By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may have heard the expression “poking the bear” — but imagine having to do it for real.

Landscapers Amber Reece, Ashley Zimmerman and Hanah Schmit from Nisswa’s Copper Creek Garden Center and Market noticed a client’s yard was a mess Monday morning. Bushes and plants had been eaten, and furniture was strewn about the property. The trio soon discovered three bears underneath the deck: a mama and her two cubs.

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(credit: Ashley Zimmerman)

Conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources came over and slid a stick through the cracks on the deck to coax the bears out. All three took off into the woods.

The DNR says the summer drought has made it difficult for bears to gather food for hibernation, especially their staples of acorns, hazelnuts and berries. Bears try to consumer as much as 15,000 calories this time of year.

People who encounter bears are asked to give them space, and contact the DNR.