MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular Minnesota Bear being tracked by the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely is missing.

The institute wrote about it in a blog post on its web site, called “Losing Hope.” Hope is a cub of “Lily the Bear,” who was popularly featured on a live web cam and had thousands of followers.

They are still working with the Minnesota DNR, but fear Hope may have been shot by a hunter. A bait site had been spotted earlier in the week before Hope went missing.

It is not illegal to kill radio-collared bears, but the Institute asks hunters not to do so because of the information they can gather from these bears.

Hope was actually not a collared bear as each time researchers put one on her, she found a way to take it off. But she is one of their research bears, and without the collar it makes it tough for hunters to identify research bears.

Comments (96)
  1. Chris says:

    The problem is the bear was a year old and couldnt be collared despite several attempts by the research team. Nevertheless, baiting an animal in an area where radio collared bears frequent is absurd.

    1. Meg says:

      Who shot Hope?
      But if his / her name were revealed he/she might feel hunted.

    2. Cathy says:

      The idiot hunter that shot this special YOUNG bear shoud be MAN ENOUGH to come forward and receive whatever public punishment he desierves. BAITING IS NOT HUNTING, MY ASSUMPTION IS HE DID THIS JUST FOR FUN! COME ON MAN – – MAN IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Josh says:

        Punishment for what shooting a bear during hunting season. You people need to grow up and understand thats part of life. You don’t say this about the cow meat you buy from the store. Its the samething.

  2. pat mckibbage says:

    The bear called Hope was not wearing a radio collar/bright ribbons during this periode of time…

    1. Jackie Du Charme says:

      Thats true she was not. But didn’t the hunter see all three bears prior to this setting up bait?
      For one thing , any Bear hunter that sets up bait is one of the laziest hunters on the planet. They just want to waddle back to their chairs and wait.
      Try setting up bait in Alaska for a bear. ha ha ha

      1. Josh says:

        Just so you know. Hope would have been by herself. Her mother kicked her away once she had that other cub.

  3. Don says:

    Pat, are you the one that shot her?

  4. Mary Bach Floren says:

    She was and is a very special bear!! Losing her has millions upset. Patience is a verture, hunters need to have that. There are good hunters who respect the research then there are the ones who give hunting a bad name. If she was shot “HOPE” it was painless.

    1. Smokey says:

      By any chance was Amy Senser driving in the area? That could explain it.

    2. I Hate Ignorance says:

      You’re gonna blame a hunter who shot a bear w/out a collar? Wow.

      1. Mary Bach Floren says:

        I thought you said I hate ingnorance.. Well?

    3. cathy says:


  5. chris says:

    i dont think Pat shot her

    1. I know Pat shot her says:

      Yes she did,

      1. Karen says:

        Stop the rumors. If you know Pat, you know HE didn’t shoot her!

  6. Jen Flederbach says:

    I’m not completely against hunting, especially when a true “hunt” is involved, but when someone walks up to an animal and shoots it while it’s there eating the food that a person dumped there, that is NOT hunting.

    1. chris says:

      I feel really bad for the little children that have been following the story of HOPE in their classrooms. And for their teachers too. And for the parents of these children. The story of these research bears was broadcast worldwide. , within classrooms and in the media. I can understand an aggressive bear and personal safety issues, but not tossing food in an area and shooting an animal when it eats.

    2. Sad says:

      I agree! I think food plots and bait stations should be illegal. Its not a fair game, its just a way to get the kill quicker because the hunter has gotten lazy and impatient. Hunting is not about necessity anymore, it’s about bragging rights. Hope had to much publicity and was targeted for it> Again, bragging rights. I think whoever shot Hope, if Hope was shot, is a very shameful hunter.

      1. Josh says:

        What would you know about hunting. Your one of those people who sit at home and cry over some animal. Where do you think your food come from in the store. Its animal. And As for bait stations and food plots. Yes it helps bring them in. But it also allows for a cleaner kill so the animal does not run off and die and not be found. You all need to grow up and get a real life.

    3. Barbara says:

      I had agreed with banning bait hunting till I read Dr Lynn Rogers stance on it. He is the reason it is how hunters hunt in MN. Prior to that change hunters were wounding the bears, but were unable to find the injured bear. Dr Rogers does not want hunters to injury lots of bears before getting the kill. So he recommended & supports bait hunting.

