MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Bear sightings are being reported all across Minnesota, and even close to the Twin Cities as bear activity increases in the spring.

Minnetonka resident Bob Koch captured a bear on his home surveillance camera over the weekend. The video shows the medium-sized black bear heading straight to his bird feeder.

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“When we got up that’s when we saw the whole pole bent over. It was laying almost on the ground,” Koch said.

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources bear sightings map shows he’s not the only one. From curious cubs in Hackensack, to a 2 a.m. walk through in Forest Lake. In Ham Lake, an evening stare down before one bear went on its way.

(credit: Bob Koch)

DNR Bear Project Leader Andrew Tri said dry conditions pre-hibernation and a delay in this spring’s growing season have made bears more active in their search for food.

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“If you happen to peek out your window and there’s a bear in your yard, basically you want to make noise, chase them off, or just let the bear move off on its own,” he said. “And as soon as the bear’s gone, you want to pull in whatever attracted that.”

If you are outside and come across a bear, the DNR says don’t panic and startle the bear. Use a calm voice and make your presence known, then slowly walk back in the direction you came from.

“It’s just part of life that we have bears in Minnesota, and so part of that living with bears and enabling us to co-exist with them is making sure that we don’t have attractants in our yards to bring them in,” Tri said.

For the Koch’s, it’s a visitor they’ll never forget.

“It’s fun for us with the camera, and that’s the only reason that one’s back here is for the wildlife,” Koch said.

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To avoid an encounter, the DNR also suggests keeping your grill clean and removing any pet food bowls from outside.

Kirsten Mitchell