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Minnesota black bears moving west

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BEMIDJI, MN (WDAZ)—A warning from the Minnesota DNR are warning locals that black bears are moving closer to home.

A warning from the Minnesota DNR tonight-- black bears are moving closer to home.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural resources, there are between 10 thousand and 15 thousand black bears in the state—and those bears are also closer to town.

“If food conditions are poor, often that’s going to draw bears closer to town where there are easy meals like trash or birdfeeders,” said Andy Tri of the Minnesota DNR.

Food conditions aren’t necessarily bad, there are just a lot of bears—younger bears.

“There are a lot of teenage bears, so they are 3 or 4 year old animals that act like teenagers. So they are often more likely to be seen and get in trouble,” said Tri.

The DNR wants you to keep an eye out for bear dens, in your backyard.

"A den site can be either an area that's either a hole in the ground, where they've dug a hole—often underneath a fallen tree. Otherwise the place that they often go is into cattail areas,” said Bemidji Wildlife Manager, David Rave.

Right now most bears are staying in their dens—but if disturbed, they can be dangerous.

"They're not in a full state of hibernation. It's actually called "torpor," so their body temperature only drops about 10 degrees, and they're groggy, but they are awake, so often if you look at them, they'll look right back at you, they can smell you, that sort of thing,” said Tri.

So if you see a den, don't bother the bears—and be sure to report it to the DNR.