There are over 12,000 black bears in Michigan. That's 12,000 reasons to ensure your home isn't visited by an up to 400-pound intruder with only one thing on its mind: FOOD. Spring is a dangerous time for bear / human encounters in Michigan, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages residents to take minor precautions to avoid potentially deadly attacks.

Related: Michigan’s Bear is Population Growing, Harvest Declines Slightly

In 2023, there were over 250 bear nuisance reports in Michigan. These reports range from bears tipping over garbage cans to posing a danger to pets. Moreover, bears remember exactly where they've found food in years past and repeatedly return to that spot in search of another meal. Chances are, you have a starving bear buffet in your yard as we speak, and the DNR is urging you to remove it ASAP.

Why Michigander's in Bear Territory May Want to Rethink Having a Bird Feeder

BEAR WARNING: Michigan DNR Urges Residents to Prepare This Spring

Bears emerging from hibernation instinctually head to their natural food sources, like ferns, clover, and grass, to wake up their long idle systems. If those aren't plentiful, the bears will seek out an easy meal, and your home offers plenty of them, especially your bird feeders.

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Having a bird feeder in your yard in Michigan bear territory (the upper two-thirds of the state) is like ringing a dinner bell for a 400-pound grumpy mammal who just woke up after 4 to 5 months of not eating. In other words, don't invite a 'hangry' bear into your home; store that bird seed in the garage in an airtight container.

BEAR WARNING: Michigan DNR Urges Residents to Prepare This Spring

Aside from being Michigan's largest predator, they also have an excellent sense of smell, so keeping your garbage indoors until pickup day is another way to ensure you aren't surprised by a furry attacker walking to your car. Your chances of being killed by a bear in Michigan are slim, though, with only three fatal bear attacks on record.

Related: Child Eaten by a Bear Still Haunts To This Day: Upper Peninsula

If you store any animal feed outdoors will also draw them closer to your home and maybe into the food bin. Should you find yourself facing a Michigan black bear, the DNR reminds you to be SMART:

  • S - Stand your ground. Don't run, and DO NOT PLAY DEAD
  • M - Make loud noises and slowly back away
  • A - Always leave room for the bear to escape; don't corner it
  • R - Rarely do bears attack, but if one does, fight back
  • T - Treat bears with respect and observe them from a distance

Also, NEVER INTENTIONALLY FEED BEARS IN MICHIGAN. Remember, they can recall where they found food in years past, and if you give them one meal, they'll be back; maybe the next time they come to grab a treat, you may end up being just the snack they're looking for.

CONFIRMED COUGAR SIGHTINGS: 43 Photos of Michigan's Apex Predator

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works with landowners and other agencies to track cougars in the state. Here's a look at confirmed photos of Michigan cougar sightings.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Michigan's 2023 Final Whitetail Deer Harvest vs 2022 Harvest

Another year and another downward trend continues for Michigan's Whitetail Deer Harvest in 2023. Here's a look at the final numbers from each county, ranked by lowest to highest deer harvested, and how they compare to the 2022 season.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Bear Attack in the Upper Peninsula, 1948

Bears in the Trash Dump


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