It's time for the 'fall shuffle': Black bear spotted roaming in people's yards


A black bear has been meandering through people's yards in a Sherburne County city over the past few days.

The bear has been spotted in the area of Blacks Lake in Big Lake, the police department said on Facebook Monday. And officials hope they'll be able to successfully nudge them out of the city like they have in the past.

Police, along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, are asking people to remove their bird and other wildlife feeders for the time being.

And if anyone spots a bear, they're asked to keep their distance and notify Big Lake police.

Big Lake, with a population of about 10,060, is located about halfway between Minneapolis and St. Cloud, not far from Monticello, according to the city's website.

The 'fall shuffle'

Black bears are the only species of bear in Minnesota, and they generally live in forested areas in the northern third of the state, the DNR says. But they follow their noses to find food, which can bring them farther south.

This is a lot more common in the fall, with the DNR saying bears will roam long distances in search of food-rich areas (especially acorns) so they can fatten up for their long winter hibernation – this migration is referred to as the "fall shuffle."

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.

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