Noted U.P. outdoor author publishes new, updated work on black bears

This is the cover of Richard P. Smith’s updated book on Michigan black bears. (Photo courtesy of Richard P. Smith)

MARQUETTE — What’s considered an authorative book on Michigan black bears is even better with the publication of the third edition of Understanding Michigan Black Bear.

The new book has 78 more pages than the second edition and many more photographs. Four chapters have been added and all existing chapters have been updated.

The book was written for anyone interested in learning about Michigan bears, how to avoid problems from them and how they are managed. The 336-page volume includes plenty of valuable information for hunters, hikers, campers, camp owners and anglers who will be spending time in bear country.

Even if you don’t plan on spending time in bear country, but simply want to learn more about Michigan bears, this book has what you are looking for.

Twelve of the title’s 29 chapters are devoted to what has been learned about the biology, behavior, life history and management of bears in the state through research.

There’s detailed coverage about a couple of extensive bear research projects conducted in the UP, including one that involved walking with bears. The other bear research project, which is ongoing, is on Drummond Island.

Three of the book’s chapters are devoted to bear attacks that have occurred in the state and how to avoid them.

Two more chapters cover nuisance bears and how they can be handled. The new chapters discuss color phase bears, bear predation on deer and how many bears there are in the state.

The book is divided into four sections – Research, Problem Bears, Management and Anti-hunting. The section about management includes a chapter about the history of bear hunting in the state.

The section on anti-hunting covers efforts to ban two of the state’s most popular and effective bear hunting methods in 1996 and how those efforts were defeated.

The information in this section will prove valuable if and when new attempts are made to eliminate hunting methods that play a key role in managing Michigan’s growing bear population.

One of the chapters that has been updated is titled Understanding The Permit System, which has been in effect since 1990 for issuing bear hunting licenses. Valuable data included in this chapter lists the number of applicants, licenses available and harvest for every year through 2022.

The book is available from select stores throughout the state, including many in the U.P. Smith will also have the new book along with his other titles about deer and bear hunting at the Lakenenland Sculpture Park Summer Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21.


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