**DUE TO COIVD-19: ONLY OUR VISITOR CENTER IS OPEN. THE VISITOR CENTER IS OPEN TUESDAY-SATURDAY, 11AM-6PM CST.  THE SANCTUARY AND VIEWING PLATFORM IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. WE WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED AS TO WHEN OUR HOURS WILL RETURN TO OUR NORMAL SUMMER SCHEDULE. 

Black Bear Viewing at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary

Many years ago, a humble Minnesota logger made a decision that would greatly affect black bears and the attitudes people have towards this often-misunderstood animal. It was then that Vince Shute chose to stop shooting the bears that broke into his cabins. He tried a more peaceful approach and the strategy worked – no more break-ins. Vince claimed, “the bears aren’t mean, just hungry!” Thus, began Vince’s long and celebrated life with black bears in a tiny corner of the north woods near Orr, Minnesota.

Generations of black bears still visit his former homestead, now designated as The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. The American Bear Association, a non-profit organization, was formed to manage the sanctuary in order to promote a better understanding of the black bear through education, observation and experience. Vince Shute’s final wish has become a reality – peaceful coexistence between humans and bears. All of the bears are free-roaming; they come and go at will through clover meadows, cool cedar swamps and pine forest.