Minnesota Man Hits Bear with Combine

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Tom Wightman was combining his cornfield just south of Red Wing Minnesota with Darrell Breuer last week, when they heard a loud noise. The two got down from the cab to find quite a surprise according to the Pioneer Press.

"Holy cow! Is that what I think we're looking at?" Breuer recalled saying.

"We sat there on the platform and decided we weren't going down there until we were sure it was dead," Wightman said.

When they ventured down, the men realized the combine had killed a black bear.

Field-dressed, the boar later weighed 325 pounds on a farm scale, meaning it weighed close to 400 pounds when it was alive.

Perhaps even more unusual than the bear/combine collision is the location. Black bear are not common in south eastern Minnesota and this incident is probably another indication of black bears increasing their range.


outdoorsman121's picture


Wow thats crazy!! I have herd of deer getting hit by combines but never a bear. A matter of fact deer getting hit by combines from where i live happens quite often. If you asked me i would have thought the bear would have herd the combine and got out of the way. 400 pound bears is a decent size bear wish it would have came by me during bear season. Like it says this shows how bears are starting to extende there range! 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Yeah, I have seen this once

Yeah, I have seen this once or twice before. But, it's usually them digging a hole or something and creating a small den. Then they get run over while they are inside.  The only thing I could never figure out is that the combines usually run in the fall, and bears don't hibernate till winter.

hawkeye270's picture

That is one really slow bear!

That is one really slow bear! I was not really aware that combines could run down wild animals. It really makes me wonder what in the world was going on there. I have not really heard that bear freeze and get caught in the head lights like deer do but that is definitely a fair guess at how it got hit by a combine. I can not imagine being the guy operating it when that happened. I would be pretty nervous to hop down off the combine until I new it was dead. But then again, I guess a combine can do a pretty good job of killing just about anything! I agree with CVC... it is a shame that the bear had to die in that manner but any bear that is that stupid really just should not be passing on its genes. That is just ridiculous. That has to be one of the easiest bear hunts that anyone has ever been on! Just roll the tractor out there and pick that thing up and haul it back to the barn to skin it! And that is a heavy field dressed weight. Pretty darn big bear!

CVC's picture

Yeah, I don't know if bears

Yeah, I don't know if bears freeze in the headlights deer do either, I was just grasping for some explanation.

gatorfan's picture


Interesting article!  I thought i had seen this a little while ago and that the story was a little different.  The one I read showed pictures of the live bear in a hole under the wheel of the combine.  Apparently, from reading the article, this is a completely separate event.  The bear has supposedly been spooked earlier in the day by another (or the same) combine on a neighboring property.  I don't know much about bears so I was surprised to read that this bear was in the process of digging its den in the corn field.  Out of ignorance, I always assumed that bears had dens in the side of hills.  I wouldn't have guessed that one would dig a den on flat ground where snow could eventually melt (and possibly flood) into its den.

Now, you want some real entertainment?  Read through the comments at the bottom of the linked article.

You think there are some whackos here in Cali!!! HA HA

One poster said that her child read the article about the bear dying and it left her crying hysterically! 


CVC's picture

No, it is not an indication

No, it is not an indication of the black bear increasing its range, it is an indication of either stupid or extremely sound sleeping bears increasing their range.  Seriously, it is a shame the bear was killed in this manner but you have to wonder how it happened?  How could the bear not get out of the way of a combine?  It is not like they are stealthy or anything.  They make lots of noise and are not that fast moving.  Makes me wonder if the bear really was sleeping or maybe it was night and the lights from the combine froze it in place?

ecubackpacker's picture

Maybe he had a full belly,

Maybe he had a full belly, was lathargic and couldn't move. Who know's?

I have a friend of a friend who tends several thousands of acres near the coast. His land abutts one of the bear sanctuaries. He's forever telling my friend about how the bears act when he's combining his corn fields. The bears will be at the other end of the field eating corn when he starts...as he gets closer, they'll shimmy into the woods...once he turns around, they re-enter the field to feed more.

Probably the best way to kill one of these bears is to hitch a ride on the combine...disembark when he makes his turn and take a "stand" in the standing corn field. Sounds like a winner to me.

CVC's picture

That actually sounds like a

That actually sounds like a good strategy.  We've employed it hunting out west.  The driver keeps rolling as the hunters jump out and go do a stalk.  The antelope focus on the truck going down the road and don't see the hunters sneaking up on them.  Well, at least that is how it is suppose to work.

ecubackpacker's picture

It's funny you mention

It's funny you mention antelope. I recently saw a hunting show where they used horses to stalk within bow range of antelope. The guys were walking on the opposite side of the horse from the antelope. They guided the hores into shooting position and the bowhunter steps around the butt end of the horse to release his arrow. Pretty cool. It didn't work everytime, they made several stalks but it is a different way to hunt them with a bow.