By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s concern that Hope, one of the world’s most famous black bears, may be dead in northern Minnesota.

Hope’s mother, Lily, became an Internet sensation when a camera in her den captured Hope’s birth in January of 2010. But Hope disappeared more than a week ago, and there’s been no sign of her since.

Hope, her mother and her sister, Faith, are a part of a long term study of black bears at the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minn.

The family of three has been inseparable, that’s why biologist Lyn Rogers wasn’t too concerned that Hope would find ways to take off her radio collar.

“We couldn’t keep one on her, but we hoped with her being with Lilly and Faith that [the hunters] would have mercy,” Roger said.

The last time Hope was seen with her family was on Sept.14 at 7:05 p.m. In the location where she was last seen, Rogers said a hunter had put down bait in order to shoot bears.

“On the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth, Lily … and family were visiting that hunter’s bait, and then the next time we saw them, it was just Lilly and Faith,” Rogers said.

Rogers fears Hope has been shot. He said it’s too much of a coincidence that Lily is missing after a hunter baited in the bear’s territory.

Rogers said he has been trying to reach the hunter who was baiting bears in the area, but he has not heard back.

The hunter told Rogers that he would not shoot a collard bear, Rogers said. But Hope was not wearing a collar, due to her always finding ways to take them off.

Even if Hope were wearing a collar, it is not illegal to shoot a collared research bear in Minnesota. However, the the Department of Natural Resources asks hunters not to shoot collard bears, because they are used for research.

Reg Chapman

Comments (50)
  1. still a chance says:

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed. There’s still a chance she’s OK. The hunter said he wouldn’t shoot a collared bear. If Hope’s collar was off and she was shot, I imagine he will fear reprisals considering the violent and threatening sentiments expressed by the anti-hunters. Still, there’s still a chance she’s OK so if you don’t think it’s inappropriate to pray for a bear, remember her in your prayers.

    1. Edward Eubanks says:

      Why is this bear any more important to you than any other bear. I can understand the importance the bear may have had for researchers, but if we allow the shooting of bears, then Hope;’s death is just another one of many.

      1. still a chance says:

        I totally agree with you.but as a hunter this bear is important to me because I don’t want the anti-hunting fallout that would result from it’s death. I also understand the importance this bear has for researchers and its fans, so I’m just expressing my hope that it’s still OK.

      2. theresa says:

        Obviously the folks at the research center get attached to these bears, and that is why she is so importanr to them.Also the researchers follow these bears from birth to old age and now have to discontinue their research on this particular bear and her habits.

      3. llaauurriiee says:

        @Edward: Hope’s death is just another one of many?…..apparently you do not know of what you speak. She is the first cub who’s birth was witnessed on the internet, she is/was a part of a mixed-age litter – not uncommon, but never before observed or witnessed at length (ie, studied), and because of her we’ve learned much about the North American Black Bear. What do you learn from a dead bear? The learning would have continued, but apparently there are people in this world against education. Thousands around the world followed her, including many, many classrooms in the US. Just another one of many?

    2. Dr. Kevorkian says:

      They might express threatening sentiments but at least animal rights activists don’t carry guns with them everywhere they go. I’m more worried about the loony toon gun “enthusiasts” then the animal rights activists. The NRA is responsible for putting more guns out on the streets then the Crips or the Bloods.

      1. Animaniacs says:

        Nice try doc. Look at D.C. and then let’s talk gun nuts. For 30 years they had an all out ban on handguns, and they had one of the highest gun murder rates in the country. The states with the strictest gun laws have the most gun crime. You don’t see many Bloods and Crips in line to get carry permits. The legal gun owners have proven to be the least dangerous. Sorry for the inconvenient truth but thems the facts.

        1. Dr. Kevorkian says:

          Figures lie and liars figure, Mr. Maniac. Those findings you cite might actually mean something if guns couldn’t be transported across state lines. As long as handguns are easy to obtain in most parts of our country it doesn’t much matter what laws cities or states enact. The NRA ensures guns are easily obtained and then criminals steal the guns from the “legal” gun owners and put them out on the street. You said that legal gun owners are the least dangerous. Compared to violent criminals, you are correct but that doesn’t say much. Legal gun owners are more dangerous then the unarmed citizen. The NRA won’t be satisfied until we can purchase guns from vending machines. I have to believe there is a special place in hell reserved for NRA members.

