Spotted: Bears in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Spotted: Bears in Iowa

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Bear sightings in Iowa may be hard to believe, but the DNR says it's true. The Iowa DNR says they've received at least two confirmed reports of what they believe is a young male bear spotted in Iowa. They say the wandering bears are looking for two things: females and food. 

The reports of the spotted bear come from Grundy and Butler counties, with the most recent sighting in Tama county. 

The DNR says they get a sighting about once a year. 

"Most of the bears that we find in Iowa, they're all traveling through," said DNR conservation officer Mike Bonser.  "They're coming out of states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, they're even coming up out of Missouri.  Most of these bears that are traveling through are looking for their own little territories, and they're probably pretty much lost when they get here. And finding out that we don't have the habitat that they're necessarily looking for."

Everett Manship from Conrad spotted the bear in Tama County. 

"Well, I had already seen three wolves and two mountain lions in Iowa so I don't get too excited easily, but it was neat to see," said Manship. "I had never seen a bear in Iowa."

Manship has made a hobby of taking pictures of wildlife. 

"You know some people think nature is warm and fuzzy, but it's brutal," said Manship. "It's either kill or be killed. So it's beautiful and it's neat to watch but you should leave them alone, because some of them, if you get too close will hurt you."

The DNR recommends the same advice for others looking to catch a glimpse.  

"Just stay quiet, and watch," said Bonser. "It's probably going to be more afraid of you, than you are of it. It will probably run away as soon as it realizes you are there. If you need to make yourself look big, puff up, put your coat over your head, make yourself looking bigger than the bear."

Manship said he did exactly that, standing back when he snapped the photos of the bear in western Tama county. 

"If you know of a bear in your area, take down the bird feeders right away, because that's going to attract the bear," said Bonser. "If you have beehives you may want to move them."

Until they're able to get a closer look, the DNR says they can't be sure whether it's just one or two bears. 

The DNR says Bears aren't the only wildlife that travel through. Iowans may also occasionally spot mountain lions, wolves and moose. 

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