Bear Killed by John Deere Combine in Dunn county, WI

A huge hibernating male black bear was killed Nov. 2nd in southern Chippewa County when it was hit by a combine.

Neil Schlough of Brimley was harvesting corn in a field on the Pinehurst Farm at about 7 o’clock that evening a few miles north of the Mackinac county line, just off of South Maple Road , or about 5 miles north of Kinross.

The bear was denning in the field, having dug a hole about a foot deep to lay in and pulled in debris from the corn stalks in on top of itself.

According to his wife, Phyllis, Neil came upon the bear with the outside row of his combine head and drove the outside snout into the animal’s neck and shoulder and pushed it about six or seven feet.

She said Neil felt the combine strike something and the outside snout was pushed up into the air (the combine wasn’t damaged).

“He stepped out of the combine and saw that he had hit an animal,” she said. “At first he thought one of our dairy steers over there had gotten out, went in the corn field, ate too much corn and died.”

But it didn’t take long for Neil to realize it was a bear, but it did take longer to realize how big it was. She said he called her and told her he thought it weighed about 300 pounds.

The DNR was called immediately and Conservation Warden Jim Cleven responded.

A skid steer was taken to the field, and the bear was lifted up so that it could be dressed out.

“With the lights … we could see that it was a pretty big bear,” Phyllis said. “But we had no idea until the locker plant put it on a scale that it weighed as much as it did.”

The bear was taken to the Soo Locker Plant to be prepared for mounting. It was there that the animal was first weighed and measured.

Field dressed, the bear weighed in at 618 pounds and measured 7 feet from head to tail.

The Schloughs were told at the locker that they could add 80 to 100 pounds, depending on the size animal, to reach an approximate actual weight.

“So we figure that bear had to weigh at least 700. We figure 700 to 720,” Phyllis said.

It’s too early to tell if the massive animal will break any records since the skull has to be dried for 60 days before it can be scored.

Phyllis says they believe it has the potential to break the state mark and will probably break the Chippewa County record.

More common DNR wildlife specialist Jess Carstens said, “This is a thing that, for whatever reason, is happening quite regularly that [bears] are denning up in the middle of fields ­ and corn fields seem to be particularly common due to the amount of debris from harvesting the corn that’s on the ground. There’s a little more stuff to pull in on top of them as they snuggle into the hold that they’ve dug.”

Phyllis reported that they frequently see bears on their land. And she said she recently saw a sow and cub in a corn field that was being harvested.

After paying $75 to keep the bear, Neil is having the bear full-body mounted by Tom Persons, owner of TP Taxidermy.

“He’s hardly ever had time to hunt or fish or anything because of farming,” Phyllis said of Neil. ” And so, he’s going to keep the bear, and he’s going to have it mounted. He’s really proud of his trophy.”

She said they were told by Persons that he’ll have to use a grizzly bear form to mount the bear because there aren’t black bear mounts big enough to do the job.

Person reportedly also believes the bear to be 15 to 20 years old, but a tooth will be pulled during the mounting process to determine its age..

According to, male bears can reach 660 pounds, but exceptionally large males can weigh up to 800 pounds.

Phyllis said Neil was recently trying to come up with a name for the huge animal that will soon occupy a large amount of space somewhere in their home.

“I thought this was kind of funny. He said, ‘I’m going to name that thing Hercules.’ … I thought Hercules for that bear was a good name.”


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47 thoughts on “Bear Killed by John Deere Combine in Dunn county, WI

  1. Maybe you should just remove this story.
    This bear was NOT killed by a combine- it was ILLEGALLY shot by the property owner.
    Here in Wisconsin, we take our natural resources pretty seriously. The TRUE story of this bear is very interesting to many, so passing on made-up “facts” as the truth is irresponsible. You also have a discrepancy in the location, Chippewa Co. (in your story) vs Dunn Co.-the ACCURATE location (your headline), as well as your made-up date being off by 9 years, 1 month & 6 days. Please REMOVE your story so that people stop passing on bad information.


  2. . Mackinac is Northeastern Wi. You should always check your facts before publishing them or get out a Wisconsin map to see where you are talking about. I see you got alot of people correcting your story, if only you proofread it and checked your facts before publishing, you could have avoided this. Something to think about for future posts.

  3. I don’t know why he would be “proud” of this kill! Poor old fella (the bear) was just minding his own business, trying to sleep for the winter and a giant machine came along and killed him. Not like it took any skill on the farmers part!

      • Actually,I am a neighbor of Niel and Phyllis. We are in Wisconsin, USA and this actually happened several years ago. The bear had been hurt in the den and stumbled out of it’s den into the path of the combine. It was dark, as it gets dark early here in the afternoons. It was incredibly unfortunate, and incredibly rare. How it was hurt, I am not sure. There are theories, and since I don’t know the facts,I won’t say, but it was hurt nonetheless and it was driven from the den because of it.

        There are actually a lot of errors in the story. It’s interesting how its changed since the story originated here at home. WhileI understand why it is so inaccurate, I am a little upset that people are so incredibly rude about it. I am sorry for that.

        To be honest, Niel and Phillis both were very upset at this accident. The photo above is Phillis dressing the animal to be processed for meat. It was a horrible accident involving a magnificently giant animal. It was used for meat and because it was so incredibly large, it was mounted because it was beautiful and amazing. Not to brag about thousands of dollars of damage to farm equipment and the destruction of a beautiful creature that we, as Wisconsonites, take a lot of pride maintaining and preserving.

        Please, give us a little credit. Not everyone on the planet is a jackass. We are all here doing the very best with what we all have.

        Be well,


      • Thank you,good information and yes people are ignorant and cruel.This family did the best and right things! He should brag,God bless.

      • Can you tell me what key words you entered to manage to navigate to my blog – Oyia Brown? Thanks.

  4. More disgusting behavior by the “hunters” and or “farmers” of WisconSin! After it was discovered that the bear was poached by a neighbor and the Does Nothing Right confiscated the bear… they said that the neighbor that shot it would be prosecuted? Hope it is more than the typical hand slap.
    Please update.

  5. Poor big beautiful guy. Black bears are gentle, and rarely even hunt.. I used to love Wisconsin,, It is so barbaric now that we have not been back for years,, We used to spend nearly every weekend there,

  6. Not sure if you were ever updated on this story but..bear was NOT killed by combine it was shot twice by neighbor day before the combine ran it’s already dead body over.. dnr did take the bear away and they are pressing charges against the person who shot the bear..

  7. Pingback: Just came to find this artical a man kills a bear in michigan with a deere combine.

  8. Pingback: Bear Killed by John Deere Combine in Upper Michigan | Old Man Forge

  9. Geez, I’m wondering if the bear was a sow? We live on Mackinac Trail and 12 mi. and have had a huge bear coming here for 20 years and we’re wondering if it’s the same one? Mark House

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