Bear Researcher: DNR Rule Endangering Collared Bears

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

— The Department of Natural Resources decided Monday that radio-collared bears will continue to be fair game to hunters this fall. Now, a Minnesota bear researcher says the DNR is exposing his life’s work to unnecessary risk.

That includes Lily, a 4-year-old black bear who is one of nine radio-collared bears being studied by Lynn Rogers of the North American Bear Center.

For 44 years, Rogers has been a bear researcher and Lily has received much of his attention lately. That’s because she’s now a mother to three cubs and their lives are continually broadcast on Rogers’ website. However, while the bears hibernate now, this fall Rogers won’t be able to keep them safe. Lily’s bright-pink research collar won’t protect her from a bear hunter.

“This is so devastating when one of these bears is killed. We can’t just put the collar on another bear and go forward. We have to start over,” said Rogers.

When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Rogers said he was hoping new DNR leadership would protect his bears, but the new leadership took a familiar stance.

“It’s an emotional issue. We know that Dr. Rogers has a large following out there,” said DNR Deputy Commissioner Dave Schad.

Schad said it would be unfair to put hunters in a position where they have to look for collars before they shoot.

“It’s been our practice to encourage hunters to refrain from shooting those (bears), but understand, at times, those mistaken shots are going to happen,” said Schad.

Rogers is now urging his followers to contact their lawmakers in hopes of getting his bears protected.

“The DNR didn’t get it right on this one. I think the bears aren’t owned just by the hunters, but by the public at large and some of us want to learn from them,” said Rogers.

Rogers said that more than 500 schools across the country are studying his bears online.

The DNR also has research bears that will be fair game to hunters this fall. They say it’s really up to lawmakers to pass a law that would protect these bears.

More from John Lauritsen
  • Elaine Novak

    Thank you for your story. I have been following the bear research for over a year. I hope the DNR will change their mind on the issue.

    • Linda Moore

      Why please do you have such a problem with this small number of research bears being protected against hunters?? I am in Mass. and have been a fan of these bears since then, before hope was born. Please explain to all the children and tourists why you feel this small population should not have protection !!!!

  • Jean Kampmeyer

    These bears deserve protecting and many of us are going to work hard to get the legislature to protect these bears. Its not about hunting, but about protecting a small number of bears. Anytime a hunter could not see the bright, colored collar on these bears, then they are not seeing well enough to be taking a shot.

    • James Taylor

      If you protect the radio collared bear the study isn’t really accurate as death by hunting is a very real possibility. I hunt bear and it is the best meat out there. I know I would have a hard time shooting it but it part of life for these beautiful animals

      • Henrietta Wakelin

        We already know that bears die when they’re shot, they’re not bullet proof. We learn nothing from a dead bear. Where the research bears are invaluable is in the time taken, over decades, to study the bloodlines and understand the relationships these bears develop. I look forward to the day I can bring my tourist cash from the UK to Ely to see these bears and if they’re casually shot because someone couldn’t be bothered to look twice I’d be devastated. I am sure a responsible hunter would always let a collared bear pass, and an irresponsible hunter doesn’t deserve a licence.

      • Jayne

        James Taylor~ Since there are 4000 to 5000 beautiful bears to hunt in MN, couldn’t you just NOT shoot a collared bear?

      • Joyce

        The research is not about counting the numbers of bears. It is learning about the habits of black bears, where they live, how far they travel, how they protect their territory and care for their offspring. I would think a hunter could benefit from this knowledge.

      • MNTaxpayer

        The research being conducted is about the life of a bear not the death of one. We learn nothing from a dead animal.

      • Donna Christy

        James Taylor: You mean you can’t live without the meat from 9 bears? What about the children in schools who are learning so much about bears? Take another look at your statement. It’s no even logical.

      • Mary Ellen Letsche

        James do you think you could look twice to see if they have very colored streamers hanging from a collar before you shoot. It would be very much easier then seeing if a pheasant is a hen or cock before you pull the trigger! That is a law too and much smaller to see.

