DNR officer fatally shoots bear in tree due to 'immediate safety threat'

The bear was a male and estimated as a two-year old, about 110 – 120 pounds.

WCCO Radio Newsroom
April 25, 2019 - 5:00 pm
Getty Images / Stock photo

Getty Images / Stock photo

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An officer with the Department of Natural Resources shot and killed a bear that was in a tree in residential area of North St. Paul today.

A resident in the area first noticed the bear sitting in a tree this morning.

“There is a black spot in that tree, what is it? So I get up and look out the window and I’m saying, ‘That’s a bear… that’s a bear,’”  Mick Askey told WCCO-TV.

North St. Paul police responded, along with a DNR officer, who eventually killed the bear. 

In a statement, the DNR says the bear posed an immediate safety threat. They say it was unlikely that the bear would have been able to escape to more suitable habitat, and bears can become agitated and pose a danger to humans when they become trapped or cornered as this bear had become in the neighborhood tree.

The DNR also notes that bears are often seen in the spring, when young males are searching for new territory and the animals are seeking alternative food sources when berries and vegetation are still scarce.

See the DNR’s full statement here:

A bear in a residential area of North St. Paul was shot and killed today by a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer as authorities determined the animal posed an immediate safety threat.

The bear was a male and estimated as a two-year old, about 110 – 120 pounds. The bear carcass will be processed and the meat will be distributed to people in need of food.

Due to the density of residences and roads in this area, it was unlikely that the bear would have been able to escape to more suitable habitat, especially during daylight hours and during the morning rush hour.

Growing interest in the bear’s location was leading to a gathering of onlookers. Bears can become agitated and pose a danger to humans when they become trapped or cornered as this bear had become in the neighborhood tree.

Law enforcement is authorized to dispatch bears in the metro area if they pose a public safety threat. The DNR does not tranquilize or relocate bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

It is not unusual for people to see bears in the spring as young males search out new territories. They are also are looking for food sources at a time when berries and vegetation are scarce.

If people encounter a bear, the first thing they should do is back away slowly. They need to give the bear an escape route and make noise to scare the bear away.

People should also clean-up and remove potential attractants such as bird feeders, garbage, and compost bins to reduce the chances of bears moving into developed and residential areas.

Bear sightings outside of their primary northern forest range can be reported on an interactive map-based application on the Minnesota DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear/bear-sightings.html.

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