          1. Robert Cook says:

            So easy to condemn someone to hell in an online environment. I would invite you to condemn an NRA member to hell while standing on his front porch. Mine is available.

            1. Justisway says:

              You just proved Dr K’s point.

            2. Karma says:

              I’ll come to your porch anyday, anytime! Bring it!

        2. rockysfan says:

          Seriously? You’re using DC as your argument? All anyone in DC needed to do was take a train or even a bus across the state line to buy, maybe a 30 minute ride. Please, at least make an attempt at having a reasonable statement as the base of your argument!

    3. theresa says:

      I am praying for HOPE!

    4. Dorlea Ho says:

      I`m praying for U HOPE. I hope this has a happy ending. Love and Aloha!

    5. dEB says:

      You know, if these bears have brought joy to so many people. So be it!
      Lord knows this world needs more of that these days.

  2. Pat says:

    Bear baiting is not “hunting”. It is luring an animal within range of a high powered weapon and killing it. Bear baiting is not a sport. It takes no skill and less knowledge. It is a simple, brutal, lazy way for a person to behave.

    1. Guy says:

      I don’t understand why it’s needed to kill a bear in the first place. Food ? grocery store, Sport, are you kidding ? what is a sport about shooting a wild animal. Unless it had a gun too !

      Must be too many cousins inter marring in Minnesota

    2. theresa says:

      I totally agree Pat!

  3. hre says:

    ” . . . he will fear reprisals considering the violent and threatening sentiments expressed by the anti-hunters . . .”

    such peace loving people

  4. BearsRus says:

    Uh Pat, have you ever hunted bear? If you please explain your methods and also your success rate. Perhaps your just an anti hunting troll?

    1. pat says:

      I hunt. but not for bear. I don’t wish to eat a bear. Wormy meat, I heard. I know hunting when I see hunting, and bear baiting ain’t. When I was a kid we’d “hunt” the county dumps for skunk and rats at night fall. We’d see the occasional bear too, but never thought to shoot one.

      Bear baiting has nothing to do with hunting and everything to do with killing. It is stupid behavior.It is carried out by city dudes and country clods who want ot boast in the bar or hang a skin on their wall to brag on……

      1. DEAN says:

        WELL SAID PAT!!!!!!!!

      2. pat says:

        From your aggressive com’ments, I believe that you should not have a gun in your hands. I have spent most of my adult life hunting with bears and not the little black ones you stock in your woods around here. I only kill what I want to eat, andI have never craved bear flesh. But I do know that hunting via fair chase is the only way to hunt with any honesty.

  5. DNR to Blame!! says:

    This is the DNR’s fault. They simply could have said (and posted) “the research bears are off limits”. But no, they had to be soft and suggest no one shoot them.. Really to some of the hunters out there that was a “game on” challenge to find and shoot them. I am not anti hunting/fishing, but baiting an animal, using laser scopes and heat seeking missiles is not a sport, nor are underwater cameras etc for fishing. I truly understand the ‘thinning the herd’ concept…it took me a few years, but it get it. There are so many great hunters/stewards of the earth out there….too bad a few knuckleheads have to ruin it for everyone.:-(

    1. Larry F. says:

      No one I hunt with wastes meat. I don’t know about anyone else. We call it wanton waste in Minnesota. Your big game made of cream cheese?

      1. pat says:

        Whoops. I must have ben craving some Chinese when I wrote that.

  6. mark trail says:

    Heat seeking missles? Really?

  7. John W. Noraas says:

    This is what happens when you try to make animals into people….This :research” should never have been allowed in the first place. If Rogers wants pet bears he can open his own privately run, privately funded, privately maintained closed private property to keep the rest of us from having to deal with his misrepresentations.

    1. pat says:

      You, sir, are out of youir “free market” mind!

  8. Meg says:

    Who killed Hope? I would imagine the person doing the killing would be in hiding so as not to become the hunted. Not with guns, but with condemnation.
    Ironic, isn’t it.

