Black Bear at base of tree

Black Bear is at the base of tree on the Dahlheimer farm along Genes Road SE Friday evening (July 31, 2020).

(Nelson, MN) Joel Dahlheimer says it was just milling around near his house at 1940 Genes Road SE on the east side of Alexandria near Nelson.  He's talking about a black bear his son Tyler estimates to weigh close to 300 pounds.  Tyler was sitting at a picnic table in the front yard.  Tyler's black lab, which weighs about 120 lbs itself,  barked and when he looked up, there was the bear, at the base of a tree about 30 yards away.  Joel conveys the story saying it appeared that the bear was trying to climb a tree until the dog changed its mind.  Tyler then captured the enclosed video.

Joel says the bear went on the south side of the house, then ran west and proceeded to walk into the cornfield.  Tyler and his wife are buying his dad's house next month.  The bear sightings are just a very rare....bonus.  Joel says he's never seen one on the farm before.

Another Sighting in July

Earlier this month about a couple of adult black bears were seen a little more than a mile west of Friday's sighting.  Those bears were seen on the bike trail near East Lake Geneva Road NE. 

If you see a black bear in Minnesota, the DNR would like you to report it.

Facts about Bears from the MN DNR:

The black bear is the only species of bear in the state. They are generally restricted to forested areas. They follow their noses, and use their mental maps of the landscape to locate food sources, which are in a constant state of flux, from season to season and year to year. Black bears usually try to avoid people, but sometimes come in conflict with humans when they eat crops, destroy apiaries, or break into garbage cans and birdfeeders.


  • General description: A large black (or sometimes brown) mammal with a large head, small eyes, erect ears, stout legs, and a very short tail. Bears have reasonable eyesight and hearing, and an exceptionally keen sense of smell (better than a dog).
  • Length: Five to six feet long.
  • bear footprintsWeight: Adults vary in weight from 150 (small female) to 500 (large male) pounds.
  • Color: Black, dark or light brown (in Minnesota, less than 10% are brown).
  • Sounds: Bears make huffing, snorting, and jaw-popping sounds when nervous or distressed, trying to repel intruders; cubs make humming sounds when nursing (an indication of being satisfied), and squealing when frightened or uncomfortable.
  • Reproduction

Black bears mate during May-July. The fertilized egg implants in November and the cubs are usually born in January, while the mother is denning. Newborn cubs do not hibernate, but the mother provides all their nourishment while she is hibernating. In Minnesota litters are most often of three cubs (average 2.6), which by mid-March weigh five or six pounds. They leave the den usually in early April and remain with the mother for 17 months, hibernating with her when they are 1 year old.


  • Green vegetation in spring, turning to ants and ant pupae in June, a variety of berries in summer, and nuts (primarily acorns and hazelnuts) in autumn.


  • Other bears, potentially wolves (while bears are hibernating), and people, who hunt bears for their meat and fur.

Bears live in forests, swamps, and other areas with dense cover, but they also venture into clearings to feed. They are found mainly in the northern third of Minnesota, but range as far south as the interface between the forest and agricultural zones, where they utilize corn and other crops for subsistence.

Population and management

  • There are roughly 12,000-15,000 black bears in Minnesota. Sport hunting is their main source of mortality. Minnesota hunters harvest an average of about 3,000 black bears annually. Bear hunting license sales are restricted in most of the range to maintain a desired harvest and population size.

Black BearFun facts

Bears often roam long distances in the fall, looking for food-rich areas (especially acorns) where they can fatten for winter. Although they all don’t move in the same direction, travel together, or even go on such excursions every year, they typically return to their summer home range to den, so this “fall shuffle”, as it is commonly called, is actually a true seasonal migration. Bears hibernate in their dens during winter, for as long as six or seven months, living off their stored body fat. During this time they do not eat, drink, urinate or defecate, but recycle body wastes and arouse in spring with little loss of muscle mass or strength.