      • Terry

        There are plenty of other bears out there that are not involved in the research project. Why couldn’t you just leave the remaining 9 for some of the (reportedly) thousands of bears in MN??????? and why would anyone need to kill a small yearling bear? How much meat on a bear under a 100 lbs??? is that hunting or just killing? If bears were such a problem why do they have to be lured to their death by killers, or i mean, hunters?????

      • Bob

        As a hunter who has ate Bear meat in the past, I can say it’s not the best meat out there, so I’m not buying that one bit. Bear hunting is base mainly on getting the biggest badest looking bear for sport, Since lynn has only 9 to 14 bears collared in a known area, a law like this doesn’t seem that hard to pass.

      • THE CUB

        What say we make it even? I SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO ARM BEARS!!!
        And if one shoots you with your hunter orange vest….OOPS! Sorry. “Human meat is the best meat out there. Hey, after all, it’s just part of life!” No…wait…death is not PART of life…it’s the END of it. Wouldn’t it be nice if you were out in the woods and came upon a big surly bear that started to charge you and then suddenly it stopped and thought…gee, this looks like an important person, I’d better leave him alone….and it turned and walked away? But that couldn’t happen because bears can’t think and rationalize like a human can. So because you are human and CAN rationalize, why can’t hunters let these nine collared bears go free to be studied and learned from by the hundreds of thousands of interested scholars, young and old, around the world?
        What will it take to avert the slaughter of these ‘beautiful animals’? Just think about it….it’s just a handful of bears that have been selected for studies to learn about their behaviors. Can’t hunters let them be? Or is it so important to be the big hero and bring home the ‘bacon’? I know, wrong meat…but hey….after all it seems that it’s just ‘meat’ to you. To Lynn Rogers, a man who has literally lived with these bears for over 40 years, it’s his life’s work. Why would a hunter want to destroy that or anyone’s livelihood? It’s just wrong when there are so many more ‘targets’ out there to choose from. Watch this video a few times and see Dr Rogers’ interaction with the black bears and other beautiful creatures and maybe your perception of the value of wild animals, their beauty, and their significance in nature will be softened.

    • Andrew Page

      We are talking about research bears, correct? By protecting them and treating them differently than other bears in the area, you are gathering corrupted data. You are no longer going to get an accurate idea of the average life-span of regional bears. The geezer running this program should research how to conduct a proper scientific experiment first.

      • Karen Anderson

        Andrew Page — you are an IDIOT. Dr. Rogers “studies” this group of bears and you haven’t a clue what his motives and methods are (unlike small school children who do). It’s not for YOU to determine what is a “proper scientific experiment” when you are so ignorant that you refer to a man of Dr. Roger’s qualitry as a “geezer”, barely into his 70s and clearly one of your betters.

    • TJ

      This isnt a research project, this is simply a domestication of wild animals. They arent gonna travel anywhere when they know the will be fed by Mr.Rogers hand. Do a true study on wild animals and include hunting mortality, like they do on banded birds and fish.

  • Marilyn Beattie

    As I can’t text from Australia – am saying save the radio collared bears- with all the wonderful research that Lynn Rogers and Co are doing…particularly now with Lilly and all of her family. Surely the hunters can look before they shoot?

    • Dotti Bialek

      Responsible hunters are required to see a 3″ tine on the head of a deer, why would they NOT be able to see fluorescent ribbons projecting several inches out from a bear’s collar? We are talking about protection for NINE bears out of thousands. These bears are providing valuable information about how black bears live. We all know how they die ~ and yes, some are ACCIDENTALLY hit by cars. But hunters are not supposed to do anything by “accident”. Sparing nine bears so they can continue to educate the world about co-existence with nature is not asking very much, IMO♥

      • Carolyn Thomas

        WE NEED TO HAVE THESE COLLARED BEARS TO TEACH US AND THE KIDS .With the internet Dr. Rogers can reach right in the class rooms to the kids.How do you tell a child that a bear they are studing got shot and killed by a hunter.when Hope got lost at the end of the school year many could not tell the kids.,why worry them all summer. and it worked out. why do they need to watch these bears grow up just to be meat on the table.lets all work togather to share what God gave us.I would have to see the bear study end,please for the love of learning please lets all work for the good of man kind. not to leave out love of the kids eager to learn.

