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MN DNR warns to be bear aware: time to take bird feeders down, check properties for possible food sources

Mar 26, 2024 11:21AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: Chris Geirman via

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - March 26, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging homeowners to remove birdfeeders now and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.

While most of the female bears with cubs and yearlings are still near their denning areas, the mild winter has caused some full-grown bears to emerge from dens early to look around or find a quick, high-calorie snack.

“Bird feeders can become bear feeders,” said Andrew Tri, DNR bear project leader. “Birdseed and grains are very attractive to bears looking for a quick, high-calorie meal. Prevention is key. Once a bear finds a food source, it will likely return.”

As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up as they transition from nibbling on plants to more substantial meals. Food and food odors attract bears, and they can pick up a scent from over a mile away.

Home and cabin owners can prevent bear conflicts now by using the BearWise checklist (PDF) and following these BearWise basics

  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active.
  • Secure food, garbage and recycling.
  • Never feed or approach a bear.
  • Never leave pet food outdoors.
  • Clean and store grills and smokers.
  • Alert neighbors to bear activity.

More bear information

People should be cautious around bears and give them space. If bear problems persist after cleaning up food sources, contact a Minnesota DNR area wildlife office for advice.

To find a local wildlife manager, contact the DNR Information Center at
651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or visit wildlife area office contact information on the Minnesota DNR website. 

For more information on how to live responsibly with bears visit the Minnesota DNR website or BearWise website.

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