Bear caught on cam shows they’re back living in Iowa after 130 years

(courtesy Zach Anderson)
(courtesy Zach Anderson)(KWQC)
Published: Apr. 18, 2019 at 4:22 PM CDT
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Last weekend about three hours northwest of the Quad Cities, a turkey hunter stumbled upon a black bear roaming through Winneshiek County.

Zach Anderson

of the encounter on Facebook, where he wrote the bear came within 10 to 15 yards.

“When the shock wore off I started recording!” Anderson commented.

“One of the coolest things I've ever seen!”

State biologists are also excited, saying Anderson’s video provides evidence black bears are now living in Iowa – not just passing through – for the first time in approximately 130 years.

“The Iowa DNR does believe it's one of the first bears to reside in Iowa since the 1880s,” said Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources.

“There's been a bear confirmed in this very same area north of Decorah for the past three years, so we believe it's the same bear and it ‘resides’ in that area.”

The DNR has received other sporadic reports of bear sightings in Iowa in recent years, but they were often believed to be bears that were only passing through, perhaps for mating purposes, before returning north to Minnesota or Wisconsin.

“We know some of those bears left the state, were shot, or hit by cars and killed,” Evelsizer tells KWQC.

The black bear is not protected in Iowa, but the DNR advises anyone spotting one to avoid it.