  • Phil

    This is absolutely outrageous! I mean the fact the someone other than the DNR is collaring these bears. Beside that death is a part of the life on these creatures. To say that is will ruin all this hard work is ridiculous to not allow this would give unrealistic information. I personally know which bear this is, earlier this fall driving down the echo trail in Ely MN I was inches away from hitting this “Lily”. This would have ended Rogers Research just as easy. Hunting is a part of this research it is a portion of the growth/mortality rate of this species. I would like the public to do their research as well instead of these people voting that don’t really know anything about it on this poll effecting what will happen in the future on something they have no part of, hunting or the research. All they here is this sob story, like I said before this is a part of life.

    • Jayne

      Phil, death is a part of ALL living creatures and humans. Hunting is intent to kill, so are drive by shootings, with then end result of death. Still doesn’t make it right. I don’t know why you’re so upset about research bears. We want them protected, so go shoot the 4,991 other bears.

    • Ann

      A bear with ribbons around its neck is much easier to see and thus to shoot than a regular bear. The fact that these bears are accustomed to some humans has been taken into consideration while studying them and it should be taken into consideration when hunting season rolls around. I can’t think of anything much more pathetic than shooting a beribboned bear that it used to humans, perhaps shooting fish in a barrel is a good comparison.
      I would hope that regardless of what the law says, hunters will avoid these bears. I understand that its too much to ask for them to avoid shooting anything and considering camping and enjoying nature.

    • barb

      Do you really think that only government agencies should be able to do scientific research?

      • Janie Anderson

        Totally agree with you!! These people can’t even balance their checkbooks, much less that of the state! And to think about them doing any kind of research is undescribeable!! Even if they do not totally agree with the research methods, I thought these officials are supposed to carry out the will of the people. They also need to look at how much money Lilly supporters have brought in for the state (tax revenue from sales, tourism, food bank donations, etc)., plus exposure to the state. Janie in Colorado

    • KK

      But their objective isn’t to study black bear “mortality”. It’s to learn more about how bears live, adjust, eat, reproduce, hibernate, etc. Things they can’t find out in captivity and are frequently studied in many, probably almost all wild species. Is it really too much trouble for you to spare a couple who are contributing to the research? Besides I’d think you’d want to hunt a bear that’s a real CHALLENGE, not one who has been conditioned to even a slight bit of limited human contact throughout it’s life. How wimpy.

    • Phil Me Up

      You must be a republican… Science is important, your religious beliefs are not…

      • june

        Phil, you are astonishing……and not in a good way.

      • Phil

        God bless GW, haha haha for you information I am in Natural Resources Thanks ;)

    • Andrew Ellison


      How is it outrageous that someone other than the DNR is collaring these bears? Death is indeed part of life, but that is not what the study is about. It’s about how they live. I’m going to assume you aren’t a scientist. Based on that assumption, how could you know, having never participated in the true process of research, the effects that destruction of the research subject would have on the study?

      As for you almost hitting Lily, I dare say you need to be more aware when you are driving as that could have been a distracted hunter you hit with your car.

      Hunting is a part of reality, it is not a part of the research. The research is to study the lives of these bears. Yes, bears can be killed by hunters, but the point of preventing collared bears from being targeted is so that scientists can study what happens when the bear’s life is not cut short by hunting (or even your car). This is part of the unknown, and investigating the unknown is the base of all scientific research.

      What is this “future” you keep referring to? I think those are just empty words and situations that you are putting out there to defend the right of a hunter not to think twice before pulling the trigger on a creature with brightly colored ribbons on its collar. If you can avoid shooting people in their hunter orange vests, by evaluationg before shooting, you are certainly able to avoid shooting a bear with its “hunter orange.”

      We aren’t trying to take away your right to hunt black bears, just the bears that are part of the study. They are a small part of the population. And, your statement that this is a “sob story” is mysogynistic.

