The latest bear sighting in Otter Tail County, according to the sheriff’s office, took place June 24 at Lizzie Lake, north of Pelican Rapids.

Black bear sightings in the county have been commonplace since about 2015. These bears were previously more prevalent in northeastern Minnesota. 

However, during the past few years, more bears have been spotted while seeking food on farmlands and in other areas of western Minnesota.

Cougars, similar to mountain lions, were spotted on the west side of Fergus Falls earlier in June.

DNR officials believe many cougars have come to this area from the Black Hills in South Dakota. Sightings, in addition to the one spotted in Dunn Township north of Pelican Rapids, have been reported by residents in places such as Friberg Township, east of Elizabeth and north of Underwood.

Many observations from trail cameras prove cases of mistaken identity. Bobcats, wolves, fishers and coyotes have at times all been mistaken as cougars.