Black Bear Population Healthy Around Lake of the Woods

Wildlife is abundant in Lake of the Woods, well part of our title is woods after-all.  The black bear is one of the many majestic creatures to be roaming our lands. An estimated 12,000 – 15,00 reside in Minnesota. Acres and acres of forested land from the South Shore to the NW Angle allow for bears tBlack Bear by rocko call home. Hopefully on your next trip you will catch a glimpse of one!

With the age of technology, smartphones and trail cams are sporting some very quality cameras used for both stills and videos.  The fact there are cameras used in our every day lives, there are naturally more documented bear sightings at back yard bird feeders, crossing the road or simply walking by a trail cam to share with friends and family.

As is the case around the Lake of the Woods area with the local black bear getting into bird feeders and strolling through yards.  This time of year, for those who don’t want bears around, it is recommended to not fill your bird feeders.  For others, it can be a novelty to see them.  It is important to keep pets under close scrutiny as a dog or cat getting tangled up with a bear, with or without cubs, can be turn out bad for our pets.

The black bear is omnivorous meaning they eats both plants and meats. This ranges from fruits, nuts, and honey to fish, ants, and sometimes even your garbage. They are extremely adaptable though they primarily will reside in high forested areas with ground vegetation. You may see them scrounging in an open field occasionally. They will travel 15-80 miles, usually returning to their summer home each year. They are typically solitary animals unless you catch a mama with her cubs.

Females give birth to up to 6 (most commonly 2-3) cubs. They will hibernate for up to 6 or 7 months in the winter and give birth during this time. Newborn cubs will not hibeMama bear and two cubs-1 (2)rnate but will stay with mom until venturing out usually early April depending on weather. Dens can consist of anything from a hole in a tree trunk, to a cave, or a brush pile. Cubs will stay with their mom for a year and a half and hibernate that year with their mom, though they are weaned after 7-8 months.

Black Bear on hind legs, Lake of the Woods

As mentioned, the black bear population is strong around the lake.  You might see them crossing the road, in a field or swimming between islands.  They are a true sign you are up north and amongst nature.  Here is a black bear a resort caught on video while they were fishing.  It is not uncommon for visitors to see bears swimming between islands or while traveling some of the back roads while on a scenic drive in the area.

Bear Hunting.  The MN DNR allows bear hunting in Minnesota.  Numbers are watched closely to manage a healthy population of bears.  Last year in area 12, the area around Lake of the Woods, 700 people applied for a bear hunting permit.  Out of 703 applications, 125 permits were granted.  The average success rate in Minnesota for bear hunting is 20-25%.  Last year in Lake of the Woods, the success rate was 53%!

Hunters coming to Lake of the Woods enjoy literally hundreds of thousands of acres of public hunting land as well as a strong population of bears.  Black Bear Hunting, Lake of the Woods

Not considered dangerous, all wild animals need their space and respect.  We encourage you and your pets to enjoy the area black bears from a safe distance!


To learn more about Lake of the Woods, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website.

To find a guide, charter boat or lodging, check out our lodging page.

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