Bear spotted in Rogers, Minn. was young, in search of home or mate: expert

A resident of Rogers, Minnesota, took this picture of a bear in a yard on Friday, May 19. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Garner)

A bear that was spotted in Rogers, Minnesota, Friday afternoon left the city peacefully on its own, according to Rogers Police. 

"No one was hurt, and as far as we know, the bear is doing just fine," Cpt. Jason Foster told FOX 9 Monday.

Foster said the bear was first spotted around 4:25 p.m. munching on sunflower seeds from a bird feeder in a resident’s yard in the Mallard Estates development

The department continued to get calls throughout the afternoon as the bear moved through the neighborhood and north along I-94. Several news reports indicated that at that point, motorists saw the bear by the highway. 

The animal eventually crossed I-94 near the Crow River around 7 p.m. before making its way out of the area, Foster said. 


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Remove bear food sources

Rogers Police contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who suggested officers to work with residents to remove food sources, including bird feeders, to prevent the bear from returning — as the agency advises on its website

"At that time he'd already in the food source, but in a preventative manner to prevent them from continuing to come back to that neighborhood, we asked residents to remove those food sources," he said.

A bear munches on bird seed in Rogers, Minnesota on Friday, May 19. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Garner)

A bear munches on bird seed in Rogers, Minnesota on Friday, May 19. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Garner)

Younger bear in search of home and mate 

Andrew N. Tri, the Bear Project Leader in the DNR’s Forest Wildlife and Populations Research Group, said that based on the footage he saw, the bear was likely younger — between three and four years old — based on the body size and the shape of the head. 

In an email, Tri noted that Rogers is in an area of lower human population density, with lots of potential bear habitat and food sources: farms, park reserves, forests, wetlands and creeks. 

"It’s probable that it was meandering along one of the rivers or and wandered up into town. Likely scenario would be a solo male, dispersing from the place it was born and looking for its own home range. Another possible scenario would be looking for a mate (breeding season is starting up soon)," Tri wrote. 

Tri said that, based on the DNR’s public bear siting map, the bear spotted in Rogers was likely the same bear that was spotted heading southwest along the Crow River, along the Wright-Hennepin border and headed towards Rockford and Delano, and could even be the bear seen in Ramsey a few days earlier. 

What to do if attacked by a bear

He noted that bear attacks are extremely rare, and that if people encounter the animals they should follow the agency’s safety tips: don’t panic, make noise, and don’t run, and the bear will typically run off. When walking dogs, keep them leashed.