Field combine hits, kills black bear in SE Minn.

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RED WING, Minn. — A Red Wing-area farmer who unexpectedly heard a loud thud while combining in a cornfield quickly realized he’d hit and killed a black bear with his tractor.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Tom Wightman and a friend in the combine’s cab on Saturday made sure the animal was dead before they climbed down and inspected it. It’s estimated to have weighed about 400 pounds.

Black bears are rarely found in southeastern Minnesota. A Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager says male bears sometimes roam far in search of new territory and that it may have swam across the Mississippi River from Wisconsin, which has better bear habitat.

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Wightman got permission from the DNR to claim the bear’s meat and hide.