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Bear spotted, photographed again

MARION TOWNSHIP — A black bear sighted in the Rochester area on Monday and Tuesday mornings has been on the move.

Bill Burgart got a good look at the bear about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday while he was having coffee at his home on Cambridge Hills Road Southeast. The bear was walking at the edge of a field.

"Every time a dog barked it would look across," Burgart said. "It got a little spooked when I went to get my camera." He was able to take a few pictures before the bear ambled away.

The bear has been photographed at least two other times — early Monday in the Century Hills neighborhood in northeast Rochester and early Tuesday at a house on 36th Avenue Southeast.

Don Nelson, an area wildlife supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said reports of bears wandering in southeastern Minnesota are uncommon. They received none last year. But there were sightings in the area in 2005 and 2006, according to Post-Bulletin reports.


A 600-pound bear was seen in Fillmore County, Racine Township, Frankfurt Township and Chester, Iowa. And during a four-day period in June 2006, bears were seen in Olmsted and Winona counties.

"There's no real pattern; these bears just keeping moving. They fade away and disappear," Nelson said. "Some head south, and others stay east of Rochester because the city is on the edge of good habitat."

Bears prefer wooded areas over farmland, he said.

"They tend to be pretty shy," Nelson said. "There's no place for them to hide, and there's not much for them to eat in farm fields."

A few years ago, a bear in southeastern Minnesota traveled 80 miles in seven days, Nelson said.

The DNR also receives reports of bear dens in southeastern Minnesota. Bears construct a new den every year.

Several years ago, a group of coyote hunters found a bear hibernating in a brush pile near St. Charles, Nelson said. A few years later, a farmer found a den in his cornfield south of St. Charles.

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