Due to staffing issues we have experienced, the Sanctuary will only be open Saturdays and Sundays at our viewing platform from 5pm-8pm. The visitor center will be closed for the season (this is NOT the bear viewing platform, this is the center located 1-mile south of Orr). If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us via email/phone and we will get back to you. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


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.