by Joni Astrup
Another bear has been hit on a highway in Elk River.
The latest incident was reported to police at 4:54 a.m. Monday, June 8. An Elk River woman told police that she was traveling west on Highway 10 at about 65 mph when she hit a black bear that ran in front of her vehicle from the north side of Highway 10 near Zebulon Street. Following the crash, the adult bear was in the center median, dead.
The driver was not hurt. Her vehicle had moderate damage to the front driver’s side and she had to get out through the passenger side door. The vehicle was towed from the scene, according to the police report.
The crash was the second involving a bear in recent weeks in Elk River. On May 29, an adult female bear and two cubs were hit and killed by a SUV as they crossed Highway 169 near 199th Avenue shortly before midnight. The driver wasn’t injured in that crash, either.
Meanwhile, Dan Schwark, of Elk River, reported that his security camera caught a bear walking through his yard at night on June 5. He lives near Irving Street and 197th Avenue in the Brentwood subdivision. Schwark posted a screen shot of the bear on social media.
His security camera also captured footage of an adult bear with three cubs in his yard during a night in May.
Asked how he felt about having bears in his backyard, Schwark said he was amazed more than anything else. “(I’ve) been here for 32 years and never seen anything like that. But, I just got Blink security cameras last fall. There’s a lot that goes on outside at night.”
Andy Tri, a wildlife research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who is studying bears, said there’s a perception that the range of bears has expanded. The DNR is asking people to report bear sightings that are outside the species’ primary range. The primary range includes the northeastern half of the state with the range ending just north of the Twin Cities and including the far northeastern portion of Sherburne County. A number of bear sightings have been reported in Sherburne County, according to a DNR map which can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/y7zn6j7g.
Tri said Sherburne as well as Anoka County have had reports of females with cubs. That’s one of the things the DNR looks at in considering the range of bears.
That’s not unexpected, he added, given the proximity of those counties to big rivers like the Mississippi and Rum. Rivers are natural travel corridors for bears, he said.
Male bears, meanwhile, have a home range of about 100 square miles. The range of a female with cubs is much smaller, 8 to 10 square miles, he said.
Tri advised people who see a bear to not panic or approach the animal.
To avoid attracting bears, put bird feeders away between April 15 and Thanksgiving when bears are active. Secure garbage in a locked building like a garage until pickup, he said.
For more tips from the DNR on living with bears, go to https://tinyurl.com/y9m3zynk.