BWCA Bear Incidents Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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VoyageurNorth
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06/14/2021 09:52PM  
Received this from the Forest Service for reporting Bear Incidents. This helps the FS & the DNR take care of problems more efficiently.

2020 Superior National Forest Bear Encounter Action Plan –Bear Incident Report

Date of Incident __________Time of incident___________ County ____________________

FS Ranger District_____________ DNR Conservation Officer ______________________________

Location Name (Campground, BWCAW Lake) ________________________ Site #(s) ________

Location Details(i.e.: east shore near portage.) Attach a map showing specific site if possible.

Explain the Incident, Human and Bear Behavior (number of visits, time of day, what occurred, actions by people involved, bear’s behavior and the outcome).

Be specific but avoid interpreting the bear behavior as much as possible. For example say “bear huffed” rather than “bear was aggressive”.
 
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yogi59weedr
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06/15/2021 01:09AM  
I hope I don't have to fill out one of these .
It sounds good to track problem yogis.
I hope bad campers don't make good yogis bad yogies.
 
VoyageurNorth
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06/15/2021 03:12AM  
Me too! Messy campers encourage bears and that is always a bad thing for the bears.
 
R1verrunner
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06/15/2021 05:33AM  
Efficiently is not in the DNR's or NF dictionary when it comes to dealing with problem bears in the BWCA. They let problem bears be a problem for far too long, thus ruining many a trip. Lose your food and the trip is over.

Why avoid interpreting bears behavior?

Their behavior is far more important in determining if a bear is dangerous. Knowing a bear is a danger is far more important then just knowing when and where one shows up unless the bear is very aggressive or has actually made contact with some one. They are very reluctant do do anything.

Remember, if they know a bear is aggressive and fail to do anything about it, they could have some liability if the bear attacks someone. Case out of New Mexico found that the state was liable for damages after they refused to do anything after several reports of an aggressive bear.

So their "Be specific, but avoid interpreting the bear behavior as much as possible." For example say, “Bear huffed”, rather than, “Bear was aggressive”.

It's just CYA.

Hear no evil, see no evil, there is no evil.
 
Duckman
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06/15/2021 06:31AM  
R1verrunner:

So their "Be specific but avoid interpreting the bear behavior as much as possible. For example say “bear huffed” rather than “bear was aggressive”



I think that's good advice though. A lot of people new to the woods out there. A lot of simple bear sightings might otherwise get reported as an "aggressive bear" and then authorities might actually overreact.
 
dschult2
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06/15/2021 07:26AM  
Duckman: "R1verrunner: So their "Be specific but avoid interpreting the bear behavior as much as possible. For example say “bear huffed” rather than “bear was aggressive”.
I think that's good advice though. A lot of people new to the woods out there. A lot of simple bear sightings might otherwise get reported as an "aggressive bear" and then authorities might actually overreact."

Yes, this is why. There are a lot of people out there who would say a bear is aggressive just because it walks through your camp.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
06/15/2021 11:14AM  
RR... Your post has lots of criticism, but no suggestions. Anyone can do that. What would you do? You're in charge of the BWCA for a month or two and you have to work within the parameters of the laws, your budget, staffing and everything else related to your position. What are you going to do?
 
Bingo
 
06/15/2021 12:27PM  
Jackfish: "RR... Your post has lots of criticism, but no suggestions. Anyone can do that. What would you do? You're in charge of the BWCA for a month or two and you have to work within the parameters of the laws, your budget, staffing and everything else related to your position. What are you going to do?"

+1 Exactly what I was thinking.
 
06/15/2021 01:39PM  
Well, if the bear follows the MN Castle Doctrine, they do not have the duty to retreat if threatened in their own home. Thus, in certain circumstances, they may use force, including deadly force, in self-defense when threatened in their own home:-)
 
R1verrunner
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06/15/2021 01:53PM  
Jackfish: "RR... Your post has lots of criticism, but no suggestions. Anyone can do that. What would you do? You're in charge of the BWCA for a month or two and you have to work within the parameters of the laws, your budget, staffing and everything else related to your position. What are you going to do?"

Here is a money making solution that takes into account the MN law problem bear law.

Have a pool of volunteers that would hunt said bears for a fee.

Charge an appropriate fee. Have the MN DNR issue a kill tag perfectly legal under MN law.

Said volunteer pays the fee goes in and removes the problem bear.

