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Black bear struck, killed by vehicle near Thief River Falls

A black bear was killed over the weekend in a crash near Thief River Falls, according to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department.

No one in the vehicle was injured, the department said. A vehicle damage estimate was not available. 

These days, bears have become more common road hazards than moose or elk, according to Jeremy Woinarowicz, a conservation officer with state Department of Natural Resources.

Last year, three bears were killed by vehicles in his territory of northwestern Minnesota, he said. “It’s not near as common as deer strikes, but it does happen.”

Woinarowicz recalls one elk being hit by a vehicle in the past decade.

“We haven’t had a car strike a moose in maybe four years, because the numbers are so low now,” he said. “It’s tougher with bears because at night they’re tougher to see. And they’re black.”

The weekend accident happened about 11 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Pennington County Road 3, also known as Center Street East, according to sheriff’s department.

The bear, which was estimated to weigh about 350 pounds, was given to an area resident who wanted the hide, Woinarowicz said.

Kevin Bonham

Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: He welcomes story ideas via email,, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  

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