    • Jean Kampmeyer

      Phil, don’t you care about all the school children who are following these bears and learning about these bears in their classrooms all over the country and worldwide? If a hunter shot one of these research bears because they don’t respect Dr. Rogers’ research, how would this affect these children.
      This is not “absolutely outrageous,” but absolutely serious. These bears do not belong to the hunters to choose to shoot. This is not about hunting; there are plenty of other bears out there. Dr. Rogers has been doing his research on a limited number of bears for over 40 years; why not support him and his followers? Why not choose to get along with us? We love those research bears and I personally would be devastated if one was killed by a hunter. If Lily would be hit by a car, that would be an accident. That is way different than if a hunter shot her while she had a neon bright collar on. Please go to see our wonderful bears. Lily is in her den with twin cubs and her yearling Hope. Thank you for listening

    • Michele Chartier

      I disagree Phil! The “People” voting know alot more about the research bears,because we choose to learn the truth,not myths,or mis information on Black Bears..The research bears in Dr. Roger’s study are valuable to behavior and ecology, and there is little they can learn about that from a dead bear! I suggest you visit and do YOUR research,and learn the real truth of why protection for 9 bears out of thousands is crucial..Hunting is NOT a part of any research!

    • Just Ducky


      Thank you for your testimony that every hunter can REDILY see brightly colored, durable duct tape “ribbons” hanging off bulky radio colors, since you could even identify the specific identity of one bear -Lily- out of thousands of bears in the county, as you were driving so fast that you almost hit her. Sitting hunters, watching a slow moving foraging bear, now -by your testimony- could never make a mistake and claim they couldn’t see brightly colored “ribbons” on collared bears…heck they should be able to even identify them by name.

    • Sharon H.

      Thank you Phil for not hitting Lily with your car. If you had of hit her we would have never have had the priveledge of watching Lily hibernate in her den with Hope. Nor would we have been able to witness the birth of her two new cubs Faith and Jason. Before viewing Dr.Roger’s cam I did not even know that MN has Black Bears. Actually before Lily I never thought about it. I live in Gatlinburg, Tn. We have lots of Black Bears here. Most live in the Great Smoky Mtn National Park and are Federally protected. I have learned lots myself about the many differences in habitat of Mn Black Bears vs. TN Black Bears. I always wondered what goes on in a hibernation but never knew until Lily. For the people of MN to protect these collared bears says alot about them. There is a major difference in the hibernation of Mn Black Bears and Tenn Black Bears. The Black Bears in TN do not hibernate. They do a “winter sleep”. I never knew Baby Black Bears have a hummmmmin motor sound…So much more to learn. Minnesota needs to protect these collared bears to the fullest possible. I am watching from Gatlinburg, Tn.

      • Phil :)

        To all of you I do realize that research is important. I actually and in the natural resource field. Although i do agree with some and you all have some good points. These bears yes are researched but if you subtract one way of mortality this research is comprimised and not useable I know that this research isnt all about mortality but it does play a big role. I didnt mean to upset any one and the whole part about the DNR and such was to get your attention. Yes it should be legal for NGOs to do there research too but i mean research is research and hunting and other ways of dying are a part of it. Like I said you need it to happen for accurate reseach.

  • Nancy Hill

    If hunters have to take the time to look for 3″ antlers, then they should have to look for the brightly colored ribbons. I am sure the ribbons are much more visible than the 3″ antlers. I hope and pray that the DNR do change their minds.

    • Allison

      I am from the uk, and i collect bear data for Dr Rogers, so i watch these bears daily, and have learnt so much . Do the DNR realise the world is watching. There are going to be a lot of people visiting the area this summer, and its all because of these bears and Dr Rogers giving us the opportunity, to learn first hand, the behaviour and understanding of these beautiful creatures. I think the DNR need to change their old fashioned attitude.They really need to watch the newest programme from the BBC “bear family and me”, then they would see why bears like Hope need to be protected.

      • Suzanne

        The world is indeed watching. I watch regularly from Canada and there was a post above from Austrailia. I know there are people watching from Europe and South Africa as well.

