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Scruffy, the Bear that Wandered Michigan and Indiana, Captured and Euthanized


This bear’s atypical year-long southern Michigan/northern Indiana wanderings come to an end. 

A wandering black bear that made headlines last year when it became the first bear confirmed in northern Indiana in 140 years has been captured and euthanized.

Nicknamed “Scruffy,” the now 300 pound bear was all over the news last summer as it wandered from where it was first spotted in Ravenna Michigan all the way down to Michigan City Indiana. These are areas that generally don’t see bears. Authorities with the Michigan and Indiana DNR had been looking for the problem animal ever since then.

The male bear found it was the only bear in the area and quickly discovered there was a feast to be had in residential areas. “And then he kept discovering all these wonderful bird feeders and he’s the only bear down here, so he’s the only one that gets to eat them all,” DNR technician Jordyn Richardson told last fall.


Authorities got serious about the matter when residents started putting food out for the bear and it attempted to get into a home last fall.

But Scruffy eluded capture and things went quiet over the winter as the bruin apparently went into hibernation. They aren’t sure where the bear hibernated, but authorities suspect it was southern Michigan.

Then about a month ago, the bear made its re-appearance near Stevensville and immediately started raiding garbage and bird feeders again. And the Michigan DNR became even more concerned as the bear was apparently becoming more brazen in attempting to enter people’s homes.

Michigan DNR southwest region field operations manager Mark Sergeant told the bruin tried to enter homes by pushing on glass doors while standing on its hind legs.

DNR officials were finally able to trap the animal last weekend with a live culvert trap near Stevensville. Because of the bear’s repeatedly brazen behavior and because it showed little fear of humans, the Michigan DNR decided to euthanize rather than relocate the bear.

Unfortunately, it may have been the Scruffy’s attempts to get into homes that helped seal his fate. “That just tells us you completely habituated to people,” Sergeant told “You’re not scared of people.”

Scruffy may not be the only bear to wander out of the typical habitat they’ve been confined to in northern Michigan. Last fall, the Michigan DNR asked for the public’s assistance in potentially locating any denned bears that may be living in the more southern part of the state.



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Scruffy, the Bear that Wandered Michigan and Indiana, Captured and Euthanized