Early spring means early bear season in Minnesota

Early spring means early bear season in MinnesotaBear season may be starting uncharacteristically early in certain parts of the U.S., including Minnesota. That’s due to the early, warm spring the U.S. is experiencing at the moment, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Officials are warning residents not to leave food out in areas that may attract nearby bears. “With a warm spring so far, we’re already getting calls about bears out rummaging for food,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife animal damage program supervisor Eric Nelson in a statement. “However, leaving food out in yards that can be eaten by bears sets the stage for potential property damage and presents dangers to bears.”

The only bears living in the Minnesota wild are black bears. These creatures usually tend to be reclusive, and would run away when confronted. As such, attacks on humans are rare, but Minnesota residents are also being warned not to pet the bears or even as much as approach them; the animals can be dangerous when attacking, due to their size, strength, and speed. And they may also be looking for food, even if it’s dog food or food scraps in garbage bins, as they may be lacking conventional food resources in the woods.

The Minnesota DNR also offered residents several tips for avoiding dangerous encounters with bears. Food from barbecues and outdoor picnics should never be left outside, especially overnight; this also applies to food in coolers, and barbecue grills should also be cleaned and stored inside after use. Hummingbird feeders should be replaced with hanging flower baskets, which attract hummingbirds in a similar way. Bird feeders should be removed, or hung up ten feet up and four feet out from the nearest trees, with a rope-and-pulley system in place for refilling. Also, pet food should be kept inside the house, and fruit should be picked from trees once ripe.

In addition to those tips (more can be found here), as the Minnesota DNR has a list of online tools and resources, including a handy office locator.