We all know about the squirrels, woodpeckers, and turtles who inhabit the woods around camp, but
today let us discuss a larger furry friend who also occasionally calls camp home- the black bear.
Found throughout most of the state, Minnesota is the proud home to nearly 20,000 of these big critters! Every couple of years or so we have the privilege of seeing a black bear near Camp’s grounds. Most often, the bear is just passing through, looking for tasty garbage to devour.
Speaking of “tasty” garbage, bears are as far as you can get from being fussy eaters. Aside from scavenging through dumpsters, black bears are herbivores – eating mostly fruitful berries and grasses, but also known to enjoy ants, grubs, and the occasional deer. Bears are attracted to areas with any available food source. This is why bear sightings happen in populated areas- they are simply searching for that next delicious meal. If bears continue to appear in an area you wish they did not, the best way to get rid of the bears is by removing whatever is attracting them. For example, if the bear is frequently knocking over your bird feeder, take the bird feeder away for a period and the bear will likely take your stop off his food route.
The terrain around Foley provides for an ideal natural habitat for black bears, complete with heavily wooded areas for cover and open fields for foraging. With adequate food supplies out in the woods, bears tend to stay clear of our view. Although relatively infrequent, bears do wander close to camp. One summer, a little fella would spend his days high up in the large tree at the top of the marina! Now that is neat! This particular bear never attempted to harm anyone, but remember- black bears are large, wild animals and should not be approached or intentionally aggravated!
If you have a desire to view wild black bears in close proximity, the Foley staff would suggest looking into the Vince Shute
wildlife sanctuary. During late summer/early fall, the black bears are bulking up in preparation for the winter season. Hundreds of black bears come to fill up in a single night, and if you listen closely, you may even here a cub calling out for her mama bear. The cubs hang out up in the trees in the woods and wait for the massive adults to finish feeding before they risk venturing in for a meal of their own. Visiting this is definitely a memorable experience!