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Vermilion's Bear Population


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We have had some pretty interesting encounters with bears. I remember back in the day on the road to Timbuktu there use to be a dump, and if we were lucky there would be a bear there looking for a little snack.

Probably the most memorable was my Dad and his friends were opening up the place and left a piece of toast on the grill. The bear ripped down the full front screen on the front of our cabin and ripped of the screen door on the back trying to locate that little snack he smelled.

Surprisingly nobody woke up smile.gif

Last few years we have not seen any bears.

Where did they go?

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I was excited when I saw the post heading! Then I read it a little more closely and saw that it said Bear and not BEER!

The last bear I saw was in 1998 way in the back of Norwegian Bay. I thought it was a big black lab at first, but as I got a better look I saw it was a young bear. It came to waters edge, saw the boat and went back into the trees! It took about 15 minutes for my heart to settle down.

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Cool story Fox. Let's hear some bear stories, and what the hell some beer stories too grin.gif

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I was grilling some bugers on the kettle, set a beer on the splitting stump. Went to the kitchen to get some cheese to make cheeseburgers and my beer was gone! Seems a bear took my beer. shocked.gif

No, it was really my Pop who took it. laugh.gif

There was a resident bear on the point, and regularly mauled the birdfeeders up and down the road. I never seen him, but the neighbor's dog would bark at a certain spot along the road on our walks, and we'd hear something big in the woods lumber off.

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Years ago (70's) we often stayed at the resorts by the dam. Just up the road a couple miles toward Buyck there was an open landfill. Early evenings it wasn't uncommon to find dozens of bears rooting around looking for food.

Once drove up there with family (me, wife, 5 kids) to watch them. About sunset we decided to leave --- backing the car (big old Buick Estate Wagon) back down the eroded drive I got in two big ruts and high-centered stuck. Not a chance we could get the car out without a tractor!

Had to walk a couple of miles down that narrow gravel road back to the resort at dusk. Needless to say, the pucker factor meter was reading full scale!

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This spring heading up the Partrige Rive to Blackbay, saw

something swimming across, at first I thought is was a black

lab, but the ears looked funny. Slowed the boat down and started to look for the camera, no camera blush.gif, got closer, it was a big old black bear. Just shook off the water and headed into woods. First time seeing a bear but have seen several deer swimming arcoss.

Backwoods

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Back a few years ago we always saw bears around Mckinley park. My dad was putting up a tent there about 15-20 years ago and a bear came walking into out campsite in the middle of the day. It stood up and my dad threw a hammer at it and it ran away.

There is also an old dump outside of Tower where we used to go watch them. One day we had a wolf walk right by the car. Man those things are big!!!

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If you want to see black bears, take a ride over to the The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Pelican Lake. Wild bears come there to feed every evening and you can watch them from the safety of a viewing platform. It's common to see 30 at a time. It's one of my favorite things to do when I'm up there besides fishing.

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we shot a bear at a resort that i used to work at....and later on that evening...this young kid who worked there...who was a fish or two under a limit.....set out to go rummage thru the gut pile looking for the gall bladder and other various parts we told him he could sell in china...he came back with many parts...many times...and he may still stink to this day........i have had various encounters with bears...but some of the biggest and most aggressive bears were up at lake of the woods...many large ones...and man did they pick thru the booze bottle dump that was on the island.........

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My best encounter was my first visit to LOR back in the early/mid 80's. I was fishing around 'Hell Hole' near Norwegian Point. Was working around the cabbage beds with my trolling motor quietly when I looked up and saw a full grown bear come down the point and out onto the rocks that go out to the little island. He took something out of the water, carried it back to that big flat rock 50 yards onto the point and began to eat it. He never did look up and I just kinda held there with the trolling motor and watched him for 5 minutes. Quietly got some pretty good pictures, too. I had actually gone back to the cabin that morning to get the camera. Lucky for me I did. Bear eventually just walked into the woods. We had them in camp a few times over the years, too. Especially when it was dry and there was not much in the way of berries for them in the summer.

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Great point Cherokee. They love those berries.

My question is this and GarytheGuide alluded to this in the bears behavior.

Do these bears get conditioned to the cabin--dumpster--garbage can---campers food---- eating mode and are they dangerous?

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Hans, I remember that dump also and those ruts. It was a real treat to go there with our garbage and watch the bears. I had a van so never got stuck.

Stillfishin'

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Any bear that depends on humans for his primary source of food can be dangerous. They can be very protective of their food supply and when that supply is your garbage can, there can be trouble.

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Quote:

Any bear that depends on humans for his primary source of food can be dangerous. They can be very protective of their food supply and when that supply is your garbage can, there can be trouble.


Good point Scott F and thanks for the bear spotter info.

Just a little chuckle here, and I don't know if Im reading the Timberjay to much or what.

"Neither da Bears nor da beers"

By STFACTFISH

latest article in the Timberjay. Nothing to do about bears but I thought it was funny.

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Bears that feed in the wild and bears that scrounge off of humans are different types of animals. I have scared bears off of bait by making the slightest mistake, and have been chased out of my campsite by bears that knew I was only going to do so much to protect my food. Watch the ones that have gotten food one way or another from humans before.

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Very true!

Camprobber bears and dump bears are very dangerous animals!

Unlike truely wild bears, they have been conditioned to the fact that humans are nothing to be afraid of!

If you get between them and their food or they think you also want their food you can be in big trouble! shocked.gif

The records prove that more people are killed and mauled by black bears then by grizzly bears.