  • Barb Carges

    I have been following Dr. Rogers research for over a year and don’t understand the DNR’s theory that hunters shouldn’t have to take a close enough look to spot the collared bears. The researchers put large strips of brightly colored duck tape on the collars. If the hunter can’t see them then he doesn’t have a good enough visual to take the shot.
    What is the real problem? Is the DNR worried about ticking off the hunters? Do they feel that Dr. Rogers’ work is not important? Or has this matter become an ego driven pissing match?
    If the DNR has a reasonable explanation for not protecting a very small number of bears who are teaching us a lot about the species, I wish that they would let us know what it is.

  • Runcis

    If hunters can look to ensure what they are aiming at is not another human being or a family pet, than surely they can pause and look through their scopes to see whether a bear is wearing a color. Contact your legislators and the Governor folks! The Deputy DNR Administrator’s comment about “fairness” is outrageous and cavalier. Fair to whom — or to what? Geez. Seems that common sense and compassion have taken a siesta.

  • Karen Anderson

    What the MN DNR seems to be unaware of is that the brightly-colored ribbons the research bears wear during hunting season are DUCT TAPE doubled over and stuck to itself. Not only are these VERY durable “ribbons” but somewhat stiff so they protrude from the collar. Anyone with a gun who can’t SEE these ribbons isn’t responsible enough to be hunting for they’d likely shoot a person and not “notice” an orange vest and cap.

    Surely, in a State like Minnesota there can’t be too many hunters who aren’t familiar with DUCT TAPE and how tough it is. Now double it over and tie some knots in it. These gaudy ribbons had to be purposefully removed from Sarah’s collar last year before it was dropped in a DNR mailbox. Some of the pink tape was still stuck to the collar itself. Those ribbons were easily visible before the trigger was pulled on the gun that killed her. A yearling.. For shame …

    • Lisa

      I totally agree with you Karen. I wish people would stop calling them ribbons, as it is totally misleading. If a hunter cannot see these bright calored pieces of duct tape sticking out from the bear’s fur then they don’t have a clear enough view to be sure it is a bear they are shooting. The DNR web site says there are 20,000,bears in Minnesota. Certainly 9 of these can be spared for research.

  • Valerie boyum

    I am a avid lover of animals and anyone who knows me knows that, so I am always behind protecting animals or at least a majority of them from the hunters and such. We need to protect these creatures to give our children and their children some of the same joy we have had with some of the animals that have gotten our attention through media and research. I hope the DNR changes their mind and still protect the collared bears, I mean for crying out loud hunters already have to wait and make sure thier shot is good or safe, or count the antlers, so why can’t they look for a collar that is bright? They have to watch for the orange or flourescent colors of people, so why can’t they do the same for Lily and others like her?
    If we keep taking away from the pool of animal resources out there without researching their lives, they will become extinct and then what will hunters hunt? Us? I don’t think so, so what if we have to protect bears and others, I think the research is important for the continued success of animal population and safety to the public, so if the hunters have to take a few more seconds to make sure then so what?
    I hope the dNR changes its mind soon.

  • ja

    Any hunter with ethics would avoid shooting a radio collared animal.

    Unfortunately the unethical ones would should them whether it is legal or not.

    • MNTaxpayer

      And the unethical hunter is who this law is directed at. These hunters give all hunters a bad name, unfortunately. Hunting is a part of the landscape in MN and a tradition but sportsmen respect the animals they hunt and also realize that research work is an asset to them and well as the rest of the citizens. This law as with so many legislates common sense for those lacking it.

  • Laura Caplan

    The research undertaken by Dr. Rogers, and all of the bears in his study area, are extremely valuable to the State of Minnesota in innumerable ways.

    These research bears are a window into our natural world that provide us with a much deeper understanding of the lives of the bears who we share our world with in the State of Minnesota. The bears in Minnesota belong to all of the residents of our state, not just hunters. And the research bears in Dr. Rogers study are extremely important to many people in Minnesota and all over the world, including hunters, because they provide rare insights into bear behavior and how bears operate in their natural ecosystem.

