Black bears spotted in Fertile, Erskine areas

Times Report

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the MN DNR have received calls of black bears in and around Fertile and Erskine.  At this time there are no reports of the bears being threatening to people or pets, however, the bears are enjoying garbage cans, grills, and bird feeders.  

Contact the PCSO if needed and do not approach the bears.  

Here is a list of do’s and don’ts that will help keep bears away:  


  • Remove bird feeders in the spring. If you persist in feeding birds during the summer, remove seed, suet and hummingbird feeders at night. You can also hang bird feeders from a cable out of a bear’s reach: 10-12 feet off of the ground and 10 feet from any other trees.
  • Store your trash can in a secure area, such as a sturdy shed or garage, and put it out on the morning of garbage pickup, not the night before. Alternately, contact your trash hauler service about bear-proof garbage can options.
  • Wash garbage cans regularly to reduce odors. Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal.
  • Store meat scraps and fish entrails in the freezer until trash pickup day.
  • Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly.
  • Immediately cover composting food scraps with 6 inches or more of brown materials, like leaves or 4 inches of green materials like fresh mowed grass.
  • Harvest garden produce as it matures. 
  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds. If your fruit crop is too abundant to clean up, consider protecting your fruit trees with energized fencing.
  • Clean grills and store them in a secure location, such as a sturdy shed or garage.
  • Keep doors and windows shut when you are not in your home or cabin. Bears have pushed in screen doors and windows to enter cabins to find food sources when people are not around.


  • Ever feed bears! It teaches them to associate you or your space with food and they will return. You may be comfortable with wildlife in close proximity to your home, but your neighbor may not. Feeding bears can create conflict between neighbors. Bears may be killed if they become a safety threat to people or pets, or cause property damage. 
  • Leave pet food outside