It bears repeating: Don't leave out any post-hibernation breakfast items


If you went six or seven months without eating you might be a little ornery, too.

While many of us are hungry and perhaps a little grouchy before breakfast, we can only imagine what it's like for the black bears that are emerging from their dens across much of Minnesota at this time of year.

Wildlife officials are urging homeowners to check their property for any items that could unintentionally turn into breakfast for newly-awake bears.

The DNR says that can include dog food, livestock feed, bird seed, or garbage and is urging those who live near bear country to safeguard those items indoors or in bear-proof containers.

The DNR says bears are actually not hungry when they first emerge from hibernation. It takes a few weeks for their metabolism to ramp up and those hunger pangs to kick in. But when it happens they'll find that it's still too early for berries or green vegetation, which makes them more likely to check backyards in search of the year's first meal.

Bears will normally run away from people but exceptions occur when they're with their young or when they're feeding.

A DNR page with more background on bears notes that the animals will return to the places where they find food, which makes even inadvertent feeding of bears more dangerous to both the animals and people.

Researchers are still learning about how a bear's body adjusts to months of hibernation and then recovers relatively quickly from that suspended animation.

The Grand Forks Herald reported this month that medical device maker Medtronic has joined the DNR and the University of Minnesota in a study aimed at shedding more light on that.

If you plan on venturing into bear country, the folks at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Orr have provided some tips for hiking or camping around black bears.

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Post-hibernation bears breakfasting at birdfeeders, barbecues

It's that tricky time of year when hungry bears have come out of hibernation but there aren't many berries yet. Nuisance bear reports have come not just from northern Minnesota but from Twin Cities suburbs, too. The animals can be attracted to livestock feed, garbage, dog food, or bird seed.