Hunters and other recreationists asked to report bear den locations near Grand Rapids

Hunters and other recreationists spending time outdoors this fall are asked to report the locations of occupied bear dens they encounter in and around the Chippewa National Forest, north of Grand Rapids. Bear researchers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are studying bears in this area using GPS tracking collars and would like to add more animals to the study, to replace those killed in the hunt.

The study area is bounded by Lake Wabana on the south, Turtle Lake on the north, Little Bowstring Lake on the west, and Balsam Lake on the east. “If someone comes across a bear in a den in this general area this fall or winter, we’d like to collar it,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear project leader. “We also may be potentially interested in an occupied bear den found close to Bemidji.”

The purpose of the study is to examine how bears have responded to changes in the forest since the 1980s. Bear research provides a better understanding of factors that cause populations to change, and in this way enables the DNR to better manage and conserve this species.

Anyone finding a den within the study area is asked to call Andy Tri in Grand Rapids at 218-328-8879, or Laura Gilbert at 218-328-8872.