Another black bear was spotted in southern Minnesota over the weekend, this time near Courtland.
According to the DNR bear sightings database, the black bear was seen at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday along the Minnesota River near Nicollet County Highway 24.
Traditionally the primary bear range has been in northeast Minnesota, but Southern Region Information Officer Dan Ruiter says the DNR believes the range is moving more to the southwest.
“Now if you take a look at the number of sightings in south-central Minnesota, you have the one by Sleepy Eye, one by Courtland and you’ve got a couple of sightings along the Rice and Le Sueur County line there. Those are kind of sporadic and those are probably just males just passing through. So, it’s not like we’ve got an established population in this area.”
While recent black bear sightings in southern Minnesota are creating a buzz, the DNR says it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
“This a really unique wildlife viewing opportunity for those of us in southern Minnesota. If you see a bear it doesn’t have to be a negative interaction, necessarily. They are scared of us, so if you do live in the area of one of these sightings, probably take some precautions like pull up your bird feeders for a couple of days, make sure that your garbage cans are secure. Just to make sure that you’re not attracting a bear to your house or your location.”
As for nuisance bears, the DNR does not relocate problem bears because they seldom remain where they’re released. Bears also won’t be trapped for causing minor property damage.
The shift in the bear’s primary range is what’s behind the DNR’s new website application to help document sightings.
“This will be really helpful to our wildlife managers. So far the response has been good. The information is just really useful in helping us document the possible movement of black bears.”
UPDATE: A black bear was spotted on Wednesday morning in Blue Earth County. The bear was spotted along the Blue Earth River near Amboy at 9:14 a.m. Three separate bear sightings were reported on Tuesday in Jackson County.
For more information on the new reporting website, head to (CLICK HERE).