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DNR continues to investigate Isabella bear attack

Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Sean Williams (left) and Lake County deputy Mike McGregor hold up a bear they shot near Isabella in December 2017. The bear had attacked three men, injuring two of them. (Photo courtesy of Lake County Sheriff's Office)

A black bear’s whereabouts before it attacked three men and a pet dog near Isabella in December is still unknown.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hasn’t been able to find out more about the bear’s history in the months since the attack Dec. 19, according to DNR spokeswoman Cheri Zeppelin.

The 140-pound, 2-year-old male bear attacked the three men and the dog during daylight outside two residences near McDougal Lake before it was it was fatally shot by a DNR conservation officer from Ely and a Lake County deputy sheriff. Authorities attempted to track the bear’s movements before the attacks, but lost the bear’s tracks about a mile away.

The DNR reported in January that the bear had a severe case of viral encephalitis, which it likely had for about two weeks before the attack, but Zeppelin said they’ve been unable to determine the cause of the encephalitis. The bear was likely held captive at one time due to the bear having a ring of missing fur around its neck and damaged back claws.

The DNR asks anyone with information about the bear to contact the TIPS line at 800-652-9093.