A situation that could have ended up much worse required the attention of conservation officers and the DNR.
According to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report, conservation officer Mary Manning and U.S. Forest Service conservation officer Ed Belmore were working together recently when they were made aware of a bear that had acquired a handgun in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) near Two Harbors.
Here's what the DNR shared in their weekly conservation officer's report.
In a first for both, Belmore and Manning took a report of an armed bear in the BWCA. A camper reported a bear stole a backpack containing his handgun (and several delicious-smelling snacks) from a portage landing and ran off into the woods. They were unable to track and locate the bear or the pack. The officers responded and, after searching the area, located and recovered the partially shredded pack, numerous empty snack wrappers and the undamaged firearm.
When they finally located the pack, the gun was located alongside the destroyed backpack. "It definitely smelled of food," Manning recalled. The bear was not located, and remains on the loose.
She also reminded folks that bear spray is typically a better option than a gun for bear protection, mainly because it's cheaper, easier to carry, and the potential of danger is lower should it get into the wrong hands. Or paws, for that matter.