Black Bear Hit By Truck in Northeast Iowa

Jun 27, 2016

A young black bear was struck by a glass-delivery truck and killed on Friday evening in far northeast Iowa.

The incident occurred on Highway 76, near the Yellow River Forest in Allamakee County.

"It's a heavily-wooded area," says Kevin Baskins of the Iowa DOT. "You obviously have the Mississippi River bordering it on the east side, and so there's a lot of pretty decent habitat for bears if they do wander into that neck of the woods."

Black bear in Iowa corn field near the Yellow River Forest.
Credit Brian Gibbs

Based on the animal's markings, it's speculated the deceased bear was the same animal photographed by Brian Gibbs in a corn field last week near the Yellow River Forest.  

Though the injuries were fatal to the 200-pound male, the DNR says the motorist is fine and was able to continue on with deliveries.

Baskins adds if you are about to hit a bear, it’s best to step on the brakes but do not swerve as to avoid the bear since the dangers of going off the road are much greater than hitting an animal.  

This is the second summer in a row a black bear has been struck and killed by an Iowa motorist. In the middle of June 2015 another young male was killed on Highway 20 in Buchannan County near Jessup.

For comparison, the Iowa Department of Transportation estimates that from 2005 to 2014, the number of deer collisions in Iowa averaged 9,711 annually.

Though still rare, black bear sightings have become more frequent in northern and eastern Iowa. Often the animals are young males who were born in Minnesota or Wisconsin and have traveled south in search of territory and mates.

Baskins says he's not surprised both this year's and last year's bear collisions occurred in June, a time of year when nature is in bloom.

"Everything is green, it's like a smorgasbord."

The bear's carcass has been frozen and it's biology will be analyzed. Then it will likely be stuffed and displayed at the new nature center in Lansing, which is under construction.