We had a bear in our house around 10 years ago! shocked.gif

My wife had baked a cake and set it on the kitchen counter to cool. She ran up town for about 1/2 hour to get groceries and when she returned home the bear was still in the house! ooo.gif

She backed out the door and then got my younger son who was working only 1 mile away. She also called the local DNR, who immediately sent out an officer.

My son beat the officer to the house and the bear was still there! He took a metal garbage can cover and a stick and stood in our hallway beating on the cover until the bear finally left the house thru a different window then he had come in thru.

The wardens showed up shortly after, (even the District Warden came!) They said house break-ins were very rare and that they would try to trap the bear. They also took a lot of pictures of the damage it did. They also reccomended that we keep our windows closed at all times.

Good thing! As the next morning there were fresh paw prints on our beadroom window! shocked.gif

The Bear refused to go into the trap, and after 4 days they removed the trap that they needed elsewhere and said to shoot the bear and any others that came into our yard.

They said that the culprit bear and any others would very likely break-in again because of the bear smell that was left in the house.

Two days later, just after I had driven out of my driveway headed to work, the bear returned. My wife woke up my son who then shot the bear.

The bear did over $1,600.00 in damage to our house in less then an hour! mad.gif

Thank God my insurance co. covered all of the damage!

There was a very poor berry crop that year and I suspect that the bear was just very hungry.

Cliff

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Many years ago when I was growing up in Tower, during the night bears would come into town every fall to raid garbage cans for food. There were very few attached garages at that time so garages were located to give access to an alley and that is where most homes had their gabage cans.The majority of the bear raids occurred on the north side of town as there were not any buildings between the alley and the woods. Every so often 2 or 3 of us would climb up on a garage roof after dark & wait fot the bears. We were not certain if bears would or could climb ladders so we always pulled it up once we were on the roof. Some times you could hear garbage cans being knocked over somewhere down the alley & other times a bear would come to our garbage can. After a short time we would ture on our flashlights, the bear would look up towards the lights & then head for the woods.

The city open dump which was located just over the hill from the cemetary was another favorite place to look for bears during the night .We did sit in an auto for these ventures, however.We did not see a bear every night we were on a roof or at the dump, but when we did we felt it made up for all the lost sleep.

One more comment about the dump and I will sign off. It was one of our favorite locations during the day as we would plink away at rats with our 22 rifles. Perhaps it is just as well that kids no longer have open dumps to use as playgrounds.

S" Hank" Petersen

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About 10 years ago, my wife and I were camping on Hinsdale Island. We were at the 2nd spot in from the Narrows side(east side I think) sitting high up on the rock that over looks the lake. It was early evening and had a nice little camp fire going. We were watching a boat that was coming from the narrows, all of a sudden the boat slows down and the people started pointing to the island just to the side of us. So we looked over about 100 hundred yards and there were 2 bears down by the water getting some water. We knew the island probably had bears since all the campsites had bear lockers, and this was early on in the week. Needless to say we spent the rest of the week looking over to that same area and did not see another bear. But it made for a little bit of lost sleep that week. And we kept a close eye on our dogs too. We returned to the island for camping several times after that and never saw a bear.

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Hank,

I also remember the Tower dumps! laugh.gif

I spent many hours there as a kid hunting rats and other critters! grin.gif

Cliff

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SJB, I wouldn't worry about your dogs around bears. In my experience, dogs have been a bear deterrent especially in the BWCA. They apparently want no part of a canine. The past 2 trips to the BWCA, my party and I have witnessed bears swimming across the lake away from our side soon after arriving at our campsite with dogs (Loon Lake in '04 and Birch Lake in '05). Maybe it was a coincidence, but I can't help but to think that the dogs were a big reason for their quick departure. Keep the stories coming

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I have also seen a few bears in the "V" area. I've always camped at the public campgrounds (Wake-em-up) and once was waiting for another guy to come in from angling and had just lit the BBQ grill. I was going to check on my buddy who was motoring in and between him and I was a pretty good sized bear. My first thought was to run like **ll but I backed up slowly and went back to the camp site, close to my vehicle...just in case and the bear slowly walked back into the woods. He came back at night to eat my toothpaste which was in my toiletry bag on the picnic table.

We also ran into a smaller bear in the spring at one of the resorts where we purchased bait. The little one was in a garbage can and hissed at us as we walked past, then we started to wonder where Momma was. We left quickly. Also have see a few swimming near islands. They are agreat site to see!

jig-em

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      kettle....have you chased around any sunfish lately???? kinda wondering if there done spawning???? the last time i was up the sunfish we did clean that had eggs in it didnt even look close to spawning. although i know they seem to carry eggs around most of the summer it seems!!!!!!
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      kettle, when are you going to fish for something decent to eat????🤔🤣🤣   nice batch of fish!!!!!!!!!
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      My wife agrees about the pizza...was the best...  
    • Kettle
      Fished a bigger lake, fish or at least the eaters are on the mid lake humps. Water Temps 68 degrees, freezer now has 6 total as I've been eating fish often. Tomorrow we chase the 30" walleye for catch and release.  
    • LUCIFER
      Stuntz Bay Boathouse Historic District - Wikipedia   They have some info.  
    • smurfy
      👍that can be arranged!!!
    • MarkB
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    • Wanderer
      Maybe pay him in smoked pike so he can taste some fish instead just crunching down on walleyes all the time! 😉
    • smurfy
      Hey stay outta it.😫🤭🙄 😊   Thanks kettle I may take you up on that sometime.
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