      1. Dr. Kevorkian says:

        I agree. Bait hunting is kind of like euthanasia. It’s very humane.

        1. Patima says:

          I agree bait hunting should be banned…how sad

  7. Christine W says:

    Your right she is a very special bear….my heart is broken….:(

  8. Karen says:

    If Hope was shot, we can’t blame the hunter. If the hunter mentioned in the update did shoot her, I’m sure he feels bad. He obviously didn’t shoot any of the other research bears that went to the bait station because he could tell they were research bears. Unfortunately if Hope went to the bait area without Lily, he wouldn’t have known she was with the research bears. From the update it sounds like he is a hunter who respects the research and its just unfortunate that Hope may have been away from Lily and not been recognized. I don’t fault the hunter. I am sad thinking Hope may have been taken but I’m very grateful for all the knowledge we have gained from her in the past year and a half. We have truly been blessed to be able to witness all that we have. I plan to continue following the research bears and thank all the hunters for their cooperation in protecting collared bears.

    1. Barbara says:

      Karen, I agree with you. It is very important the hunters not be blamed it if fact Hope was shot. I will be very sad, but she did not have a collar on 🙁

      1. Sad says:

        A collar doesn’t even mean the bear is “technically” off limits, hunters can still shoot them. The location where Hope was living was definately advertised and any hunter in that area knew what bears were in that particular area, so it becomes more of a trophy hunt to kill a popular bear. The DNR and researchers had plenty of communication out to please not shoot these bears, but as noted in the article, a bait feeder was put in that exact location, so someone obviously has no respect and in my opinion acted very selfishly.

    2. Jen Flederbach says:

      He SHOULD feel BAD.

  9. Jill says:

    If she has truly been shot I hope that the hunter will tell the researchers the truth quickly (and that the DNR will get back to them with info regarding whether or not any young females were registered in the area.) If this is what happened it is truly a senseless tragedy, but to not admit what happened is cruel. We’re all hoping she is still out there somewhere, so please give the researchers the info they need. They deserve closure if this is in fact her fate. When I think of all the bear knowledge they had yet to learn from this one bear… and the thought that she might’ve been killed just because she happened to be foraging in the woods, just out of sight of her mom and little sister… So many people are out there praying for this bear. Please do the right thing, whoever you are….

  10. Kristy Sweeten says:

    Doc and Sue tried many times this summer to get a collar on Hope but for some reason she refused to keep it on. So I can’t be really mad at the hunter if he/she killed Hope but please just tell the truth and let Doc and Sue know about it so we just know the truth about what happen to Hope.

  11. Citizen says:

    Bait stations and baiting bears should be illegal. That is not sport hunting, that is simply killing for the sake of killing; it hardly gives the hungry bear a chance.

      1. Citizen says:

        @Kristy. I read the article. I greatly dislike the human response to hunting animals being characterized as “management” of a wild species. For some reason most species did just fine without humans playing g o d by trying to “manage” their numbers. As far as I’m concerned, all hunting could be eliminated and I would not miss it!

    1. Don says:

      Can I ask why the only one that seems to have rights is the hunter??!! And not the researchers, the people that support the animals/researchers and the animals themselves? Is it because their lobby is just too big??!!??

      1. ohoh says:

        the people who support the animals/eresearchers are the taxpayers of MN

  12. hunthunthunt says:

    Karen does not blame the hunter. He had a choice. Just call a spade a spade.

    Some day soon the hunters will be hunted.

    Bears were not put on the earth to be violated by humans. Humans no longer
    need bear meat and bear fur. Try consuming some of the food mountains that
    humans are creating. Try wearing the synthetic materials that are being thrown
    away or destroyed as they are not wanted/surplus to requirements.

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      Come and get me! I’m guessing I’m better armed than you pinkos!

  13. fred says:

    pity the hunter who did this. his trouble has just begun

    1. Don says:

      Please do not threaten, it does no good and you will never know who shot her.

    2. Karen says:

      If she was shot, the hunter didn’t do anything wrong.

      1. Don says:

        IF the hunter did not know who she was….

      2. Jill says:

        Maybe you should say “the hunter didn’t do anything illegal.” Hunting is legal. That doesn’t make it right.

        1. so sad says:

          same as abortion Jill legal, but not right.

