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Bear feeding ban

Legislature should stay away from DNR’s fight with Rogers


It’s possible that the Department of Natural Resources’ proposed ban on bear feeding in Minnesota is being introduced solely out of concern for public safety. But its timing and the almost complete lack of any evidence of risk to the public strongly suggests otherwise.

The agency is in the midst of an expensive and ongoing legal battle with Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers, and it just so happens that Rogers is funding his Wildlife Research Institute and his legal fight primarily through bear study courses. Rogers can just about guarantee close-up bear experiences to course participants because he feeds bears on the institute’s grounds. A ban on bear feeding would pretty much shut down Rogers’ operations, something the DNR has sought for years.

There’s no question that there’s bad blood between top agency officials and Rogers. The agency has worked overtime to damage Rogers’ reputation, and it’s even stood in the way of the North American Bear Center, whose board Rogers chairs, as it has attempted to obtain new bears for its exhibit.

That’s troubling in itself. But proposing legislation to specifically shut down Rogers’ institute is beyond troubling— it’s an abuse of power that the Legislature should have nothing to do with. There’s no doubt that Rogers is a controversial figure, with supporters and detractors alike. But the Legislature isn’t supposed to pass laws to target individuals, even controversial ones. We’re supposed to have basic rights in America, after all, including the right to be unorthodox. The government shouldn’t be permitted to shut down what is, in effect, a small business simply because they don’t like the guy who runs it, or disagree with his message.

As a local business, Rogers’ Wildlife Research Institute has used the growing public interest in ecotourism to attract hundreds of visitors to the area each year, most for stays of several days.

It’s the same interest that draws thousands of visitors each year to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, another facility in our region that feeds bears, much to the delight of the public. While the law proposed by the DNR is almost certainly targeted at Rogers, its current language would likely shut down the sanctuary’s feeding operation as well. While the DNR Commissioner could presumably issue a permit to the facility, doing so would further expose the DNR’s bill for what it is, the abuse of legislative power to target a single individual.

The DNR has made no credible case that bear feeding is an unreasonable danger to the public. For one thing, very few people actually feed bears. And those who have fed bears for years provide some of the best evidence that doing so isn’t particularly risky. Rogers and his fellow researcher Sue Mansfield, along with many others who have accompanied them in their work in the field, still have all their limbs, including all ten fingers.

Before the government can further restrict our freedoms, it should have to make a showing that a particular action poses a legitimate risk. And despite a concerted effort by the agency to showcase Rogers’ bears as problem animals, the DNR has little to show for it.

If the DNR is concerned about public safety, it would prohibit deer feeding long before imposing a ban on the feeding of bears. The nuisances created by deer are far greater, as is the public safety concern from deer darting back and forth across highways near feeding areas. Deer feeding results in documentable public risk and financial loss, but the agency isn’t suggesting a ban, nor should it.

As Americans, we have a constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness, and for many of us that includes feeding and observing wildlife close at hand. While government has the ability to restrict our various pursuits, it’s well established that such restrictions must be based on sound evidence of harm, and that those risks must significantly outweigh our rights to be left alone. On that score, the weight of evidence isn’t in the DNR’s favor. As such, the Legislature should reject the agency’s proposed legislation. Let Minnesotans decide for themselves if it makes sense to feed bears.


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Yes! Absolutely spot-on article. There is no legitimate disagreement, but watch the comments show up anyway. Pathetic, misguided people with their various negative agendas.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Look to a just a few Minnesotans and several from out of state and in Canada as the ones behind this Legislative Bill. They posted many times on various Facebook pages over the last few years, of their intention to make sure Rogers research was closed down for good and even targeted the North American Bear Center in their vitriol. If the DNR couldn't stop him by not renewing his research permit, they were going to make sure they got legislation passed making it illegal to feed bears in MN. If Rogers couldn't feed bears, his whole operation was finished and so was he. The DNR has worked in collusion with those same people who supplied false and manipulated evidence to the DNR which the DNR then used and cited in order to refuse to renew Rogers permit. The DNR is lying about any concern for "public safety." If I remember correctly, their own bear researcher, Dave Garshelis, testified at the Administrative hearing regarding Rogers permit, that he, too, has hand fed bears and walked with them, and that he did not think black bears are a danger to the public. That's the bare bones Truth and a lot of people around the US and the world have the evidence to prove it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I am in agreement with the two comments below and I want to add my 2 cents. I live in Massachusetts where we also have bears..not where I live, but in the western part of the state. Now and then in the warm weather the bears come east and come into a more residential area. Most have been caught and taken back to the western area which is more conducive to the bears eating habits and their freedom. For the past 5 years or more I have been associated with the Bear Center in Ely where Dr. Roger's runs some of his study groups. I have learned more about bears in my time on his site than I have learned in 70 years. The man is an angel for the bears and he takes care of those who live in his Center and he has done a fantastic job and gaining the confidence of the bears that live in the area. They know his voice and they come when he says "It's me bear!" The bears themselves know that it is him as he waits until they check him out before they show themselves. I have watched a couple of generations grow up under his care and friendship.