    How does shooting these invaluable radio collared bears possibly benefit our state? Why should the interests of less than a handful of hunters who want to take quick shots at poorly identified targets far outweigh the needs of a vast number of others in the State of Minnesota (and throughout the world) who greatly value the research being done?

    The bears in Dr. Roger’s study are very clearly marked during hunting season with brightly colored durable ribbons that are designed to be visible in low light conditions. Why would it be a burden to hunters to require them to take a second look before they shoot a bear that is extremely valuable to the State of Minnesota?

    The DNR has this one wrong. It absolutely should be against the law to shoot these collared bears and anything less is a disgrace upon the State of Minnesota.

    • Nancy J. Jorgenson

      I have to totally agree with you Laura ! The world is watching what MN is doing in this situation so I do hope that the DNR will give this a more thorough evaluation before the final decision is made. The great state of MN is also benefiting from increased tourism to the Bear Center in Ely, not to mention all the fund raising that has happened thanks to Dr. Rogers and his work !

      People have been encroaching on our wildlife’s habitat for too long and we need to learn more about the wildlife in our great state of MN so we can all live peacefully together !

      These research bears need to be protected NOW !

  • John LeVasseur

    These bears can’t be hunted. They have gotten use to human contact and they have lost their natural fear of humans. They are at a great disadvantage to other bears not interacting with researchers. Leave it to our DNR not to have a lick of common sense. Just look at the state’s trapping laws. You can pretty much put a trap where ever you want in this state. No shortage of stupid.

    • Sharon H.

      John, Two years ago some vacationer’s came to Gatlinburg, Tn andl rented a cabin. The bears here are so use to eating garbage and people feeding them by hand that they have no fear of humans. The vacationer”s that came from out of state to Gatlinburg, Tn rented a cabin and then set food traps to lure a bear under the cabin they rented. Then they shot the bear. Her name was Nellie…The hunters are long gone and the cabins owner’s are still reeling from their kill and the loss of “Nellie”…Your right John humanized bears have no fear of humans.

  • Lael bradshaw

    oh my you can still trap in MN. that is so inhumane. i thought we had progressed pass that sort of thing, but i guess if hunters can’t see colored duck tape it figures. these bears are very important to wildlife research weather they are the DNR or Dr. Rogers bears. we need all the research we can get at the rate wildlife is vanishing due our ignorance.

  • Anna Pizzolato

    More than a year ago, I saw a link on Yahoo that said I could watch a wild black bear give birth to her cub on a webcam. I began to watch and when the cub (Hope) was born, I . . like so many others . . was totally hooked. Thousands upon thousands of us watch these bears EVERY DAY. Last year’s hunting season was heart-wrenching every day. We lost two bears in that time. NO ONE else in the world is doing the research Dr. Rogers is doing. You’d think Minnesota would be proud to be home to the man who is favorably compared to Jane Goodall in his style of research. It’s time for a law to protect the research bears ..past time, really.
    Wake up, Minnesota!! You have a HUGE natural treasure in your midst. This summer, I plan to visit Minnesota purely because of the bear research. I am not alone. Hundreds of others, perhaps thousands of Lily & Hope, and now Faith & Jason, fans have the potential of spending a LOT of tourist dollars in Minnesota. Don’t blow it. Protect the research bears now, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mary Ellen Letsche

      Anna, I so agree with you. How can the DNR think that they are doing what is right. The state is collecting so much tax from the people who are spending money to feed the bears, gifts to the workers, etc. etc. Also consider the tourism dollars brought into the state. It kind of reminds me of the people in SD griping about the MN hunters and fishermen coming to SD – looks like they are biting the hand that feeds them!!! Think about it are you going to think smart or not. We are watching for you to make a GOOD DECISION for more than a few trophy bear hunters!

