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Short road trip Minnesota 2020


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The plan was to go to The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr Minnesota for black bears, drive around looking for Moose and then stop near Calm Lake Wisconsin to try to spot Elk.
The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is a place that feeds bears which many photographers and wildlife viewers and against. It is a wonderful place with caring volunteers teaching people about black bears. No cages and the wild bears come and go. The have a deck open from 5-8 PM. For people who want to photograph the bears you can do a half day or full day session which I did. You get to walk around where the bears can go, not getting within 10 feet of the bears but they don’t always listen sometimes walk too close for comfort(not for someone who gets nervous around big animals) . So I saw bears, chipmunks, white tail deer, squirrels, eagles, loons, woodpeckers, pelicans and a long tail weasel. No Moose or elk but had a great time just getting away.

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How funny you call a trip to MN "short" from Chicago and I think of it as a big-long-undertaking from Southeast, WI.


Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary!  What a magical, unbelievable place that defies reality!  You must have done the photographer day.  I've gone 3x now and each trip was different and special.  I think moose are tough to find in N. MN.  But you did a fine job with the black bears and the rest. The photo ops are unbeatable and you got some ideal shots.  Can you tell us what day(s) you went?


I remember the Vince Shute staff telling me how if they encounter these bears on the roads outside of the sanctuary, the bears are skittish as they should be.  But within the bounds it is an alternate reality.  Credit the staff with discouraging the bears and even making loud disturbing noises if they see any bears outside the sanctuary boundaries.  Bears are smarter then dogs and figure out what goes on where and how to behave.


I have met other bear enthusiasts when I was at Vince Shute who I had also seen in brown bear and polar bear capitals or who had plans to go or had just been. Those bear folks run in a small circle, even a smaller clan than general safari people.


Thanks for sharing and your report may encourage others to visit Vince Shute.

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June 11 and 12. You described it so well. Had to get away, I noticed once I got north of Madison not many people were wearing face mask. I believe one bear has been showing up for thirty years. Have you seen the elk near Calm Lake? Going to Beloit this weekend for girls softball.

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An understatement:  I noticed once I got north of Madison not many people were wearing face mask


A guy I know got kicked OUT of a bar "up north" in WI because he was wearing a face mask.


I have not seen elk near Calm Lake.  I have not been to Calm Lake, but have been to Albert Lee.



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@Wildship, cute cubs


On 6/24/2020 at 2:34 AM, Atravelynn said:

Those bear folks run in a small circle, even a smaller clan than general safari people.

I would join that small circle if it all wasn't soooo far away.  Do Koala Bears count :lol:

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They all count.

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  • 3 months later...

Nice trip! Would love to see some bears in the wild one day too. Beautiful animals.


I remember back in 2008 when I did a roadtrip with friends at the west coast. Our imagination went wild in Sequioa and Yosemite NP. We thought we saw bears everywhere but spotted none in the end. Two of us didn't even dare to walk around the campsite just after it got dark. First time out of Europe, first time in a wilderness area, it was a lot for us young small town boys, lol :) 

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Interesting comment on the bears being skittish as usual outside the park. I have similar experiences with lions and elephants. Inside the park unfazed by cars, outside very skittish.

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