The bear population in the state of Michigan is thriving, the DNR reports, but it might be a situation where it’s becoming too much of a good thing, at least in the state’s Lower Peninsula.
According to mlive, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson said there are signs of increasing bear population growth in the Upper Peninsula but the northern Lower Peninsula is way ahead of that.
“We show an increase of 29 percent since 2012 and almost 50 percent since 2000,” Swanson told the Natural Resources Commission last week. “This is a pretty pronounced trend upward in the northern Lower Peninsula population, we’re hoping to increase the harvest point significantly beginning next year for the 2017-18 seasons.”
Swanson also said people are complaining of encounters with bears resulting in what’s called a bluff charge, where a bear will run full speed at a human or animal, and then stop suddenly short without ever attacking.
“We are probably still below our goal to increase the population in the U.P. region,” Swanson said. “The habitat can support it through the year 2018 then we’ll reassess that whether or not to continue to increase it or to stabilize it. Our goal is to increase numbers then increase the quota to stabilize it.”
There are approximately 9,700 bears in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and in total, over 15,000 statewide. Swanson proposes a quota increase from 5,806 in 2016 to 5,925 for the 2017-18 season.