I’m thankful we only have black bears to deal with in Northeastern Minnesota. Black bears are more of a nuisance than anything and rarely attack humans unlike their relatives the polar bear and grizzly bear. According to the North Central Research Center black bear attacks are rare. "Nevertheless, chances of being attacked around campsites by any black bear are small. During a 19-year study of bear/camper encounters in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, only two injuries were reported in 19 million visitor-days. The study included the year 1985 when bear nuisance activity was at a record high. The two injuries were by one bear on September 14 and 15, 1987. The bear was killed the next day."
Some years we see lots of bears while other years we hardly see any. The berries have been so plentiful this year the bears haven’t had to come to our place in search of garbage since this spring. I have seen lots of bear poop while I’ve been hiking and out picking berries but I haven’t seen any bears. Our guests on the other hand have reported some bear sightings.
While one of our guests was out in the BWCA she was surprised to find she was not alone in her blueberry patch. Two cubs were a short distance away picking berries themselves so she decided she would let them continue picking while she found another place to pick.
Another one of our guests saw a bear eating in the ditch along the Gunflint Trail on their way up to Voyageur. Yesterday a group on Saganaga reported seeing a sow with triplets swimming across the channel. It’s pretty exciting to see black bears out in the wild especially when they aren’t in your campsite.
We haven’t heard of any bear problems out in the woods this year. Some years a bear will be attracted to a particular campsite due to having found food there in the past. If you see bear droppings at a campsite it’s a good idea to pick a different site. If a bear does come into your campsite then you need to scare it off before it gets a taste of your food or it will most likely keep coming back for more. Bears are pretty easy to scare off just by yelling at them or throwing things at them.
Like any other wild animal it is best to keep your distance from a black bear. Don’t crowd them, feed them or try to pet them and you should be fine. Keep your eyes open and maybe you’ll be treated to a bear sighting in the wild.