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River Falls residents: Bear with it

Police have taken three calls today, Wednesday, Aug.13, for bear sightings within the city limits – all on the southeast side. Police Chief Roger Leque said that none of the encounters involved aggression by the bears.

Leque said the first call about a bear came at 8:50 a.m. at Sixth and Kennedy streets; the second was at 2:08 p.m. for a bear sighting in a backyard at 403 Wasson Court; the third was at 2:17 p.m. for a bear in an apartment building parking lot at 405 S. Wasson Lane.

Leque said bear sightings within the city are unusual but not unheard of. He said police will gladly take people’s calls about seeing bears, but that officers won’t respond unless a bear attacks or poses a threat.

Leque passed on these tips -- about how to avoid  attracting bears -- from wildlife biologists with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:

--Don’t knowingly feed a bear

--Remove bird feeders, even during the day, as bears are more active then.

--Reduce garbage odors by rinsing food cans before putting them in recycling containers or trash cans.

--Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage day and keep trash can lids closed tight.

--Keep barbeque grills and picnic tables clean and pet foot inside.

If you find a bear near your home, the DNR advises: “Wave your arms and make noise to scare it away. Then back away slowly or go inside and wait for the bear to leave.

“When scaring the bear away, make sure it has a clear escape route. Never corner a bear.”

The River Falls Police Department number is 715-425-0909.