SIREN, Wis. - A rash of incidents involving black bears has spurred the Burnett County Board into action.
Last week, supervisors passed a resolution, urging the Wisconsin DNR to reduce the bear population to "a safer and more tolerable level."
Burnett County Supervisor Buzz Byrne of Siren introduced the resolution which calls bears "an extreme safety concern." He says people are scared.
"I've got a tree farm property not too far from here and I don't go over there without a gun anymore," he said.
In June, a Shell Lake man was mauled by a bear, costing him his eye. The Wisconsin DNR confirms an increase in the number of bear complaints in northwest Wisconsin, including several incidents of bears entering homes by breaking through screen doors.
"We have a difference this year, compared to last year," said Steve Hoffman, a DNR Wildlife Biologist.
Hoffman says the late spring could be a factor. Since wild berry crops were late, one theory says bears left their normal feeding areas to search for other sources of food.
DNR records show seven bears have been euthanized so far in 2012 after being deemed a threat to humans -- another 150 bears have been relocated.
Hoffman says the DNR has responded further by increasing hunting permits in the region by more than 25 percent over last year. He said the public can help too by taking down bird feeders, feeding pets indoors and not leaving trash outside.
Mickey Schauer installed bright flood lights at ground level outside her front door to protect herself and her dog from bear attacks. Still, she showed pictures of a black bear photographed in her yard in July.
"They feel right at home here," she said, "I mean everybody's complaining about bears."
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