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DNR warns residents about food sources for bears in their yards as far south as central Minn.

ST. PAUL -- Anyone living near bear habitat is reminded to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.

Bear habitat stretches as far south as central Minnesota.

As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce. Pet food, livestock feed, bird seed, compost or garbage can attract bears.

Attracting bears to yards can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears, said Eric Nelson, wildlife animal damage program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  

Only black bears live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear, said Nelson, adding that injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.