Yawn…bears wake up from winter slumber, move into cities

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

BLOOMER, Wis. (WEAU) -- Bears across Wisconsin are now waking up from a long winter’s sleep.

But with their numbers rising, black bears are popping up in cities, raising concerns.

WEAU 13 News spent Sunday in Bloomer where some say bear sightings have become more frequent.

“It was definitely a black bear and it was a male because it was still very big,” said John “Smokey” Eastman.

Smokey and his wife Jean said they heard stories of a bear taking up residence outside Bloomer and went to check it out for themselves Sunday afternoon.

“We could see the tracks so we could tell it just came out of hibernation. We came within 30 feet of it,” Eastman said.

Jean snapped several pictures of the bear laying around outside his digs for the winter.

They believe the bear has been living in two storm drains off the on-ramp to Highway 53 from Highway 64.

“It was exciting to see it,” Eastman said.

WEAU went to the area and found the notorious Bloomer bear still recovering from a long winter slumber.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conversation Warden Scott Thiede said with the bear population back up they’re moving farther south and closer to cities to find food.

“Now with the spring and the warm weather we're going to see more bears on the move,” Thiede said.

The DNR says if you see a bear on the roadway or in your backyard, the best thing to do is to simply leave it alone.

“It's moving through for food. If you corner it and it goes up in a tree, and a crowd forms and then we do have a situation,” Thiede said.

Eastman said he saw a bear in his backyard in the city of Bloomer last summer.

He said he fears for the worst.

“There might be attacks, I'd hate to see it but there might be,” Eastman said.

The DNR warns not to feed the animals and that getting too close to bear cubs can cause mama bear to abandon her young.

Thiede said there’s no need to call the DNR or police unless the bears are causing problems or they’re an immediate danger.

“In the spring time we encourage folks to bring in their bird feeders and dog food and any food source bears can find. If you eliminate the food source you eliminate the bear problem,” Thiede said.

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