to get along.

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As bears are more active, how do we deal with the nuisance bears that wander onto our property? According to the Minnesota DNR:

Sometimes a bear that causes problems must be killed. The DNR only kills bears when they have been determined to be a public safety threat; this happens on average fewer than six times per year.

Homeowners and farm owners kill the majority of nuisance bears in Minnesota, which is allowed in state law. This option can only be used if the bear is causing significant property damage or creating an immediate danger, they specifically outline that destroying a bird feeder or trash cans is not a good reason to shoot a bear.

If you do have a bear wander onto your property, call your DNR Area Wildlife Manager to discuss the situation and next steps. If shooting the bear is the only option, the property owner should report it as soon as possible to a conservation officer so the meat can be salvaged. By law, the shooting must be reported within 48 hours, and the property owner can not keep the bear. It turns out that bears are the property of the State of Minnesota, who knew?

For more information on dealing with bears, check out the Minnesota DNR website. 

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