  • Rachel Jones

    I am from Minn and I do not want any bear hunted. In this day we are not in need of hunting our food. Perhaps in a few years who knows,but for now NO
    Minn Mom

  • Emma

    I follow this research with much interest from the UK. The research the Bear Centre does is valuable – it’s not about how many bears there are and where they travel – it’s about how these bears live. If a study bear is lost it’s collar can’t simply be placed on another bear – it takes time to build up the trust of another bear for this research. Hopefully people will begin to see what a huge asset these bears are to the area – if money talks then surely on an economic basis the tourism that this interest in bears generates must speak to someone. If it’s not money that talks, then science and reason must suggest that this work is valuable and the radio collared bears require and deserve protection for this long-term study to continue.

  • Vicki Besemer

    The issue isn’t to hunt or not to hunt. The issue is protection for radio collared research bears wearing brightly multi-colored duct tape ribbons. It isn’t just one or two ribbons used to identify the bears as research bears. These ribbons are tied all around the bear’s collar and stick out past their fur in all directions–so much that at times it resembles a new kind of clown collar. There are many pictures on Dr. Rogers’ websites and

    Now DNR Deputy Commissioner Dave Schad said “it would be unfair to put hunters in a position where they have to look for collars before they shoot.” Isn’t it the responsibility of any hunter to know what they are aiming at and take a second look before they pull the trigger? Wouldn’t it be a more accurate statement to say–it would be unfair to any animal, or person, walking through the forest if hunters didn’t take that second look and make a positive identification of what they are shooting. You have it backwards, Mr. Schad.

    The bears that Dr. Rogers is researching are not just any black bear. He is studying the lineage of a 21 year old female black bear. When just one of these bears are killed unnecessarily, it changes the outcome of the research and the results are lost–we will never know what would have happened. For example, I have learned that a female bear gives part of her territory to her female offspring. If one of those bears are shot and killed, the territory is changed, the food supply is changed, behavior is changed, den locations are changed–nothing is as it should have been.

    This is just one tidbit of what I have learned since I watched a wild black bear give birth to her first cub last year; and watched her again this year as she birthed a male and a female cub on the northern border of my State. Now we are witnessing something never before recorded–a mixed litter den (1 yearling and 2 new cubs). In addition to his research, Dr. Rogers has developed an Educational Outreach Program and is working with teachers to provide tools to educate students of all ages about the world of wild black bears and how we can co-exist with them.

    These research bears must be protected. Asking hunters not to shoot them, reaching out and talking to hunters to explain the research hasn’t worked; and as a result two more research bears were killed last season (one was a female yearling). No, not all hunters would be so unethical, but there is proof in the past. Protect these bears so that they live to teach us and our young.

    • Nancy J. Jorgenson

      Vicki…. very well said ! It’s so much more than just about hunting ! We can only hope that our DNR officials or the MN state Legislature can protect these bears so we all can benefit from the wonderful research that Dr. Rogers has dedicated his life to providing for all the human race to learn from !

  • Stephen

    I am another UK visitor – the work the Bear Centre does is truly invaluable and apart from this research the potential revenue from the additional tourists who would come to the area must far outweigh the commercial benefits of hunting these amazing animals.

    Just to observe the bears makes one wonder how anyone could possibly want to shoot them dead.

    Tune in to the Bear Centre website and you will be converted to the cause.

  • Anj

    Dr. Rogers and the NABC have reached far and beyond Ely, Minnesota. My 7yr old son did a book report on a book written about Lily’s birth of Hope and shared it with his classroom in Southwestern Ontario. The Webcam is an amazing insight into the nurturing side of these animals and how little we really knew about hibernation. It is incredible to view these animals in their habitat and not stuffed in a museum or displayed in a zoo. I definitely would visit the NABC if I was ever in the area.

    I think Dr. Roger’s research is both valuable and important and I would think that Hunters would want to make sure that the numbers stay sustainable. Every resource needs an expert and I am sure Dr. Rogers is the leading expert in Minnesota on the subject of Black Bears. Dr. Rogers works hard to mark his bears in a very obvious fashion so the hunters do not have to question if the bear in their target is a research bear or not. The number of research bears is not that great and if the Hunters cannot spare 9 bears then maybe the number of bears in that area is not enough to warrant hunting.

    • Jean

      Well said Anj……..

      I too live in Southwestern Ontario and have been following these bears since Hope’s birth last year. Dr. Rogers research is vital in promoting the truth about how these bears live. Live….not die.