Problem taken care of very little personnel involved. No budget problems because said fee would cover all costs. and have money left over
 
R1verrunner
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06/15/2021 02:01PM  
Scout64: "Well, if the bear follows the MN Castle Doctrine, they do not have the duty to retreat if threatened in their own home. Thus, in certain circumstances, they may use force, including deadly force, in self-defense when threatened in their own home:-)"

People have been in the woods longer then any living bear.
 
mjmkjun
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06/15/2021 04:46PM  
This is so ridiculous and unprofessional. It's going to be a death sentence for bears with no accountability for the behaviors of camper's compliance to bear safety rules.

any slob with no regard for rules or regulations can literally create a nuisance bear in one single camping trip. then, submit an 'incident report'.

unfortunately, the FS can easily find the bear but not bust the ones who create the problem bear in the first place.
admittedly, it cost less to send a ranger or two out with a rifle than to patrol the many campsites. it isn't fair play to the wildlife, folks.

Heck, have a pool of volunteers that would hunt said campers for a fee.



 
RunningFox
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06/15/2021 05:13PM  
Sometimes you eat the bare. Sometimes the bare eats you. Most the time you just canoe, camp, and if your lucky, eat walleye.
 
RunningFox
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06/15/2021 05:19PM  
RunningFox: "Sometimes you eat the bare. Sometimes the bare eats you. Most the time you just canoe, camp, and if you’re lucky, eat walleye."
 
mschi772
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06/15/2021 07:25PM  
Duckman: "R1verrunner:


So their "Be specific but avoid interpreting the bear behavior as much as possible. For example say “bear huffed” rather than “bear was aggressive”





I think that's good advice though. A lot of people new to the woods out there. A lot of simple bear sightings might otherwise get reported as an "aggressive bear" and then authorities might actually overreact."


Even experienced people don't necessarily know jack about animal behavior. Great example: dog owners who've owned dogs their whole lives and still make major mistakes and fail to understand most things about dog behavior, training, and handling. If people can't even bother to learn enough about their own companions, I'm not about to trust the behavioral assessments of people regarding bears without some proof of their credibility in the realm of ethology.

It is excellent advice for reports to stick to the facts and leave interpretation up to people with more expertise.
 
missmolly
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06/15/2021 07:47PM  
 
R1verrunner
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06/15/2021 08:56PM  
It is not like MN has a shortage of black bears.

They are hunted every year.

Killing a problem bear will have no effect on the over all population then the regular hunting season.
 
VoyageurNorth
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06/15/2021 09:09PM  
R1verrunner: "It is not like MN has a shortage of black bears.


They are hunted every year.


Killing a problem bear will have no effect on the over all population then the regular hunting season."


But hunting them is different from searching out a bear who maybe didn't do much of anything.

I've been an outfitter for many years and have had people describe bear "visits" many ways. Some sound like they had a bear in camp, got chased off but they still considered it a problem bear. Just because you see one around camp does not mean it is a problem bear.

Once in a while, early spring or late fall, I find a sow who wanders into my garage where we keep the garbage. We should have had the door closed, it was like an "invite" to dinner. She shows up every so often, she gets bigger each year so I think it is the same one. She is not a bad bear, just a wanderer from the woods near our house smelling temptation. I see her, I yell, she runs off. I don't fear her, I just want her out of my garbage.

For bear hunting (not often done in the BWCA) bear hunters ask us if there has been a bear bothering people reported and they may go hunt that area.

The DNR is the group that handles any problem animals, though the reports come from the Forest Service.
 
R1verrunner
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06/16/2021 05:34AM  
The last time I checked the MN DNR issues 50 permits a year for the BWCA
zone. It was a 100 percent chance of getting one.

It is a tough hunt because of all the restrictions.

The average kill might be 6 bears.

How many reports on a lake or lakes in the same area should it take to deciare a problem bear.

What I see one or two bears every few years cause all the problems in certain areas.

Removing said bears will not hurt the over all bear population.

 
R1verrunner
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06/16/2021 05:48AM  
VoyageurNorth: "R1verrunner: "It is not like MN has a shortage of black bears.



They are hunted every year.



Killing a problem bear will have no effect on the over all population then the regular hunting season."



But hunting them is different from searching out a bear who maybe didn't do much


"


No it is not having done both I can tell you hunting problem bear is very similar to hunting any bear.

Bears wandering around the woods being hunted haven't done anything.
 
R1verrunner
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06/16/2021 05:53AM  
mjmkjun: "This is so ridiculous and unprofessional. It's going to be a death sentence for bears with no accountability for the behaviors of camper's compliance to bear safety rules.



Heck, have a pool of volunteers that would hunt said campers for a fee.



"


What is ridiculous is somebody who would rather kill people than a bear.
 
mjmkjun
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06/16/2021 07:02AM  
R1verrunner: "mjmkjun: "This is so ridiculous and unprofessional. It's going to be a death sentence for bears with no accountability for the behaviors of camper's compliance to bear safety rules.



Heck, have a pool of volunteers that would hunt said campers for a fee.




