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.

 

  • Jimmy Troutbum

    30 days of bear baiting prior to season is plenty.

    We certainly do not need more trash on our public lands, no barrels should be allowed.

    What SHOULD be stopped is the running of dogs on small tracts of public land. Should be a minimum of 1280 continuous acres in order to train dogs, not 40.

    These guy’s are completely disrespectful of private property and chase off the bears from these small tracts so nobody can hunt them!

    Their dogs run all over private property and not only ruin the bear hunting on these lands they push deer away from these properties as well.

    ENOUGH of the dogs!

    As for the bears, I hunted the Western UP 5 year’s ago and the bears outnumbered the deer. They did in 1996 and 97 too!

    Back in the late 90’s at least we could find grown bears.

    Last trip we saw 11 bears at on stand and only one was a boar and he wasn’t big enough.

    Saw 9 at our other stand, all 4 year olds or less.

    We always baited 10 days before we hunted and saw plenty of bears.

    • Steve

      Michigan law does not allow barrels or any other trash ( cans, plastic, paper, etc.) when baiting bear. All bait must be placed on the ground.

  • MiBearHunter

    Great… the population has increased 29% in the last 5 years, but only increase the quota 2%. Smart management once again from the MDNR.