This article that is before the State of MN to ban feeding the bears is nothing more than a vindictive way of getting at Dr. Rogers. To say they "hate" him is an understatement. I followed the case that Dr. Rogers put against the DNR and know for a fact that most of the DNR's info were nothing but lies. He has a "group of bear haters" that come to his aid every time the DNR has a problem, and they lie and spread more lies to make Dr. Roger the bad guy! That is the biggest lie they could spread as he is now known around the world with the birth of Hope, daughter of Lily, who was born on a Den Cam and watched by over 100,000 people across the world. THIS IS THE TRUTH. Most of these people became fans of Lily and her offspring and enjoyed watching the young cup grow for almost 2 years until she was killed at a bait setup by a so called hunter who shot her. He later admitted he killed the cub and he knew better as he had seen her at the bait site with her mother. This as a knife in the heart of all the Lilly Fans. Today Ely is about to open the Hope Education Center which is dedicated to our baby Hope. The Lily Fans and many of the world wide fans have donated to a building fund and continue to donate to the Bear Center. This should convince the State Legislature that the Bear Center and Dr. Rogers do more than just feed wild bears in his study area. OF COURSE, BECAUSE THE DNR DENIED DR. ROGERS A PERMIT TO CONTINUE HIS STUDIES, many of these bears will have to go hungry when the berries and natural food for bears dries up during a dry season. Then the neighborhood people surrounding the study area will not be able to feed the bears and then maybe a few complaints may develop.

I am pleading with the Senators of MN to please deny the DNR the right to ban feeding the bears as they are harmless when left alone and not taunted by people. Please vote this Bill down!

Lastly, a year of so ago, the studies of Dr. Rogers was not permitted and he took the collars with a similar GPS in them off the bears and they still live in the area and are still seen from time to time when they go over to the Wildlife Research Institute in Eagle Nest.

I also want to inform you that the DNR was responsible for killing two of the study bears a year or so ago. They had been targeted by hunters (who admitted they killed them) and these hunters were told by the DNR to do it. The Commissioners (Only some of them) wanted to put Dr. Rogers out of business and they have been doing that for years. There is presently an appeal against the ruling from the court and an administrative ruling has not yet been forthcoming. Hopefully it will put the name of Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield on good ground and be able to resume his studies on the wonderful bears. They only deserve the best.

I am not a native, but I have a good friend who lived in the Ely area and is a nurse and when I met her, I told her about being involved with the Bear Center and had learned a lot. She told me that bears are very common and the majority of people in the areas have no complaints. She said she often came across one in her backyard and thought nothing about it. She told me the people of the area have fed them for over 50 years or more and still do. If that doesn't say something, then I must have been wasting my time learning about the bears and love seeing them on the pages of Dr. Roger's daily updates on what is happening there. There are also videos on where you can also watch many of the bears the entire world has come to love. Please House members and the Senate members VOTE DOWN THE DNR'S BILL IN ITS ENTIRETY. THANK YOU.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington all have laws against feeding bears. Numerous states use the slogan, "A fed bear is a dead bear." because feeding bears causes so many problems. Most National Parks and many National Forests have food storage regulations specifically aimed at preventing bears from getting a food reward from humans. Feeding bears is dangerous, period.

I applaud the MN DNR for supporting this law and hopefully it will be passed. Feeding bears is not researching them, it is habituating them. What has Rogers published? Isn't that one of the goals of research, to publish findings? Is punching a bear in the face part of the research? Is feeding bears from a person's mouth research? Ask a wildlife professional if they would consider this research.

For every person you talk to in the Ely area that is in support of the bear feeding that goes on at the NABC there is one, if not more, that is against it because of the problems those bears have caused for local residents. There have been numerous cases where bears have chomped and/or slapped at residents because they were not given food. Talk to some of the residents in the immediate area about the problems they have had with bears.

