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Bears in Minnesota


Are There Bears in Minnesota?

Yes, bears live in Minnesota. Black bears are found in Minnesota. Grizzly bears don't live in Minnesota.

Where Do Bears Live in Minnesota?

The majority of the bear population lives in northwest Minnesota, in forested areas. Black bears prefer forests, but their range extends south almost to the Twin Cities, and west almost to North Dakota.

Minnesota DNR map of the black bear range in Minnesota.

Are There Bears in Minneapolis? Are There Bears in St. Paul?

Small number of bears are found in Anoka county, Washington County, and northern and eastern parts of the Twin Cities metro area. Bears usually live in woodland or forest, but are drawn south by crops on farmland, and by human settlements, both sources of food. Wild bears are very rare in urban areas, but bears have been spotted in Woodbury, Maplewood, Hudson, Wi, and along the St. Croix river.

Bears are currently not known to be living south of the Twin Cities, or in southern Minnesota.

Although there are few wild bears, there are two places to see bears in the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Zoo has a black bear exhibit, and Como Zoo in St. Paul has something more exotic: two polar bears.

Are Bears Dangerous in Minnesota?

Have there been any fatal bear attacks in Minnesota?

Although black bears can, and have killed humans, bear attacks are very rare in Minnesota. Since 1987, only a handful of incidents of bears attacking humans in Minnesota have been recorded.

A bear attacked campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1987. In 2002, a researcher studying woodcock near Milaca was attacked. And in 2003, a Grand Marais woman who surprised a bear in her garage was attacked. A woman was attacked by a bear near her home in Carlton County in 2005. None were fatal.

The only fatal attack recorded in Minnesota (as of mid-2011) was in 2007, when a man was killed in the woods near Ely.

Camping Safety with Bears in Minnesota

The American Bear Association, based in Orr, MN, has this advice about camping and hiking safely in Minnesota's bear country.

Bears in Yards, Around Houses and Cabins in Minnesota

Here's some advice from the American Bear Association on dealing with bears around homes and cabins in Minnesota.
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