Black bears live in several different areas around the United States, including most of the Northeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountain Range, west coast, and Alaska. Minnesota black bears mostly reside in the upper third of the state. They generally live in forests, swamps, and other areas with protective cover, but often feed in open fields where crops are grown.
Minnesota black bears do not have any natural predators except for humans. Approximately 3,000 bears annually are shot by hunters. Hunting licenses are available from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), however it is strictly prohibited to shoot a black bear that is wearing a brightly colored radio collar. Currently, several hundred bears are tracked by the Minnesota DNR each year to obtain sample populations. Integrated population modeling has been utilized by the Minnesota DNR to construct sex-specific age at harvest matrices. This research demonstrates a robust and viable population monitoring program in Minnesota.