Black Bear Sighting Reported in Northeast Iowa, DNR Confirms Tracks

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Stock photo of Black Bear. (Pixabay User: werner22brigitte)

Stock photo of Black Bear. (Pixabay User: werner22brigitte)

WADENA, Iowa — Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have confirmed there’s a black bear on the loose in northeast Iowa.

Signs of the bear have been found along the Clayton-Fayette county line. A beekeeper south of Wadena reported his beehives had been torn up and bear scat was found within 25 feet of the hives.

Bear tracks were also reported by a nearby landowner and confirmed by the DNR. The landowner reported he had seen a bear that was believed to be female because there were two cubs with her. The bear was estimated at about 200 pounds.

The DNR is still working to confirm the number and size of the bears. If there really are cubs, they’d be the first bear cubs to be documented in Iowa in more than 140 years.

A native animal to Iowa, there hasn’t been a wild bear population in Iowa since the 1800s.

“Wild bears generally avoid people, keeping to themselves and moving along,” said Vince Evelsizer, DNR furbearer and wetland biologist. “That said, we do want people to know there is one around, and we encourage them to give the bear its space – don’t harass or follow the bear, especially if we do have a female bear with cubs.”


  • Sherri

    Please tell me no one is going to kill the bears or take away their freedom…please. Wildlife is so amazing and it’s great they came here after soo many years. People should stay clear of this little family and let them thrive.

  • Helen

    Nature always reclaims. It is great to read about naturally native species returning, however, since it has been 140 years since the last reported sighting, people are going to need to be taught how to live in territory with a bear. With no other major competition (I’ll leave you to name off all the wildcats and coyotes in the state, but I am talking from bears) it won’t be long before they spread across the state, especially if these cubs make it to breeding age. Then it will be everyone’s responsibility to coexist.

  • Trevor

    I really hope people and law enforcement leave it alone. They have just as much right here as we do. Besides that Humans are the ones destroying their homes by tearing down all the woodlands. It really upset me when I heard the cougar that the great law enforcement shot in Des moines last year. Hello why not trankulize it and relocate it.

  • Justice

    I hope I never see a bear crossing the highway in front of me. I don’t know if they can run off as fast as a deer can when I honk my horn.

  • Kath

    Wish our DNR(s) from different states would meet & educate each other, so these animals aren’t just shot & stuffed when they come to Iowa. Maybe try tranquilizers if there’s a problem.

  • Seanalee

    I pray that there is no plans of removing this bear…. This is their territory too, just as much as it is ours. Im absolutely ecstatic to hear the news of a momma and her cubs migrating to our beautiful area after so many years. I agree that there must be some education given to the citizens about living among such an amazing animal. Please do not euthanize or relocate this family of bears…..

  • Dennis

    While it is all warm and fuzzy and sentimental to want bears here, this state is too populated for such animals. They belong in places where there is more wilderness or at least lightly populated areas where they will not have the encounters with people and livestock that they are destined to have in a state like Iowa. I hope they are humanely removed from the state and relocated in Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin where they have the habitat and room to live safely.

  • vivian

    Well since the 1800 they have no been spotted now see what chance they have…none….give wild life a break….look at the peasants. ..never hardly see them anymore….just saying

  • vivian

    Leave the bears alone…go hunt illegal immigrants. ..bring them in for cash heck …One can get rich doing that. Be kind to animals it took god six days to create every living thing where it takes mankind to destroy it

  • Scott Hall

    I’d be interested to know the beekeeper’s opinion. Which is more environmentally necessary – bees or bears??? I myself have no problem with the bear since she’s not likely to come into town & raid my garbage or kill my dog, even though I’m only 4 miles from one of the sightings. But in other areas of the country, like Northern Wisconsin where I’ve had personal experience with a bear up close, when a bear becomes accustomed to humans, it is a danger & must be removed. The one that brazenly came into our farm yard was tracked down, darted, and removed to a more remote area. No one one wants to see someone injured or killed directly or by hitting one on the road because a local bear is nostalgic. Can we co-exit? I hope so. And I hope I don’t run into it hiking or riding bike!!!

  • Margaret ( Maggie) Kyttle

    Just remember. When we”re in the woods,we”re in someones home. The wild animals are in their homes & we”re the intruders. man has destroyed their homes & forced them into our world. That”s no reason to harm or kill an animal. :)

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