DULUTH, MINN. --- It happens every summer, and this year especially.
Roving black bears, fattening up for winter are on the prowl throughout the Northland, and they often run into people.
"He was digging — he was knocking a garbage can around back and forth across the road — knocking the stuffins' out of it," said Duluthian Cliff Carey, describing a rogue black bear he caught digging through his Morgan Park neighborhood just this morning.
According to the Minnesota DNR, bear complaints like Carey's are on the rise this summer in the Northland.
The spike in summer complaints doesn't surprise Ted Sellers who lives in the Piedmont neighborhood of Duluth
Sellers has somewhat of an unusual story.
"The other night we had a bear incident with our garbage can, and it happened to get in our garage, and I do believe it ate my kid's pet frog," Sellers said.
Be it frogs, fish guts, or fresh trash left on the curb, bears will do gustatory justice to just about anything that smells sweet or stinky, says bear expert Peter Pruett of the Lake Superior Zoo.
Pruett, who notes that bears will eat "just about everything," also said "the diet in the trash can is better than anything they can find in the wild."
The lead Zoo-keeper also offered several tips on keeping those bears feeding on wild food, not yours:
- Don't leave your food out, including fruits and vegetables from the garden.
- Secure your trash by putting it inside your house or the garage, and use sturdy, locking lids to keep bears at bay.
- Bears are attracted to even subtle smells, like perfume, plastics, soap and toothpaste. Don't leave them laying outside.
- Don't take unnecessary risks by trying to scare bears away. Although not inclined to attack people, bears are wild animals that are powerful and can be unpredictable.
Those sentiments are echoed by Duluthian Cliff Carey, who says he has been regularly spotting black bears on his evening walks near Grand Avenue in West Duluth.
"99 out of 100 times they're more scared of you and they'll run," Carey said.
"But there's always that 1 percent chance you really got to watch out for."
Written for the web by Matt Standal