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Published October 31, 2013, 02:32 PM

Black bear draws crowd in Minto, N.D.

An unusual tourist stopped in Minto, N.D. Wednesday night. It was an adult black bear, which essentially became a tourist attraction itself. The bear, believed to weigh about 200 pounds or more, was discovered in a tree on the north end of the Walsh County community of 600 at about 8:30 p.m.

By: Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald

An unusual tourist stopped in Minto, N.D. Wednesday night.

It was an adult black bear, which essentially became a tourist attraction itself.

The bear, believed to weigh about 200 pounds or more, was discovered in a tree on the north end of the Walsh County community of 600 at about 8:30 p.m., according to Game Warden Levi Bischof, who responded to the call.

“When I got there, there were people there, curious to see the bear in their neighborhood,” he said.

They had arrived on foot and by car and pickup as news spread on Facebook.

“It was kind of exciting,” said Jim Kaspraick, a Minto resident. “My daughter was looking out her bedroom window and could see it up in the tree. It was across the alley from my house.”

Leaving town

The bear apparently sampled a couple of other perches before finally climbing a tree near Minto Public School, where authorities spotted it after the 8:30 p.m. call. The Kaspraick residence is about a block from the school.

“The bear looked healthy,” Bischof said. “We backed people away from the bear, gave him some space. Then, he came down out of the tree and moved out of town. He was a mature bear, but it’s tough to say how old.”

The bear was last seen Wednesday night in a rural area about a mile or mile-and-a-half northeast of Minto, according to Bischof.

While Bischof referred to the bear as “he,” the game warden said he does not know its gender.

“I didn’t get that intimate with him,” he said.

More bears

Bischof said that while bear sightings are unusual in northeastern North Dakota, they are not rare.

“It’s getting to be more prevalent,” said Larry Jamieson, a Minto City Council member, who said other bear sightings have been reported in recent weeks, noting one near Forest River, N.D., about a dozen miles southwest of Minto, and near Oslo, Minn., about 20 miles to the southeast.

Minto is about 30 miles northwest of Grand Forks.

Bischof added that he likely will spend more time in Walsh County and surrounding areas in the next few weeks, “just to make sure we’re not having any more issues.”

The Walsh County Sheriff’s Department and volunteers from fire departments in Minto and Oslo, Minn., also were on the scene.

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