I fully support this legislation, it is overdue.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Colorado in 2009 : Munson had been feeding bears for a decade, and was repeatedly warned by wildlife officials.(sound familiar)

After a bear was injured in a fight with an older and bigger bear, Munson left food out to help the injured bear. The older bear came back to Munson's property, forced its way past a wire fence, and mauled Munson. Later, wildlife officials killed two bears on Munson's property.

Alaska-Mman was feeding a black bear was mauled and killed by black bear.

Look it up there is more.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"... the almost complete lack of any evidence of risk to the public strongly suggests otherwise."

Since 2000, black bears have killed as many people as grizzlies in North America.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

No more comment about the subject,

but your comment of where I am from is about 1500 miles off or so,as a northern Minnesota lifetime resident and as a individual who lived in the iron range and whom had family in Ely I know whom Mr. Rogers was from as far back as 1969 when he worked out of the MN. Conservation building in Winton as a young professional or Graduate student. he has done a lot of good work over the years. My comments were not directed at him at all.

That Winton station was the old game warden office bunkhouse which also had bats inside flying around at times and the Game wardens airplane hangar on Fall lake was there.

Also I remember the late 60's-early 70's individuals from Arkansas trapped bear at Ely and Minnesota got wild turkeys in exchange for bears they stocked in their state.

Also from a individual whom admires bear my main point was the same asthe majority of states professional wildlifers, bear are a magnificent animal and should be respected as a wild animal.

Also my comment was about not feeding bear and was not about anyone individual.

Lynn Rogers has done some great work in the past and still can.

I also have no idea whom the other individual is you also said was I?

Mistaken identity-no big deal,just to let you know.

Side note. Been out in the woods this week and bear are moving around already with fresh tracks observed. I do go into the woods.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Treetoad and snowshoe2 always have to make critical remarks about Lynn Rogers and never fail to mention their group's motto "no research and lack of publishing." That person, since both comments are made by the same person who's MO is well known and easily recognizable, failed to mention that in their home state of North Carolina, it is Legal to Feed Black Bears! Have we heard of any one of the North Carolina residents who do feed bears, getting mauled or killed by one of them? I haven't. Has anyone ever heard of any of the Eagles Nest Township residents who fed/feed bears getting mauled or killed by one of them? I haven't. Have you? And, just think, residents in that area have been feeding black bears for half a century or more! No maulings and No killings in all that time. There's absolutely no reason to believe it will happen now, if it hasn't happened in over 50 years! Notice how he conveniently left out all of the necessary information and a link directing us to the articles or stories so we could verify his facts and information? Happens a lot with him and his little band of the misinformed and bear ignorant. Just because some guy says that someone in Alaska was mauled by a bear, doesn't mean that a bear will maul anyone in MN who is feeding them. Many people imagine and convince themselves that feeding bears means that people hold out their hands with food in it and expect the bears to come up to them and eat it. That's NOT the common manner in which the residents of Eagles Nest Township and the surrounding area feed bears. Most of them put the food a considerable distance away from their residences/cabins and into a more forested area. THAT is called supplemental feeding or diversionary, and they provide communal feeders for more than just black bears. Now, granted, there are some who do put food out in their yards for bears and other wildlife. They enjoy bringing the wildlife onto their properties. There is nothing wrong with that. One of the biggest misconceptions that treetoad/ snowshoe2 has been spreading the last few years is that because of Dr. Rogers small feedings to the wild bears he has been monitoring and studying, thus habituating them to himself and certain individuals (making them used to him and his assistants), that the bears now equate ALL human beings with food and seek them out on purpose, or go their houses/cabins in search of food. Nothing could be further from the Truth. There are several people in that area who are still afraid of bears and haven't bothered to learn about them and their behaviors. They just want to cling to their fears, so no matter what a bear does , and regardless of the reason, they claim the bear is coming onto their property because they want food. - Well, that's partly true, but it has absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Rogers and his reasearch which involves giving them a handful or two of nuts to distract them and keep them busy while changing out a radio collar or taking vital signs, or examing them if they appear injured in any way. Bears are eating machines, so to speak, and eating is their most time consuming activity in order for them to gain enough weight to hibernate through the winter, become impregnated, deliver cubs, be able to nurse them, and to survive. They can't help it. Its not like they choose to do it. Its the way they were created. Now, why would a bear come to someone's property? Most of the time its because the homeowner has put out food for other animals, or the bear is just passing through on their way somewhere else, or maybe its stopping for a rest while on its way to somewhere else. People put their houses and cabins right in the middle of bears' territories and then expect them not to come onto their property. That's just plain stupid. That's basically squatting in the bears' and other animals' homes. Nature doesn't live by man's rules or recognize who bought what where, or who thinks they own what. That's all man made business and has no place in nature. People can't expect nature to live by man made rules. It doesn't work that way. If peopll don't want wildlife in their yards, then they need to put up a fence around their property so the animals can't get in. The MN DNR has all the information a person needs to follow right on their website. But remember one thing. You can't pick and choose which species of wild animals you let in your yard and which ones you won't let in. Nature doesn't work that way. You're squatting right in the middle of their yards and by all rights, you should yield to them. And, if you can't tolerate wild animals being around, or you refuse to, then you shouldn't be there at all because owning land doesn't mean you belong there. If a bear comes in your yard, is it going to attack you? Most likely not. If it comes sniffing around your garage and your kids are around, does that mean its going to kill and eat your kids? Realistically speaking? No. It just means it smells things that its curious about. If a young bear comes around and your family is outdoors, does that mean the bear is looking for food from you, or is going to attack and kill you? More than likely not. Young bears are more curious and trusting and haven't learned to be as wary of humans as older bears who have lived longer and had more life experiences. If your baby is crying and a bear comes around, does that mean its planning on eating your baby? No. It more than likely means that its a mother bear who hears a cub crying and is trying to find it because babies and bear cubs sound alike when they cry. You didn't know that, did you? See the things you can learn about bears if you want to? They're really not so different from people. In fact, in so many ways bears are more Like people than not. The best thing a person can do in the forested areas of our state and country, for yourselves, your families, friends and wildlife, is to learn all you can about them, respect them and be considerate of them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sorry snowshoe 2. You're right, mistaken identity.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I am definitely not snowshoe2, and I am definitely not from North Carolina. I have never even been there. Born and raised in Minnesota. To date I have never been a resident of any other state.