  14. TELLITASITIS says:


    1. Jill says:

      Agree! Humans are the most despicable creatures on the planet.

  15. cowardly says:


  16. Mad says:

    I think baiting should be illegal for hunting. It isn’t fair to the bears, they’re naturally going to go after an easy food source. I personally don’t like hunting and can’t understand how anyone can actually ENJOY it, but when people hunt ONLY to get a trophy it really makes me angry. It isn’t hunting when you bait something, its laziness and it’s sick.

    1. sherry r. says:

      I agree!!! wow.. what a sport, baiting an area and waiting til a poor bear comes into view.. where is the sport in that??? I bet he didn’t even get his shoes dirty… this makes me so mad!!!!! I thought hunting was tracking an animal in the woods, not baiting poor bears looking for a food source when food is scarce this time of year.. I agree LAZY and sick…

  17. CHICKEN says:


  18. josie says:

    so DON…what’s your link? who shot her?

  19. sherry r. says:

    wow.. feel like a REAL hunter .. have to bait an area to get the poor bears to come into view.. why don’t you go out in the woods.. oh are you scared YOU might get shot.. suck it up HUNTER.. this bear was a research bear.. shame on YOU!!! KARMA >>> KARMA.. one day!!! just wait!!!

  20. diana says:

    it may not be illegal to bait and kill, but it is surely morally and ethically wrong [regardless of the reasoning noted @bear.org]. What a ripple effect this bear kill will have. The hunter knew the area was ‘sensitive’ for research bears having seen the colored ribbons on a couple of radio collared bears already . . .why take the chance of hunting there? A cheap 60 second thrill . . . it doesn’t take much to destroy a beautiful creature. And for what? What is that hunter going to do with the bear now?

  21. chris says:

    How can you shoot an animal at a bait station and watch it die? Whats the motivation in that? That hunter knew it was entering a region frequented by research bears and you cant tell me that they were unaware of the HOPE story. C’mon…somebody out there knows something!!!!

  22. veryangryperson says:

    When will it be in-season to hunt hunters?

    1. sherry r. says:

      YAY!!! now can we bait them with beer????

      1. veryangryperson says:

        Love that Idea, sherry r.

  23. Zing says:

    Bear hunting is not hunting. It’s putting food out for weeks then one day gunning down the animal that is used to coming to get it. Bear meat is not even that good. Bears are also pretty smart. The only reason to do it is so you feel cool because you killed a bear and you get a rug or something. If you are a bear hunter and you want to feel like you earned it then go out to Montana and hike alone in the mountains with a pistol and a knife. If you walk out of there with a big griz then you can feel cool. Leave the little black bears alone you idi0ts.

    1. sherry r. says:

      well said ZING! well said!!!

  24. TL the alligator says:

    shot by A HUNTER?….LOL…..i dont think so…….these idiots who go into the woods and shoot unsuspecting bears that are baited are NOT HUNTERS any more than the people who sit in a tree and shoot deer are…..THAT IS NOT HUNTING…..that is merely killing an animal for no legit reason so call it what it is. These people who do this just want to shoot their gun and kill something, anything really. They are of low moral character, have “little man” complex, very little if any consciounce, and have a serious emotional disconnect…..there is NOTHING admirable about this kind of activity…..in life they too will get their just paybacks……maybe afterlife as well.

    1. veryangryperson says:

      Amen, TL.

    2. Jackie Du Charme says:

      I agree. They are not real hunters. Just little boys playing big guy. Kind of an idiot hunting if you ask me.

  25. veryangryperson says:

    We don’t need anymore stupid stadiums! You might be good on the grill too.

  26. VIKES TO L.A. says:


  27. Chris says:

    dont appreciate being called a clueless anti-hunt whack job given the fact you know nothing about me at all. Just because I am concerned about this particular bear does not mean you have the right to be disrespectful.

