Black bear sightings might be on the increase in Iowa, but not in Floyd County.
There have been several recent black bear sightings in Dubuque County, including two sightings this week. Floyd County Conservation Director Adam Sears says it’s been a few years since he recalls anyone saying they saw a black bear in the county. He has investigated only two sightings since 2014, one near West Idlewild about 5 years ago, and one west of Marble Rock near Ackley Creek campground about 3 years ago. Sears says follow up investigations showed no evidence to confirm a black bear in either incident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they were false reports.
Iowa Department of Natural Resource (DNR) Furbearer Biologist Vince Evelsizer says he suspects the animals are likely coming from Minnesota and Wisconsin, looking for a mate or for food. Evelsizer says it’s likely black bears will start to have cubs in Iowa and groups of bears eventually will repopulate in the state, but admits there’s been no recent confirmation baby bears have been born in Iowa.
Sears agrees with Evelsizer that black bears could eventually find a suitable habitat in Iowa to call home, but most of the state doesn’t offer quality bear habitat. However, he adds that Floyd County has enough wild areas and river systems to attract bears to breed nearby.