A trail cam owned by Matt Semling set up in Money Creek caught this picture of a bear wandering through the woods on Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. “Over the years we have heard about bears in the area but was never lucky enough to get a motion camera pic of one,” Semling said. “It’s pretty cool.”
According to the Minnesota DNR, the state’s bear population is concentrated to the northeast quadrant of the state.
Don Nelson, Minnesota DNR area wildlife supervisor, said southeast Minnesota actually provides good black bear habitat, but the mammals have trouble getting around the Twin Cities metro area. After reviewing the image, Nelson said this bear may have come from Wisconsin. “It’s cleary a young bear – maybe last year’s cub – and 150 pounds tops. We do get bears fairly often that are observed in southeast Minnesota. For the last 10 years or so the bear sitings have been somewhat increasing,” Nelson said.
Bears are excellent swimmers and have been observed crossing from island to island at night by fisherman, particularly in 2012.
In early summer bear sitings increase as young males disperse and try to find a territory. “A young bear out on his own for the first time, not in his home territiory where’s he’s familiar with the land, he’ll be seen by more people more often,” Nelson said.
Black bears usually try to avoid people, but sometimes come in conflict with humans when they eat crops, destroy apiaries or break into garbage cans and birdfeeders. There are roughly 20,000 black bears in Minnesota. Sport hunting is their main source of mortality, according to the DNR. Minnesota hunters harvest an average of about 3,000 black bears annually.
– Emily Bialkowski