Skip to main content

A hunter downed one of the biggest bears ever killed in Minnesota

He weighed more than 700 pounds.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It took one shot with a Winchester for northern Minnesota hunter Jan Johnson to take down a 700-plus pound black bear.

The 54-year-old hunter was waiting in the rain on his family's land in Roseau County for a big male bear that had been seen roaming the area.

What he finally saw, the Duluth News Tribune reports, was a sequence of bears, a couple of small ones at first, followed by a sow and three cubs, and lastly a big bruin that chased them all away.

He took aim from 25 yards away and brought it down with one shot, telling the newspaper that his two brothers' "mouths dropped" when they saw it.

When it was initially weighed, it tipped the scales at 719 lbs, which when field-dressed (organs removed) weighed 602 lbs.

This makes it one of the biggest killed in the state for a long while, though Johnson will have to wait a while to figure out where it ranks as bear records in Minnesota are determined by their skull size, as Outdoor Life reports.

There are a lot of bears about at the moment

Fall is the best time of year to encounter a black bear in Minnesota, as they're going through what the DNR refers to as the "fall shuffle," traveling long distances to find food as they fatten up for the winter.

This can lead them further south than usual, and result in the several "bear in the back yard" stories you see this time of year.

After they find their food, they'll return to their home range to den for the winter, the National Park Service says. Denning can happen as early as September (if the food supply is plentiful) and as late as December.

To hunt bear in Minnesota, you have to enter a permit lottery with the DNR unless – like Johnson – you live in a "No Quota" area where you can buy them over the counter.

Despite reducing the number of permits available this year in a bid to keep the population up, the DNR says it expects more bears to be harvested by hunters this year than previously estimated, WideOpenSpaces notes.

The reason for this is because hunters are more willing to kill a smaller bear, seeing as how permit numbers have been reduced, rather than waiting – some times for years – to take a big bear.

In 2016, 6,800 hunters killed 2,641 bears between them, an increase on the 1,971 killed by 6,600 hunters in 2015.

More than 2,000 are expected to be killed by hunters this year, more than the 1,800 estimated, with MPR reporting that the number of black bears in the state is currently at between 12,000 and 15,000.

That's compared to 28,000 in the early 2000s.

Note: an earlier version of this post mistakenly indicated that Jan Johnson was hunting wild boar rather than bear. GoMN regrets the error.

Next Up

Brandon Gardas

St. Michael standoff suspect charged, bail set at $10 million

A judge on Monday set the high bail due to "very significant concerns of public safety" regarding Brandon Gardas.

20210722_hhc_570

Minnesota's premier trauma center housed at HCMC

The Minneapolis center is nationally recognized in pediatric trauma

Crisp & Green

Crisp & Green opening 13th store in Twin Cities in July

The fast-casual salad and grains restaurant has exploded onto the food scene.

FLickr - Target Field 2019 - mark grabe

Twins to host post-game concert with country star at Target Field

Country singer Cole Swindell is expected to perform for up to 75 minutes after the conclusion of the Blue Jays-Twins contest.

10974344_886755688011981_7448860726679919201_o

Canton Restaurant closes after nearly 40 years in Burnsville

It's the end of an era in the Twin Cities restaurant world.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 12.47.20 PM

Luck strikes in Minnesota: lottery winners in Duluth, Grand Marais

The North Shore just so happened to be a lucky place to be this past weekend.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, June 27

BA.5 is expected to become the dominant subvariant in Minnesota.

police lights squad car

60-year-old woman arrested after firing shots inside Spicer home

SWAT evacuated nearby residents during the incident.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line booked to play at the Minnesota State Fair

The band is the second country music act to be booked this year.

monkeypox

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.

Related

Compass saves a hunter who got lost in the woods

He got separated from his hunting party in northern Minnesota.

Compass saves a hunter who got lost in the woods

He got separated from his hunting party in northern Minnesota.

Bear shot dead after attacking 3 men in northern Minnesota

The 200-pound female bear set upon 2 construction workers and a homeowner.

A curious bear has been exploring yards in a Minnesota city

One resident said the bear had charged at him and his dog.

A curious bear has been exploring yards in a Minnesota city

One resident said the bear had charged at him and his dog.