Kevin Kramer

Cook County bear hunters finding success to start the season

Bear hunters in Minnesota harvested more than 2,550 bears through Sept. 13, a significant increase through the same time span last year.

As WTIP recently reported, a dry June and a current shortage of natural foods in our local woods are causing more bear-human conflicts in both Cook and Lake counties as bears seek out food sources at homes, cabins and campsites near the North Shore and surrounding area. This same phenomenon was also driving bears to bait stations used by local hunters or hunting guides, according to Dan Stark, the Minnesota DNR large carnivore specialist.

Following the trend of hunting success statewide, hunters in what is known as ‘Area 31,’ the hunting zone for the fart northeastern part of the state, were also having successful hunts. Approximately 250 bears were harvested in this area during the opening week of the hunting season.

The DNR encourages bear hunters to not shoot female bears with cubs, though the practice is not illegal. Furthermore, some female bears are shot each season in Minnesota, including in Cook County, that are pregnant. Stark told WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs an overharvest of female bears during the hunting season can have an adverse on the overall population. This year, Stark said nearly half of all the bears harvested in Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties were female bears.

This year’s season started Sept. 1 and continues through Oct. 18.

The audio below is the entire conversation between Stark and Friedrichs. It was recorded Sept. 14.