COLLEGEVILLE -- Some black bears have come out to play in Collegeville.

Three sightings have been reported near the St. John's University campus. John Geissler is the Abbey Land Manager and St. John's Unversity Outdoor Director. He says the sightings have happened within the last month.

"Near the St. John's Arboretum our neighbors to our north in Collegeville had a couple sightings had a couple sightings. And to the southwest, some of our neighbors also had a sighting within the last few weeks."

Black bears are not common to central Minnesota. It's the only bear species that currently inhabits the state.

Geissler says if you do happen to see a black bear they are typically more afraid of us than we are of them.

"A lot of times people are scared when they encounter a black bear but just make plenty of noise and if you do come face to face with one you just speak calmly and back away from the bear."

If you make more noise on your hike, a black bear will likely run away before you would come face to face with it.

Geissler says it has been a few years since a black bear sighting was reported in Collegeville. The picture above shows the previous sighting, not the current ones mentioned.

The Department of Natural Resources says black bears have been slowly moving southward and westward over the years. You can see a map of where black bears are commonly found by clicking here.

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