Longtime bear re­search­er Lynn Rogers can re­sume his In­ter­net vid­e­o den cam­eras, but he can­not use ra­di­o col­lars to track the wild ani­mals, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Mon­day.

“I’m thrilled that the court rec­og­nized the value of my re­search and ruled I can place the den cam­eras for sci­ence re­search,” Rogers said. “But we could do a much bet­ter job with ra­di­o col­lars to find par­tic­u­lar bears. We will do the best that we can.”

Last year, the Department of Nat­u­ral Resources af­firmed its earli­er de­ci­sion to deny a per­mit to Rogers, who gained fame by put­ting ra­di­o col­lars on North American black bears in north­ern Minnesota. The DNR de­ci­sion came af­ter an ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge said the DNR had the au­thor­i­ty to re­fuse to re­new Rogers’ per­mit.

For 14 years, Rogers had hand-fed wild black bears in ord­er to col­lar them with sat­el­lite track­ing de­vices.

He would post live In­ter­net vid­e­o feeds from their dens. He drew a glo­bal audi­ence and more than 140,000 Face­book fol­low­ers, who got to know bears such as Lily and Hope through Rogers’ live feeds. The cam­eras have been high­ly praised by scientists and teachers.

But on Mon­day, the Court of Appeals ruled that ra­di­o col­lar­ing of bears meets the statu­tory defi­ni­tion of “con­struc­tive pos­ses­sion,” which re­quires a per­mit. Rogers’ law­yer David Mar­shall said he is con­sid­er­ing wheth­er to re­apply for a per­mit or ap­peal to the Su­preme Court.

DNR spokes­man Chris Nis­kan­en said it’s very un­like­ly the a­gen­cy would is­sue a per­mit to Rogers be­cause of con­tinu­ing public safe­ty con­cerns. “We are very satis­fied with the court’s de­ci­sion,” Niskanen said. “The de­ci­sion was re­al­ly about wheth­er a per­mit is re­quired to col­lar a bear. We be­lieve we are the a­gen­cy that’s re­spon­sible for per­mit­ting wild­life re­search. Any­one in­ter­est­ed in it needs to come to us.”

The Court of Appeals ruled that Rogers needs no per­mit to use den cam­eras. Rogers plans to re­sume the broad­casts this win­ter. He has re­search in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing GPS co­or­di­nates, re­gard­ing the lo­ca­tion of bear dens, which he will use for cam­er­a place­ment. State law does not al­low a per­son to dis­turb the bur­row or den of a wild ani­mal be­tween No­vem­ber 1 and April 1. If Rogers need­ed to ad­just a den cam­er­a dur­ing that time, he would need a DNR per­mit. The a­gen­cy would have to see his pro­pos­al be­fore it would con­sider it, but Nis­kan­en a­gain said it is doubt­ful they would is­sue such a per­mit.

A wildlife biologist, Rogers, 76, op­er­ates the Wild­life Research Institute in Eagles Nest Township near Ely, Minn., with­in the Su­pe­ri­or National Forest. He bought land in the town­ship to study bears af­ter hear­ing that local resi­dents had been feed­ing bears for years with very few “nui­sance prob­lems.” Rogers not only feeds the bears, but pets, pats and strokes them. For $2,500, peo­ple can par­tici­pate in a four-day bear ed­u­ca­tion program at the Institute.

He first started placing radio collars on bears in the late 1990s and regularly got permits from the DNR until 2013. That’s when the agency began getting reports from homeowners that local bears were coming up to their residences and refusing to leave. There also were reports of dogs being injured by bears and a videotape of Rogers punching a bear in the face.

When the DNR re­fused Rogers’ per­mit last year, it cited public safe­ty is­sues, con­duct that it con­sid­ered un­pro­fes­sion­al and ques­tions about the va­lid­i­ty of Rogers’ re­search, in­clud­ing his fail­ure to pub­lish sufficient peer-re­viewed re­search. The DNR has re­ceived 69 com­plaints from area resi­dents about Rogers’ bears since 2009, court docu­ments said. The DNR’s ord­er did al­low Rogers to con­tin­ue feed­ing and interacting with bears and con­duct ed­u­ca­tion.

“We be­lieve hand feed­ing of bears and tam­ing these wild ani­mals pose a public safe­ty is­sue,” Nis­kan­en said. “Many bears in Eagles Nest Township view hu­mans as a source of food.”

Rogers en­joys wide sup­port of resi­dents, his at­tor­ney said. In 2011 and 2013, the Ely City Council is­sued reso­lu­tions sup­port­ing Rogers and his re­search. Rogers be­lieves com­plaints against him to the DNR start­ed when he chal­lenged the a­gen­cy and its ef­fort to re­voke his per­mits. He said the DNR had a cam­paign to dis­cred­it him through false claims, such as the public safe­ty is­sue. In one year, he went from no com­plaints to 17.

For his work, Rogers asked three re­search­ers to re­view his study protocols, and they found no safe­ty is­sues. He inter­viewed hik­ers and run­ners in the area, and al­most no­ one said they had safe­ty con­cerns re­gard­ing his bears.

On Mon­day, the Court of Appeals ruled the DNR made a rea­son­able in­ter­pre­ta­tion of state law that put­ting a ra­di­o col­lar on a bear means that per­son pos­sess­es the bear, which re­quires a per­mit.