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Bear Licenses, Bear Complaint Records, and a Point of Pride - UPDATE September 10, 2021

WilmaWilmaAfter my speculation in last night’s update about the number of bear hunting permits available for this area (Bear Management Unit 31), we looked it up online in the DNR’s report ‘Status of Minnesota Black Bears 2020’ https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/recreation/hunting/bear/2020_bear_report.pdf. Table 2 showed that the number has remained at 500 since 2017. We checked the DNR’s website for 2021 and found it has remained the same. So I was wrong in my speculation last night.

The status report also had information on bear nuisance complaints. Maps (Figures 7, 8, and 9) showed the locations of nuisance bear complaints in 2020’s summer of scarce food. Complaints were in three categories—bears attracted to garbage or bird feeders (Fig. 9), people feeling threatened by bear presence (Fig. 8), or damage to agriculture or property (Fig. 7). We were happy to find that there were none where people are providing diversionary food near the east end of the lake (Lake Vermilion) in the upper right part of each map. I was surprised at the large areas shown with no complaints, considering how many bears there were cruising through towns and going house-to-house where people are not accustomed to that. People everywhere have been saying that they have never seen so many bears. We’ll continue to learn more as we go. We’re glad for this peaceful area and are thankful to all who helped provide food to keep the local bears out of trouble.

The picture is of Wilma, who has two cubs. We never saw her before this year when many strange and hungry bears appeared.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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