"



What is ridiculous is somebody who would rather kill people than a bear.
"

Meh. You're implicating too much venom into my comment. I reversed a statement about hunting down 'said campers' instead of bears but then.........applying a harsh fine not killing'em. That would be silly, eh?



 
jwmiller39
senior member (61)senior membersenior member
 
06/16/2021 02:14PM  
R1verrunner:

People have been in the woods longer then any living bear."


Fixed for accuracy:

Bears have been in the woods longer than any living human
 
06/16/2021 02:45PM  
Dear RIverrunner please riddle me this. How after days or weeks after the "problem" bear report do you identify the problem bear? Will any bear that comes around your bait be a problem bear? Or will any old bear do? Who makes sure the volunteer hunters are targeting the problem bear?
For those of you who don't know, bear hunters hunt over bait. Old pastry, candy ,gummy chews and other food items are put out (legally) before hunting season to attract bears. Our intrepid hunter then sits up in a tree stand and shoots the ferocious bear. The other method is to place bait in several locations and use dog packs to locate and tree the bear. If the bear turns on the dogs the hunter refers to this as "WE are fighting the bear" even though he may well be sitting in his truck following the the event on the gps tracking collars on the dogs, when the gps stops moving he knows the bear has treed and he can go in for the kill.
Bear hunting is legal and all methods are regulated by the DNR. There are many, probably most, ethical bear hunters.
Bears a food driven, a poorly nourished bear can't breed or survive hibernation, they go where the food is. Bears, mice and other pack destroying critters are attracted to the mess we make. There are PROBLEM PEOPLE and there are a hell of alot more of them then bears.

So no one will jump to conclusions, I'm a hunter and live in rural NE Wi. and live with wildlife all around and don't think bears are Disney characters.
 
R1verrunner
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06/16/2021 08:20PM  
The same way a government official tells a problem bear.
 
mjmkjun
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06/17/2021 04:17AM  
VoyageurNorth:

I've been an outfitter for many years and have had people describe bear "visits" many ways. Some sound like they had a bear in camp, got chased off but they still considered it a problem bear. Just because you see one around camp does not mean it is a problem bear.


Once in a while, early spring or late fall, I find a sow who wanders into my garage where we keep the garbage. We should have had the door closed, it was like an "invite" to dinner. She shows up every so often, she gets bigger each year so I think it is the same one. She is not a bad bear, just a wanderer from the woods near our house smelling temptation. I see her, I yell, she runs off. I don't fear her, I just want her out of my garbage.


For bear hunting (not often done in the BWCA) bear hunters ask us if there has been a bear bothering people reported and they may go hunt that area.


The DNR is the group that handles any problem animals, though the reports come from the Forest Service."

Thank you for your input.
I recall an incident when I was staying at Sawbill Campground when a troublesome bear had to be culled as this particular bear would just not learn and was chased off repeatedly in previous weeks. The same bear was consistently returning for its night raids and presented a potential threat to vulnerable youngsters/dogs/property in the campground. No doubt, it had enough successes in the previous raids to become conditioned.
 
VoyageurNorth
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06/17/2021 05:34AM  
mjmkjun: "VoyageurNorth:


I've been an outfitter for many years and have had people describe bear "visits" many ways. Some sound like they had a bear in camp, got chased off but they still considered it a problem bear. Just because you see one around camp does not mean it is a problem bear.



Once in a while, early spring or late fall, I find a sow who wanders into my garage where we keep the garbage. We should have had the door closed, it was like an "invite" to dinner. She shows up every so often, she gets bigger each year so I think it is the same one. She is not a bad bear, just a wanderer from the woods near our house smelling temptation. I see her, I yell, she runs off. I don't fear her, I just want her out of my garbage.



For bear hunting (not often done in the BWCA) bear hunters ask us if there has been a bear bothering people reported and they may go hunt that area.



The DNR is the group that handles any problem animals, though the reports come from the Forest Service."

Thank you for your input.
I recall an incident when I was staying at Sawbill Campground when a troublesome bear had to be culled as this particular bear would just not learn and was chased off repeatedly in previous weeks. The same bear was consistently returning for its night raids and presented a potential threat to vulnerable youngsters/dogs/property in the campground. No doubt, it had enough successes in the previous raids to become conditioned.
"


Now that bear was obviously a problem bear. And I know sometimes they "move" it but I tend to think they always come back. Will the bear learn, who knows, not likely if it found human food tasty and easy.

They do find it easy pickings at campgrounds, dump canisters and of course, my garbage in my opened door garage. :-) "My" bear is not a nuisance bear. She comes back sometimes but is not destructive or "demanding". Garage door closed, no sign of her then.
 
missmolly
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06/17/2021 05:55AM  
R1verrunner: "The same way a government official tells a problem bear."

