Remember your actions can affect bear movement

It’s pretty impressive to think a black bear can find a meal about anywhere in the forest — food is not the limiting factor for bear locations, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources press release states

“Bear, like other wildlife, are smart and make finding food their job,” said DNR bear specialist Kevin Swanson. “If they come across an easy and reliable meal like a bird feeder, they will take advantage of it and will likely return for more.”

Bear are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat, with the majority of their consumption being roots, berries, nuts, and insects and their larvae.

Bear can be found in more than half of Michigan, with an estimated population of over 12,000 adult bear (2,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula and 10,000 in the Upper Peninsula).

“Bears that are fed typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a threat to people’s safety,” added Swanson. “In some cases, bears may even have to be euthanized.”

Reliable, calorie-rich food sources, such as bird feeders, can draw bears from their natural habitat. You can help your neighborhood and community by removing bird feeders and other attractants. Garbage cans, dumpsters, barbeque grills, restaurant grease bins and bee hives also can attract bears to an area that people frequent.

For your safety, never intentionally feed a bear — it is in your, as well as your neighbors’ and the bear’s, best interest. It is critical that bear retain their natural fear of humans.

Bear numbers and their locations are controlled through regulated hunting. Michigan’s bear hunting season has multiple opening dates that vary based on the location. For most locations, you must enter an application process to receive a bear license.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.