Monday, January 19, 2009

Black Bear Management in Lower Michigan

black bear
black bear (photo from free desktop wallpapers)
based on a news article in the Grand Rapids Press, "DNR plans to deal with growing bear population," by Howard Meyerson, Jan 17, 2009
and a news release of the Michigan DNR, "DNR Invites Public to Comment on Draft Bear Management Plan," Jan 14, 2009

The Michigan DNR is taking notice of the increasing black bear population in Lower Michigan. Over the next few weeks the DNR will be holding open houses around the state.

"These open houses are the perfect opportunity to present the draft bear management plan and have a one-on-one conversation about the plan with the public," said Adam Bump, DNR bear specialist. "The citizen-based Bear Consultation Team, DNR staff and others involved with the recommendations for this plan have worked diligently to create this draft document."

Most of the proposals have to do with hunting regulations, which is the primary means of controlling bear populations. The six primary goals of the plan are:
  1. Maintain a viable bear population within habitats suitable for the species where socially acceptable.
  2. Maintain bear abundance at levels compatible with land use, recreational opportunities, and the public's acceptance capacity for bear.
  3. Manage black bear habitat to provide for the long-term viability of the species.
  4. Use hunting as the primary tool to help achieve population goals.
  5. In addition to hunting, provide bear-related recreational opportunities which recognize the aesthetic value of bear.
  6. Promote education about bear, bear-related recreational activities, and how to minimize negative human-bear interactions.

Bump explained that Michigan has about 18,000 black bears. The population has doubled in the past decade, putting Michigan's black bears on a collision course with humans.

Bears are being involved in collisions with automobiles. A bear crossing sign was installed near Cadillac last year. They have begun moving into southern Michigan, the region south of a line from Saginaw to Muskegon, and may even be breeding there. The number of bear sighting reports coming into the DNR from the southern half of the state has quadrupled from 6 to between 20-30 calls a year. People need to learn how to live with bears.

"Education is an important tool," said Bill Krepps, of Ravenna, the president of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Krepps was a member of the state bear consultation team. "People need to get aquatinted with the fact that there are bear here and that there will be more and more in northern Michigan."

The open house in west Michigan will be Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m.: Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, East M-115, Cadillac

See Warning! Bear Crossing
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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