    1. sorry says:

      You are correct. I was angered that WCCO was fanning the flames again, and at the violent, threatening anti-hunting comments. I apologize for being insulting. I should have made a more reasoned response

      1. Karu says:

        Sorry – I wanted to hit “reply” and I accidentally hit “report comment” – I didn’t want to report your comment, I wanted to thank you for reposting and apologizing. That says a lot about your character. I’ve been following the FB page all day because I’m a teacher that has been following the bears with my students for the past year. Hopefully, it has encouraged some kids to come out from behind their computers and actually interact with nature. I’ve been impressed at how much the people responding on the FB page have actually censored each other and have deleted any threatening comments. Personally, I don’t agree or understand with hunting for sport or trophy but I know many hunters that love animals and nature as much as I do. My aunt is a park ranger in Yellowstone and I even impressed her with all my black bear knowledge I’ve amassed over the year. I made a trip to Ely this summer to canoe and visit the bear center. I’ve travelled to 40 countries but had never been to that part of the state. My point is, I’m far from clueless and my heart will heal, but Hope and Lily, more than other bears, have benefitted the Ely community and really the global community through all we’ve learned from them. Anyway, thanks again for your reflection.

  28. Lisa says:

    If Hope has been killed, the moral thing to do is to admit it so the NABC and millions of fans can grieve. I feel for the parents and teachers following Lilly, Hope and Faith when they have to explain to the children that Hope has been killed. AND if Hope has been taken from us, do the moral thing and turn her body over to the NABC so she can be buried and honored properly. It’s the least you can do.

  29. di says:

    the ‘circle of life’ is a natural phenomenon, not man-made

    1. wrongo says:

      That is where your ignorance lies: the assumption that man is not part of nature.

  30. angry says:

    no, that is not how life works. This was murder!

  31. Pat Boone says:

    How sad it is to lose this small bear who survived everything nature put forth but died by a bullet. Weighed maybe 100 lbs, 20 months old, observed by hundreds of schoolkids learning about nature and wildlife. The schoolkids will have another fact to add to their knowledge this coming week. Hope’s life gave much information from her first cry, observed by thousands, and through out her short life. I only wish you had spared her ,Mr. Hunter,so that the education could have continued. I’m sure there were many other bears available because of the food shortage in the forest, your bait pile would have gotten more visits.

  32. hope Hope is ok says:

    I hope they find the bear alive. It’s a big area and hopfully she’s just laying low or just hasn’t been spotted yet. I believe the vast majority of hunters feel the same way. Those who watched Hope are understandably upset. Please remember it doesn’t help to villify hunters or hunting, just like it doesn’t help when I as a hunter get angry and respond in kind. If someone did shoot Lily this will make it less likely that he will contact the DNR or Rogers, and no one will ever no what happened. The fact that we live in an industrialized, technological society often makes us forget that we are still part of nature. We survived as a species because of our ability to hunt and eat meat, and it may come in handy in the future if things go south for “civilization.” In the meantime, there are many who enjoy the sport and tradition of hunting. Please don’t use this as an opportunity to speak violently against somethng just because you do not approve of it.

    1. Lisa C says:

      Just so you are aware, it is Hope who is missing, not her mother Liily.

    2. Josh says:

      Shes dead get over it

  33. JR says:

    1 This bear is only feared dead. Its location right now is unknown. How about you and WCCO not jump to any conclusion before the facts are known.

    2 This bear if dead could have been killed by a number of reasons beyond hunting. If it was hit by a car should everybody in Ely turn over their cars keys since they are in the area where there are reseach bears?? What if it was wolves? Will you all then help delist them so those can be hunted instead an save the bears? Keep in mind wolve numbers at an all time high and nusence issues are escalating as well. They are considered pests just like bears used to be.

    3 If it was killed and was killed by a hunter. According to the article the bear did not have a collar. Without a collar how is any hunter supposed to know for sure if it was a research bear???? Just because it is in area does not mean it is a reasearch bear. I am sure there are bears in this area that are not research bears.

    4 would you be so hard on the hunter (again IF that was even the case) was perhaps a youth hunter on his last wish type of hunt and was his last wish. point being do not be so quick to judge this hunter. You do not know them.

    5 Hunting seasons do protect animals. do control populations so humans and animals coexsists, also so they do not outgrtow their habitat and thus in turn starve out themselves. When natural populations are low there are restrictions on how much one can harvest. If populations are high then harvests are increased. Point being hunting seasons are very important to the ecosystem.

    6 Bears are the only game that has baiting as a part of the hunting process. Unlike other states like WI that allow bait for even deer. There is reasons for baiting, if they could be taken at a high success rate without wounded animals then that would be the case.

    point being know your facts and do not be so quick to judge others when you do not even know what the real story is.