      Anyone wanting to help support Dr. Rogers research can visit

      The names and addresses of the legislative representatives can be found there.

      Please, please send letters and help to get a law passed to protect these radio-collared bears.

  • V. Thor

    Where is it written that humans have the right to hunt for sport? Where is the sport in killing another creature? The bears of Dr. Rogers’ research study should be protected. Shame on the MN DNR for not valuing the benefits of studying the fellow inhabitants of this planet over the cruel and outdated “sport” of hunting.

  • bill thompson

    dnr good goiny a year old ear is fair game ive unted the for 30 years theres lots off bears quit cryiny its just a bear thanks bill trapper

    • Laura Caplan

      Well if “theres lots off bears” then why can’t you just go and find another one that doesn’t have a collar on????? Leave these invaluable research bears alone!

    • Jean Kampmeyer

      Would you really purposely shoot a research bear, just because you believe “a bear is a bear?”. Exactly, “theres lots of bears”, so why shoot a bear that is part of a research study in Minnesota? And a bear that is followed by so many people in Minn and worldwide? These bears are so important to us and we aren’t asking much, so why can’t you support us and agree not to shoot collared research bears?. Can’t we all just get along. I respect your right to hunt. You respect my right to follow research research bears. Thanks for listening.

  • Alexis Maureen

    I live in Minnesota. I’m not a hunter, but enjoy the outdoors. My husband and his family have hunted for 5 generations in the Paul Bunyan forest. My husband is a very careful hunter and says he looks twice before shooting anything. One, to make sure it’s an animal, and two, to make sure it’s legal prey (antlers). I asked him how long this takes. He said ” a second or two”. Surely, responsible bear hunters can take an additional second to verifiy that the bear is wearing neon colored duct tape standing straight up, extending 12″ from it’s collar. There are plenty of bears. Please leave the research bears alive and in peace.

  • Kathy Gebicke

    I’m very disappointed in the DNR’s decision. The DNR doesn’t seem to recognize the value of these bears. Perhaps its because the DNR isn’t interested in how bears live and interact. The DNR seems to only be looking at bears in our world as a commodity to be hunted. What about the other folks who like to enjoy bears and learn from bears and photograph bears? Why can’t the DNR consider the fact that the bears belong to all of us and it is the DNR’s responsibility to “manage” them for the benefit of everyone, not just hunters. Just think of the national treasures that would have been lost if someone hadn’t stepped in and saved them for all to enjoy. Learning about bears and the way they live and interact has been amazing. I hope the DNR will reconsider their decision. It’s not that hard to take an extra moment to look for ribbons. I applaud the hunters who support the protection of radio collared bears and refuse to shoot collared bears. Shame on the DNR!

  • Diane H.

    The MN DNR’s “Good old boys” attitude toward protecting these few ribboned and radio collared bears is decades behind the times. These research bears are followed around the world and factual information about the lives of the bears is being taught in at least 70 classrooms in MN, and 500 classrooms in other states and countries. I request the Commissioner to re-visit this call for protection of the research bears and reconsider his decision. Theis issue is not going to go away. Myself and my family have learned much about how bears live and what they do. Why should a hunter with poor eyesight not be required to look closer at his target. Why should their right to kill research animals be favored over my rights as a taxpayer supporting the DNR?

  • Maureen Walsh

    I have been following Dr Lynn and his radio collared bears for over a year now and I have to say I have learned so much, I have gained a new appreciation and respect for bears and it is all thanks to the great work that Dr Lynn and his staff at the NABC is doing, They do it the right way, they do not tranqualise the bears to gain their information, they walk with the bears. The DNR needs to wake up and realise that we are not asking for all bears to be protected, just a few special bears that Dr Lynn has invested his time in to gather a history on them. Children are being taught about black bears in school, we get daily updates on the bears, we have watched them hibernate and give birth. This is real important. I ask you to wake up, listen to the people and DO THE RIGHT THING…. PROTECT THE RADIO COLLARED BEARS… PLEASE

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