Crosslake Police Chief Bob Hartman experienced firsthand Sunday night what other Crosslake residents were reporting frequently in recent days—a run-in with a black bear.
Hartman said a bear got into his garbage can about 10:30 p.m. Sunday at his residence on County Highway 36.
“I went out onto my deck and attempted to chase it away,” Hartman wrote in an email Monday. “It had absolutely no fear of me whatsoever. It just stood and looked at me as I shouted and clapped my hands at it. It finally just walked off. I put my garbage can in the garage and the bear came right back sniffing around the area where I had cleaned up the garbage.”
Hartman’s bear encounter is the latest in a string of recent reports in Crosslake. Four residents on Wildwood Drive reported two different bears taking down bird feeders and getting into garbage cans. A resident on Daggett Pine Road near the Crosslake Community Center reported a bear in a bird feeder. A feeder at Golden Horizons Assisted Living, 13631 East Shore Road, was torn down, and a resident one block away also had both garbage cans and bird feeders disturbed by a bear. Several residents reported similar damage on West Shore Drive.
“I have been advising everyone to put their garbage cans in the garage,” Hartman wrote. “Also, they might have to take their bird feeders down at night to keep the bears from coming back. If there is no food source in and amongst the homes, the bears will eventually return to the woods to forage for food.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers additional tips for minimizing problems with bears. In addition to garbage and bird feeders, other bear attractants include pet food, charcoal grills, fruit trees and gardens.
The DNR suggests keeping pet food inside, keeping grills and picnic tables clean and utilizing an energized fence to discourage bears from getting into beehives, sweet corn, fruit trees and berry patches.
“Barking dogs, bright lights and noisemakers will sometimes discourage bears from coming into an area,” the DNR states.
If a bear comes into a yard, the DNR advises residents not to panic, shoot or approach the bear.
“Most bears fear people and will leave when they see you,” the DNR’s website states. “If a bear woofs, snaps its jaws, slaps the ground or brush, or bluff charges, you are too close. Back away slowly. Go inside and wait for the bear to leave.”
If a bear refuses to leave, do what Hartman did: make loud noises or throw something to scare it away, while always allowing the bear an escape route.
Above all, the DNR urges the public to learn to tolerate bears.
“Many bears are killed or injured when not causing problems,” the DNR states