A black bear - or maybe three - may be wandering the woods of northeast Iowa.
Two reports of a bear - and possibly its two cubs - came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources this week.
Signs of the bear were tracked down in Clayton County.
The DNR says it's not unusual for a bear to be spotted in the hills and bluffs of northeast iowa.
But a cub hasn't been seen for nearly 150 years.
A beekeeper says he found some of his beehives torn up and the bear's droppings near Wadena earlier this week.
A landowner nearby found a track and thought he saw a female bear and her two cubs.
"About once a year, every 2 years, we get word or someone puts up photos of a bear at a birdfeeder or sombird feedere that and most of them come in those 3 or 4 counties in northeast Iowa," said DNR Information Specialist Joe Wilkinson.
The last report of a bear was one spotted near Fredericksburg and New Hampton two years ago.
Is it the same bear?
However, you probably can't - and shouldn't - get close enough to find out.
"You want to steer clear of wild animals. That's one reason they're wild. They like to stay away from people and in just about all instances they do, but if it crosses your path, take the safest path away from it," said Wilkinson.
That means staying calm and backing away from the bear slowly while talking to it in a quiet, monotone voice.
If it approaches you, then yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger.
And they say, definitely don't run or climb a tree.
They say there are a couple of trail cameras in the vicinity that are motion activated - so that may give some confirmation.
They're also relying on people to call them if they see something.
They say they'll only take action if the bear - or bears - threaten populated areas.
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