Updated: Sept. 11, 2:45 p.m. | Posted: Sept. 10, 12:04 p.m.
Superior National Forest managers are encouraging campers to take precautions after a recent uptick in bear-human encounters in the Boundary Waters.
Wildlife biologist Cheron Ferland said people should be mindful of how they store food, garbage and toiletries like toothpaste. She said bears can smell easy-to-grab food from miles away.
“Unfortunately, if these food rewards happen, the bears don’t forget. They tend to continue that kind of behavior. And so they’ll seek other opportunities out and — ultimately, if the bear starts to lose fear — the bear might end up having to be dispatched.”
Incidents between bears and humans in Minnesota have declined in the past three years, but people in bear country should still beware.
Ferland said incidents were reported at Agnes Lake in the LaCroix-Cook area and at several lakes north of the Gunflint Trail.
“Typical situations that we hear about are a bear comes into a campsite where somebody’s left food sitting on the table, or anything that has a scent can be an attraction for bears, even lip balm or toothpaste. The bear might grab the food, carry off a backpack, or damage a tent. Visitors have even encountered bears grabbing backpacks at portages.”
So far in recent incidents, no one has been harmed, Ferland said. She advises using bear-safe containers and methods for storing food even when on islands. She said a good place to learn about certified products is the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee website.
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