Welch residents spot bear
Bear sightings aren’t common in Hastings, but they have been known to occur a few times a year. As bears come out of hibernation in the spring and begin to search for food, they are known to venture into more populated areas.
A Welch resident spotted a bear June 3 in an unlikely place: the back yard of a home near Highway 95 and Hudson Road in Woodbury.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, most suburban bears are young males searching for their own territory after being chased off by their parents. The best course of action, according to the DNR, is to call local law enforcement. In highly populated areas, especially inside the I-494/I-694 loop, bears present a public safety threat.
“A public safety threat is a public safety threat, whether it’s a guy wielding a knife or a startled or frightened large mammal with big teeth and sharp claws in a neighborhood with lots of kids,” said Capt. Greg Salo. “Your first call should be to the local police department. No one likes to see these animals killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes that’s the only real option.”
To avoid conflicts with bears, residents should eliminate anything a bear would consider food, including bird feeders, garbage, pet food and grills. Bears that find food at a particular location are likely to return to that location, according to the DNR.
If a bear does show up in your back yard, the DNR advises residents to simply leave it alone until it leaves.
“In a way, we’re lucky here in the metro region to have the woods and wetlands and open spaces that provide habitat for so many species of wildlife, even the occasional bear,” said Cynthia Osmundson, DNR central region wildlife manager. “But living with wildlife means taking a few extra steps if we want to avoid conflicts. Nobody likes it when a bear has to be put down, least of all the DNR. Hopefully we can work together to make that a rare occurrence.”
For more information about living with bears and other wildlife, visit www.mndnr.gov, or contact a DNR area wildlife manager.