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Officials say bear posed threat

In the latest in a string of encounters between large animals and humans, a black bear tried to force its way into a rural Perley, Minn., home over the weekend and was shot by a sheriff's deputy.

The incident began about 9 p.m. Saturday at the home of John and Lorraine Jossund, who live just east of Perley.

The Jossunds, who have young children, called authorities after a bear climbed onto their deck and clawed at the home's door and windows, said Phil Seefeldt, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer.

A Norman County Sheriff's Department deputy and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper herded the bear into a nearby windbreak.

However, a few minutes after the officers left, the bear returned and again tried to find a way into the house, Seefeldt said.

The officers were called back and managed to get the bear off the home's deck a second time.

But as the officers attempted to move the bear from the area, it became more aggressive and bared its teeth, said Seefeldt, who told officers to shoot the bear when they phoned him for advice.

Seefeldt said the deputy who shot the bear likely used a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with slugs.

"This was kind of a last resort for us," said Seefeldt, adding there was no tranquilizer gun available to officers at 10 p.m. Saturday night.

Even if there had been, he said it wouldn't have been a good option, as the bear's aggressiveness made it a threat to humans.

Seefeldt said given more time he would have tried to contact a licensed hunter to take the animal.

Bear hunting season began Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 12.

Seefeldt said the young bear, which weighed about 100 pounds, was given to a Halstad man who wanted to make use of the remains.

Norman County Sheriff Myron Thronson, who would not release the name of the deputy involved, said bear sightings are rare in the western part of the county.

Seefeldt said black bears are normally timid and it wasn't clear why the bear was so intent on getting into a house.

The Jossunds did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

The incident comes after a number of moose sightings in Cass and Clay counties during recent weeks.

In July, a black bear wandered into Frazee, Minn. The bear, which had a jar stuck on its head and may not have eaten in many days, was shot by a police officer.

The Frazee Police Department received angry letters following the incident. The police chief referred one e-mail to the city attorney, who declined to bring charges.

Seefeldt said in situations like the one Saturday, Minnesota residents may legally shoot a bear without a license to protect life and property as long as the incident is reported within 24 hours.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555