When a black bear ambles into your yard, wildlife experts say to keep your distance and let the bear be until it moves on. If it approaches, make loud noises to try to scare it off.
But that's a bit harder to do when the bear is literally inside your home.
Some Ely residents were shocked last week to find a black bear in their house, the Minnesota DNR said in its weekly report. Conservation Officer Sean Williams responded, and learned the black bear had actually entered through a kitchen window while the residents were home.
The folks living there were able to safely guide the bear back outside, at which point they called for help.
However, once outside, the DNR said it "showed no fear of them or vehicles." A lookover of the property also found no attractants — human-provided food sources such as birdfeeders or dumpsters. C.O. Williams noted there was "no explanation for the bear's boldness."
Black bears are the only bear species in the state. They're usually wary of humans, but will happily feed on treats humans leave out and available, particularly if conditions mean there is a shortage of natural food available.
But as Williams noted, the bolder the black bears are, the greater the chance for a "negative encounter." These often result in the DNR having to shoot and kill the bear.
Prevention is the best course, Andrew Tri, bear project lead with the agency, recently told Bring Me The News, and more effective than having to respond after a bear begins to see a backyard as a food source.
"If people aren’t careful and secure their attractants before a bear finds them, then a bear gets a 'food reward' and knows that this house or cabin had some tasty treats and will keep coming back until the food source is gone," he said.
The DNR has some guidelines for safely coexisting with bears here.