Bear sightings increase across northern Wisconsin

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The DNR says the bear population is about 24,000 with an abundant amount north of Marathon County. Over in Lincoln County they are seeing bears on their property-- and those bears are hungry.

Jeff Traska is the owner and founder of Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center in Wausau. He says when bears start coming out of hibernation in April and May, they’re just getting their bearings back. They do that by eating grass-- so they’ll roam in the open.

“Keep your food sources cleaned up and pet food...keep it inside”, says Traska.

You can see here in video sent in by Kari Clendenning of Tomahawk, a black bear is feasting on bird seed.

There are things you can do if you see a bear in your backyard or on your property.

“Make sure when the bear is looking away from you can open the door rattle some dishes together, holler scream, be the aggressor run towards them and the bears will run away”, says Traska.

But if you and a bear were to come face to face, don’t panic.

“If it’s coming in your direction, make yourself look as big as possible. Open your jacket up, or if your with multiple people stay together in a tight knit group”, says Traska.

If a bear makes a huffing sound it just means the animal is signaling its afraid of the situation.