Here is link for combined information. It's Wikipedia but you'll notice at the bottom there are 100+ references.

Get in touch with CO's in NE Minnesota and ask them over the course of the last 10 years how many bears they've had to put down because of aggressive behavior. Ask about the camper who had their foot bit through their sleeping bag. Why? People feed bears and not storing their food properly while in the BWCAW.

I have no problem with bears coming through my yard. I take issue with those bears that become habituated and dependent on "hand outs". Those bears become aggressive. Numerous states, which many of have not had a fatal black bear attack, also have feeding bans. They have done this because it is better for the bears. This is so bears don't become dependent on humans to provide food and so they don't end up with bears who become aggressive towards people when they aren't given food.

I have spoken to people in the Ely area who have experienced aggressive bears on their property. 15 years ago those bears would have been spooked and ran away.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DNR has ''never'' shown that feeding bears around the Ely area is a safety concern. Even in court they had no evidence to prove their theory. And that's just what it is, a theory. I've watch a lot of videos, and read a ton of articles that have shown bear behavior that would be 'stated' as habituated bears. But it's no where near where bears in Ely are. And the bears aren't habituated, just bears being bears. Curious, hungry, playful,etc. Just doing what a bear does. Just because a bear doesn't run in fear because it sees a human doesn't mean its a danger. WE all remember a bear climbing a hunters tree stand with hunters in it video. Or videos of bears playing in someones swings or hammock, or pool, etc, etc, etc. They aren't dangerous, they aren't a threat, they are just bears being bears.

I agree with the letter writer that people in bear country SHOULD EXPECT o see wildlife in their yards and that includes bears. If you don't want them there, then do something to keep them out. One person up there puts up a lot of bird feeders, then cries when bears come in too. Makes no sense. If you live in bear country, expect bear visits, and be proactive to them.

Some may claim that WRI makes $$ off the bears, but so do the guides, the gas stations, the gun shops, the restaurants, the motels and the DNR.

To allow hunters to put out food but no one else doesn't make any sense. If hunters can put it out, so should people who want to watch, photograph and enjoy them too.

This is a personal vendetta by the DNR aginst the WRI. And it was really shown to be a personal vendetta when the DNR tried to stop the NABC from getting a cub. Their own emails proved it. DNR worked to stop a cub transfer to NABC when NABC had every legal right to get it. And I bring this up since Doc Rogers is involved with both.

Till the DNR can PROVE that bear feeding is a public hazard, they should go crawl back under a rock. People have been feeding bears near Ely for over 50 years, and statistics show it isnt a public hazard.

Thursday, April 23, 2015