You have an incentive to "identify" a problem bear because you enjoy killing bears. Asking you to do so with impartiality is like expecting a Russian judge in the Olympics to score the American and Russians gymnasts with impartiality.
 
thegildedgopher
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06/17/2021 08:35AM  
missmolly: "R1verrunner: "The same way a government official tells a problem bear."


You have an incentive to "identify" a problem bear because you enjoy killing bears. Asking you to do so with impartiality is like expecting a Russian judge in the Olympics to score the American and Russians gymnasts with impartiality. "


Well said.
 
jwmiller39
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06/17/2021 10:09AM  
There's no such thing as a problem bear... just problem people... unfortunately, the bears are the ones that have to pay the price for the problem people.
 
Lawnchair107
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06/17/2021 10:18AM  
I think the situation in Agnes among others is different. We have heard of this particular problem bear(s) for quite some years now.
 
R1verrunner
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06/17/2021 04:38PM  
I just talked with my cousin. He had a bear in camp on Agnes last Saturday.

They were able to haze it out of camp. He said the bear was very slow in
leaving.

Even with 4 men pelting it with rocks and raising a fuss. But after a few of the rocks landed solid blows. It wandered away in no big hurry.

Not normal bear behavior.

 
R1verrunner
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06/17/2021 04:48PM  
missmolly: "R1verrunner: "The same way a government official tells a problem bear."


You have an incentive to "identify" a problem bear because you enjoy killing bears. Asking you to do so with impartiality is like expecting a Russian judge in the Olympics to score the American and Russians gymnasts with impartiality. "


The same could be said for those who think that humans should bow down to bears.

They are incentives never to see the bear as a problem.
 
yogi59weedr
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06/17/2021 06:58PM  
I think if we just made all the campsites look like end zones, no Bear would go near it.
 
tumblehome
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06/17/2021 07:26PM  
jwmiller39: "There's no such thing as a problem bear... just problem people... unfortunately, the bears are the ones that have to pay the price for the problem people."

Thank you. You beat me to it. People are the actual problem with their food hygiene habits.

An example is my wife and I created three problem bears on our property. We feed the birds and the bears found the feeders. We kept filling the feeders and soon the bears were here more than once a day. They are now considered nuisance bears. But I caused it. Feeders taken down.
We got to witness copulation today 10 feet from our window. Interesting.

I would agree that the Sawbill was truly a problem due to the volume of available food from the campground. I don't have the answer to this one but dispatching the bear would be my last resort if I were in charge.
Tom
 
06/17/2021 07:27PM  
yogi59weedr: "I think if we just made all the campsites look like end zones, no Bear would go near it."

"After further review...the Bears Still Suck"
 
yogi59weedr
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06/18/2021 12:31AM  
P.S.

If the bears move out of Chicago......
Ok I'll stop. I don't want to get moderated...
Lol guys....
 
06/18/2021 01:16AM  
yogi59weedr: "I think if we just made all the campsites look like end zones, no Bear would go near it."

Great idea!
 
R1verrunner
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06/18/2021 05:41AM  
Or if MN bears are anything like the Vikings.

We just have to tell them that going to a camp site is like going to the super
bowl.

They show up and never get the win. IE food
 
whyzata
member (21)member
 
06/18/2021 08:02AM  
Plenty of bears in the burnt out areas near Lakes 2,3 and 4. Hang food and don't bring anything into tent. If you fish dispose of properly and wash hands, clothes and leave no fish smells behind. Bears love fish as much as humans.
 
VoyageurNorth
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06/18/2021 05:44PM  
Have had a few reports about the bear on Agnes.

Two from same party (must have gone through Agnes & camped their twice)

6/13 Bear in camp, it huffed. They hung food pack on tree, bear arrived 10 minutes later. They move across to southwest campsite on Agnes and it soon showed up there too.

6/17 Bear in camp. No "noise" reported, no aggressive behavior reported, just looking for food pack. They yelled, I think threw rocks and it lumbered out of camp.

They didn't lose any food. On 17th they put their food packs in the canoe, anchored it out in the lake. Worked for them, but often does not due to wind, storms, and the fact that bears can swim.
 
BonzSF
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06/19/2021 12:14AM  
yogi59weedr: "I think if we just made all the campsites look like end zones, no Bear would go near it."Now that’s just funny
 
Springer2
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06/20/2021 05:58PM  
There were reports of several bear incidents on United States Point in late May and early June including one of a bear swimming to an island to raid a campsite. I think it was 6/4 and we were coming back from an early AM fishing run around Hauson's Island on Basswood when we saw smoke coming from a campsite on the west side of US Point that didn't look occupied. There were a couple logs burning in the fire grate that hadn't been doused. Later we heard from our outfitter (LaTourell's) that an older couple were chased off their campsite by a persistent bear, even though they used bear spray. I wonder if that explains the still-burning fire.
 
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