  9. Still WIld says:

    You can give them cute names, you can research them, you can love them, but they are still wild animals. No condemnation here. I’m guessing that if Hope showed up in your backyard with or without a collar, you’d remember she’s wild. Or perhaps not, and then we’d see your mauled body on ‘CCO.

  10. Carol says:

    If you knew anything about the research you would know that the most important finding is that black bears are not naturally aggressive. Their bluster is used to scare what they perceive as a threat away. Their charges stop short of making contact and then they retreat.

  11. Fair Hunter says:

    I’ve admired the research done by the biologists at the North American Bear Center and their desire to study bears in their native habitat. It is sad that decades of research has been undone by a lazy “hunter” who believed that luring a research bear with food and then slaughtering it while it fed qualified as a sport. Real hunters have no respect for him, and it would not be surprising if his cowardly hunting practices are now followed by a cowardly decision to hide his actions from the public.

    1. Larry F. says:

      If a hunter did kill hope it isn’t his responsibility to report it to the public. His only requirement is to register the bear with the DNR. The public doesn’t have a right to know who killed this particular bear. Just because you want to know doesn’t mean it’s your right to know. Seriously, grow up.

      1. Lisa C says:

        As a bear research follower, I don’t really care what the hunter’s name is. I would just like to know if she is dead, or out there roaming on her own. I don’t think that is too much to ask of the hunter.

  12. Karen says:

    Wow Brian you really don’t understand the significance of this one particular bear. May I suggest you educate yourself before you post. Have you spent any time looking at the research and what is being studied? Perhaps you could go to and click on the Education tab. You can see the lesson plans that thousands of kids are using. If you’re smart enough you may even find the answer as to why this particular bear is of such significance in the long term study.

    1. Karen says:

      Brian I’m glad to hear you say if this bear had a collar you wouldn’t have shot her. Unfortunately as you say she didn’t have a collar and was “fair game” as you put it. My point was in regards to your comment regarding “finding another one to love”. The research information this particular bear could have provided cannot be provided by any other bear. It has nothing to do with her popularity, it has to do with the particular relationships she had and would have had with other bears in the clan that is being studied. Once again I refer you to and hope you take this opportunity to learn more.

  13. YUM YUM!!! says:


  14. Mike says:

    If baiting is so right then why can we not bait deer??? the DNR sends mixed messages, and baiting should be allowed on all game or none. all this sounds like a high school debate. and useless.

  15. terry says:

    I’ve never ever ever heard of a hunter or anyone eating bear meat.

  16. Patty Bray-Plumley says:

    It tastes great! GULP~

  17. shannon says:

    nice…someone puts out bait, lays in wait for a very, very hungry bear to come by and eat and then shoots the bear. then….we congratulate the ‘hunter’???? nice sport folks!!!!

  18. shannon says:

    and…the ‘hunter’ shoots a yearling that is still nursing…quite the challenge sir!!!!!

  19. seb says:

    Robert Cook…leave your address with your invitation. I’d be happy to drop by to condemn you…you piece of poop….

  20. Jessy says:

    I don’t believe in baiting – that just says lazy hunter to me. What’s so hard about that?

    It also appears that mostly inept people looking for attention post on here as well in order to taunt people who actually care.

  21. Wil says:

    “The hunter told Rogers that he would not shoot a collard bear, Rogers said.” ??? What in hell is a “collard bear”? This is a bear, not a damn vegetable. Another case of semi-literate news-twits not paying attention.

  22. Kyllya says:

    If a person isn’t hunting for food then they shouldn’t be allowed to hunt. How is killing for a trophy on the wall fun? People who enjoy hunting because they like to kill things are only violent jerks and are a blight on decent society. And baiting…really? That’s the lazy cowards way of taking down an animal. Wow, that hunter must have felt so proud of his backwoods, backwards, ignorant self.

    1. Larry F. says:

      Kyllya, you are the ignorant twit here. Hunting and fishing are CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Baiting bears is LEGAL and ETHICAL. By insulting “that hunter” as “backwoods, backwards, ignorant” you are proving yourself to be a true Cidiot. Good job!