Guide: How to deal with the black bear wandering around NW Rockford

Staff Report 

There are reports of a black bear wandering around the area near Searles and Halsted Avenues today on the northwest side of Rockford.

Rockford police have cautioned, “Do not harass the bear.” This, we feel, is good advice, but it perhaps does not go far enough for some citizens.

With that in mind, here is our guide on how to deal with a black bear wandering around your neighborhood.

What is it?

A bear. It’s a smaller bear, and it’s black. Black bears are omnivores so they’ll eat just about anything you leave out. They are the most common bear in North America.

What does it do?

It walks around looking for food because it doesn’t have a job.

It looks cuddly. Can I pet it?


Black bear: looks fun and cuddly; still a bear. Don't try to pet it.
Black bear: looks fun and cuddly; still a bear. Don’t try to pet it.
Why not?

It’s a bear; see above.

Can I feed the bear?

Please don’t.


Because it is a bear.

Should I leave food outside for the bear, then?

Not unless you want a bear in your yard waiting for you to feed it again.

Where did it come from?

Probably out of the forests in northern Wisconsin; that’s its closest natural range.

Why did it come here?

Food. It wants food and couldn’t find any wherever it came from. Your garbage cans are filled with food, and your dog tied up in the backyard will serve in a pinch if it’s very hungry.

What if it attacks me?

The only way it’s going to attack you is either A) You provoke it; or B) You give it food. Do not harass the bear or give the bear food. It’s likely more scared of you than you are of it, but don’t tempt fate – it is still a bear.

When will it leave?

When it realizes there is no more food available to it. Please make sure your garbage cans are secured. The bear will leave eventually to find food elsewhere.

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