Black bear sightings up in southern Wis. - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Black bear sightings up in southern Wis.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wildlife officials say the black bear population is surging in Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it is receiving more calls than normal this spring about black bears in south and southwestern Wisconsin.

According to the DNR, the bears have not been aggressive so far this year, but they are noticing more bears coming into urban areas to sneak food left outside or get into greasy patio grills or bird feeders.

Since the end of March, sightings have included a sow with two cubs in Sauk County; a single bear in the Town of Clyde in Iowa County; a young boar hit and killed by a vehicle on Interstate 39 north of Portage in Columbia County; several reports of bear in Crawford County and several reports of bears at bird feeders in western Columbia County.

Department of Natural Resources officials say sightings usually increase in May and June when young male bears forced out of breeding habitat in northern Wisconsin move south looking for new he bears leave the area after the breeding season, presumably to return north, although many female bears with young remain in the south throughout the summer.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are studying why the bears are migrating farther south each year.

27 News received these pictures from a viewer -- they were taken 3 miles east of Rio, Wis. on County Hwy B early in the morning on May 13.

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