Iowa’s corn is typically much taller than knee-high by the 4th of July and right now, the corn’s about shoulder-high for a young adult bear.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a picture on its Facebook page of a large, lumbering black bear among the green leaves of a northeast Iowa corn field. DNR spokesman Alan Foster says this is only the second bear report in Iowa this year.
“It was up in Clayton County around the Yellow River State Forest,” Foster says. “It was spotted and caught on camera on a trail cam. This is the first time somebody actually got a shot of it out roaming around. It was walking through a corn field, just minding its own business.”
It’s unclear if this bear was munching on the developing ears of corn or just passing through. While it’s a little early for corn detasseling yet, if you should stumble across a bear in your field, don’t panic.
“Basically, just maintain distance,” Foster says. “Don’t go near it. Don’t try to get close for a close-up picture. Just give it its space and maintain distance.” This is breeding season for black bears and there are often four or five sightings in Iowa every year.
“Usually they’ve wandered in from Minnesota or Wisconsin,” Foster says. “A few years ago, we had one wander up from likely southern Missouri and it was down in southwest Iowa. They’re fairly rare but like any other animal when they’re out cruising, looking for a mate, they’re going to go where they think they want to go.”