Black bears are one of Minnesota iconic species. They're the only bear species that inhabits the state today.
Bears live in forests, swamps and other areas with dense cover but will wander into clearings to feed. They are found mainly in the northern third of Minnesota, but range as far south as the interface between the forest and agricultural zones, where they utilize corn and other crops for subsistence.
DNR manages Minnesota's black bear population by providing quality bear habitat, conducting research to increase knowledge of bear biology, educating the public on how to live with bears, assisting people with bear problems and controlling the bear population with hunting seasons.
On July 30, 2013, Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann issued an order that allowed Dr. Lynn Rogers to continue to maintain existing collars on research bears and put non-public cameras in two bear dens. The temporary order was the result of a compromise reached by the DNR and Dr. Rogers as the legal issue moves into a new area of due process regarding review of the agency decision. Judge Guthmann strongly encouraged both sides to reach a temporary agreement.
Judge Guthmann ordered that case be reviewed as a contested case under the review of an administrative law judge from the state Office of Administrative Hearings. That process will begin soon but likely will take six to nine months while the impartial administrative judge reviews the merits of both sides. The additional restrictions in the judge's order allow for research elements but reduce some of the risks and degree of human exposure associated with habituation while the agency decision is reviewed.