Black bear family roaming close to Wisconsin town

Black bear sow and cubs
Black bear sow and cubs (Wisconsin DNR/Herbert Lange, file photo)

OSCEOLA, Wis. (AP) – Wildlife officials in northwestern Wisconsin are trying to trap a family of black bears that has been digging through trash bins in the small town of Osceola.

The sow and her two cubs have been spotted on multiple occasions in backyards and close to homes in the last week. Experts say the mother bear may weigh about 300 pounds, WCCO-TV reported Monday.

It’s not unusual for the town of about 2,500 on Wisconsin’s border with Minnesota to be visited by wildlife.

Purnal Tracy, 88, told The Associated Press he’s lost two or three bird feeders since last fall. He said the bears must have recently come out of hibernation and wandered into town looking for food.

“We’ve seen bears here in town off and on for the last few years,” Tracy said.

Osceola Police Chief Tim Lauridsen said he had to shoot a 400-pound problem bear at an elementary school a few years ago after it wouldn’t leave town. But he described the latest bear intrusion as “more a disturbance.”

Officials have set a trap in Tracy’s yard near a forest. Tracy said the bears hadn’t been caught as of early Tuesday.

Dave Zebro, regional warden in northern Wisconsin, said residents in bear habitat should keep in mind that bears have been roaming for the last two weeks in search of easy food and will keep roaming for a few more weeks until more vegetation grows.

Wildlife officials will relocate the entire family of bears to a remote area at least 30 miles from Osceola, Zebro said.

“It’s important for people to bring the bird feeders in, only put garbage out the morning the garbage is going to be picked up and those types of things,” Zebro said.

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