Even though Mother Nature provided a milder-than-usual winter, residents in the Twin Ports can expect to see an increase in bear traffic around their homes - even inside the city limits.

Spring and early summer traditionally see bears on the move, looking for food sources.  Unfortunately, those food sources are sometimes bird feeders and trash cans.  And, even though it may be an enjoyable experience to witness a bear visiting near your home once - it will soon get old.  Jeff Lightfoot, with the Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources explains:

Spring is a good time for residents who live close to bear habitat to check their property for food sources that could attract bears. “When human-related food is easy to find, bears stop seeking their natural foods,” Lighfoot said. “These bears eventually get into trouble because they return again and again.”

Bears that start to visit and depend on "city food" for their sustenance usually meet their fate.

Unfortunately, food-conditioned bears often end up dead bears, said Lightfoot. Sometimes a bear causing problems must be trapped and destroyed. Bears that are trapped because they have become a nuisance are destroyed rather than relocated.

Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

So what can you do?  Common sense rules in this case.  Don't leave household or food garbage laying around outside of secured containers.  Clean up after using the barbecue grill.  Strip fruit-bearing trees in your yard as soon as the fruit matures.  Don't put our bird feeders - or - if you must - hang them high enough that it becomes difficult for bears to get at them.

If you DO spot a bear in your yard, contact the DNR.  You can find information at 888-646-6367, or online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us./


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