STILES - Two recent black bear attacks are raising concerns in the Northwoods.
There were two separate incidents.
A man was flown to a Minnesota hospital after being mauled by a bear Monday night in Burnett County.
And just last month, an Ashwaubenon man was attacked outside his cabin in Marinette County.
At the Sportsmen's Xchange in Stiles, manager Jeff Toneys says last archery deer season he saw 15 bears.
"I've been on my tree stand several times where bear aren't scared anymore. You can be 15 yards from them and stomp up and down, they'll sit there and look at you," said Toneys.
Toneys says trail cam pictures showing black bear were taken just miles from the Oconto County store.
"They're out looking for food. They're hungry," said Toneys.
"We had a late spring, food sources, natural food sources were limited. They're later, our berry crops are going to be late this year," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR regional wildlife supervisor.
Pritzl says two recent bear attacks on people may have one thing in common.
"It almost always revolves around a food source," said Pritzl.
Gerre Ninnemann of Ashwaubenon fought off a black bear last month near his Marinettte County cabin. And on Monday, a black bear attacked a Shell Lake man near his property in Burnett County.
Pritzl says bears can get used to people.
"If you think you're going to scare the bear away, you may try that from a distance at first. If the bear doesn't show signs of being concerned, don't take it to the next step. It's better to just back off and let the bear leave. And then address whatever the situation was that was attracting the bear in the first place," said Pritzl.
Pritzl recommends storing cooking grills in the garage, taking down bird feeders at night, and eliminating compost piles in the yard.
There are an estimated 20,000 bears statewide. Pritzl says two attacks on people are considered rare.
"It doesn't take a lot of bears, it just takes one that develops behavior that's not going to be compatible with us," said Pritzl.
The DNR says bears will be active all summer long.
Females will be protecting new cubs, and the breeding season is just getting underway as well.
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