DNR urges safety in light of recent bear spottings

Eau Claire, Wisc. (WEAU) -- It is that time of year when bears are waking up after a long winter and looking for food. And, the experts say we need to keep safety in mind.

We headed to Benrud Lane, south of Eau Claire, where bears were spotted Wednesday night. Not one…but, five bears!

"We saw up in the tree right back there that there was a mother and four younger cubs that were sitting in the tree with her,” said Dallan Leske, who lives in the area. “At first the people were a little reluctant to walk up a little bit, but after watching them for just a couple minutes, they were just laying around and licking their paws, doing things like that they didn't look like they had a care in the world so after a little while we just kind of walked a little bit closer and after a little big some of the people, including my wife, were pretty much standing directly under the tree where they were sitting.”

But, while wild animals may seem harmless, DNR warden Scott Thiede says that’s not always the case.

“If you do see a bear in your yard, just watch it from a distance. Keep the dogs inside, certainly don't approach the wild animal, they can be dangerous,” Thiede said.

Thiede also says to avoid having an encounter in your backyard, get rid of anything that may tempt a bear.

"Food is one of the main sources of bear problems,” he said. “Bear are very curious. They're somewhat shy, but they live to eat so if you have any food sources around your home this time of year, dog food, grills out, garbage cans out even bird feeders…they're all sources of food for bears."

As far as seeing more bears on Benrud Lane, Leske says they’re on the lookout.

“I'm sure that everybody is going to be a little bit more on the alert you know, just knowing that they're around here.”

(PHOTOS COURTESY: Deanna Hoyord)

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