A decapitated bear carcass that was discarded in northwestern Minnesota, between Wannaska and Malung, was believed to have been dumped illegally, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says.
DNR Conservation Officer Ben Huener noted in his weekly report last week that he investigated the illegal dumping, telling Bring Me The News the bear was found with no head but otherwise intact and it was most likely dumped where it was found; it didn't actually die there.
The cause of death of the bear is not clear, but Huiener says it appears someone collected the bear's skull to keep and "illegally dumped the carcass to rot on someone else’s property, which is also a litter issue."
Black bears can be killed in Minnesota during the open fall hunting season, which starts Sept. 1 and runs through mid-October. During that time, a hunter is required to take meat from the bear. It's also common for hunters to harvest the pelt, claws and skull of the animal, with Huener noting the Boone and Crockett Club measures skull dimensions to calculate the trophy status of the bear.
In Minnesota, it's also legal to kill a bear outside of hunting season in certain situations, such as the defense of human life or the destruction of property.
Huener notes it is "extremely rare" for a black bear to attack a human, so the most common reasons a bear is killed is when a nuisance bear is destroying property, such as beehives or agricultural crops, or while feeding on bird feeders, garbage or dog and cat food near someone's home.
When a bear is killed in these situations and it's outside of hunting season, the person who killed the animal must report it to a DNR conservation officer within 24 hours so the bear can be salvaged and someone else can utilize the meat.
Huener says this is done so the shooter does not get to benefit from killing a nuisance bear and so that hopefully, the bear does not have to go to waste.
Anyone with information on how this bear was killed or dumped is asked to call the Minnesota Turn In Poachers hotline at 800-562-9093.