  34. Eric says:

    The shooter knew who Hope was.

    1. JR says:

      How do you know? This article does not even say the bear is dead!

      Oh I forgot to mention research bears should number not names. They are not domestic animals.Giving them names gives you a false sence of ownership or connection that should not be there. No matter how much you love them they are not yours or anyone elses for that matter.

  35. Lisa C says:

    I don’t think that Lily fans, for the most part, blame the hunter. Hope did not have a collar, so it would not be obvious that she was a research bear. I think we would just like to know for sure if Hope was killed by a hunter. Dr. Roger’s said they know the hunter that was in the area, but his email’s have been unanswered. If the hunter could just provide a picture to the researchers so that they could identify the bear as being Hope, or not, I know it would be a great relief to many. Not knowing has been the hardest part.

  36. oh oh says:

    I think the bear died in the fire, because they don’t clean out the brush and want the forest to be untouched by man, i.e. cleaning the dead fall out. The fires are hard to contain and the bear perished.

  37. Jessica says:

    Praying that our dear Hope is safe, Donna as well. <3 <3

  38. Kristy Sweeten says:

    All of Hope’s fans want to know if she was shot or not…..that is all 🙁

  39. Judy says:

    Bear hunting should be illegal! I became interested in the stories of the Ely bears in the UK when they were televised there. The creatures of the earth belong to all of us wherever we live. Why would anyone want to kill these magnificent animals? I know practically nothing about bears, but I trust in the sincerity of Dr Rogers,his researchers and other interested folk who work relentlessly for the protection of the black bears of Minnesota. I wish that Hope is denned somewhere, although it seems unlikely.

  40. Kate G. says:

    What Hope and Lily (of course Doc and crew led the way) have done for public education of the black bear is unsurpassed. Because of technology we have all been able to see through a lens what goes on in their lives. Good and bad. For now baiting of bears is legal in Minnesota – the country is now seeing this first hand. You never know what an impact of a loss like this could do to the power of public opinion It is extremely emotional for all those that have been captivated by these bear families. And no matter what happened to Hope— hopefully good will come.

  41. SueB says:

    I grew up around real hunters. They never baited. They never used dogs to flush out their prey. They never sat around waiting for deer to enter a meadow at dusk or dawn to feed. I’d like to think that if a hunter took out Hope he’d be devastated and would report it, but if he baited he really doesn’t care about animals so he won’t care that he took out a bear that is beloved by many thousands of people around the world. Most likely his only concern is that he lost his bragging rights about his kill, since to brag would most likely bring the wrath of many thousands of people down on him!

  42. SueB says:

    It appears like a local named Pat is the culprit. A couple other locals named Karen and JR are busy covering for him.

    1. wojo says:

      the pat you are impling to be the culprit is very involved with NABC

      1. dee says:

        Isn’t it amazing how Hope was the only bear not collared and for the 700,000 Rogers has taken in from fans he couldn’t find a way to collar her? Even more amazing that the man “who walks with bears” wasn’t walking to protect her when he knew she was in a baiting area. Something fishy going on here. Of course now the donations are pouring in again. Sacraficial lamb perhaps?

  43. dee says:

    She was a baby. You knew exactly who she was. You were so annoyed that you had to pass up the ribboned bears. You knew it was Hope and told yourself it was ok because she didn’t have a ribbon. you set that bait when they were starving. You are a lazy thug, not a hunter.
    Why don’t you write the letter to the school children and explain to them why you shot the baby that they loved? Stand up Pat.

  44. sara says:

    It’s only a sport when the bear can shoot back….

  45. Dee Hunt says:

    As a teacher in northern MN. I am appalled that the NABC did not make an attempt to protect that bear they made an international celebrity and encouraged teachers everywhere to watch her life. I will have students today crying their eyes out. Yes, life has hard lessons to learn, but it isn’t Dr. Rogers responsibility to teach children how cruel life can be. However, it is and was his responsibility to manage the sensation he created. I give him an F.

  46. tc says:

    i think it was a easily kill

  47. anita says:

    my haert goes out to dr rogers and researchers for all they did with lily and hope because my son and i watch there baers from day one when you showed lily havinghope and we come to love there baers and now to hear that hope was shot just broke our haerts, so place watch over lily and her cub ,god bless and aiso rip hope we’ll miss you

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