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Black bear pays a visit to area south of Big Kandi Lake

This black bear made a surprise visit to the area south of the Northern Lights Beach on the south shore of Big Kandiyohi Lake on Sunday evening. It was spotted in a farm field, a farm grove, and by one resident, in a tree in her yard where her dog was barking at it. Submitted photo

BIG KANDIYOHI -- There's always a chance of spotting deer and other wildlife while driving along the wildlife management area south of Big Kandiyohi County Lake, but Penny Mulder of Willmar scored a first for modern times.

It was a large, black bear she watched run across a field of corn stubble about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday.

"You could see it plain as day,'' said Mulder.

Darla Jean Brede did, up close and personal. She was in her home just south of the Northern Lights Beach when her Dalmatian dog began barking, just like she does when there are animals in the yard.

Brede said she went outside hoping it wasn't a skunk. She looked up the tree where her dog was barking and straight at the back end of the darkest-colored bear she ever saw.

"The shock that goes through you is kind of...I'm not going to tell you what I said,'' said Brede, laughing.

The bear did not seem aggressive, but it was large. Brede brought her dog into the house, and watched the bear come down from the tree. She also watched it stand up on its hind legs to check out her bird feeder. It casually walked behind the barn.

She never saw it after.

She has seen bears in northern Minnesota, but never this close to home. Her parents have lived at the site for 61 years, and have never had a bear visit.

Minnesota Conservation Officer Jeff Denz of Willmar was among those who responded to calls about the bear. He logged it in as his first siting of a bear in Kandiyohi County too.

There had been reports of a bear in the area in recent days. Denz said he had received a report previously of a siting near Long Lake north of Willmar. And two days earlier, there had been a report of a bear spotted near Hector.

Whether the reports are the same bear or not is impossible to know, but certainly possible. He said it is likely the bear is just moving through the area.

There have been no reports of the bear causing any problems.

Mulder said she watched the bear make its way into a small grove of trees on a farm a couple miles south of the lake. She learned from the farm owner that the bear stayed around the grove until around 10 p.m. before taking off towards the east.

It's hard to say what brought the bear around the area, said Denz. He believes it will likely continue to roam until it finds habitat more to its liking.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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