michigan bears

Michigan Bears are Waking up, Moving Around, and Eating

It's springtime, and that means everyone is getting up, getting out and moving around—that includes Michigan bears.

Michigan residents love their black bears, but it's important for the health and safety of both humans and bears for folks to keep their distance.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources gets quite a few calls in the spring regarding Michigan bears. Both homeowners and businesses make the calls.

"Everyone has a different point when they are going to pick up the phone and call us," says DNR wildlife communications coordinator Katie Keen. "The majority of calls we receive about bears involve a bird feeder that has been visited multiple times. Taking the feeder down before it's found by a bear can eliminate future problems. A bear doesn't forget a free meal."

The DNR estimates there are 2,000-plus adult bears in the northern Lower Peninsula and almost 10,000 in the Upper Peninsula.

That's a lot of bears looking for food. There are plenty of natural sources available, but Michigan bears will take food where they can get it.

Bears like suet and bird seed particularly tempting because of the high fat content—really high compared to natural sources.

And the DNR says folks should never intentionally feed the bears.

"Bears that receive a food reward when around homes, yards and neighborhoods typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a threat to humans and pets," says Keen. "If a bear walks through your property and no food reward is given, the bear will move along on its own. Help your community and keep bears at a distance. Bears are smart, so be smarter, and remove your bird feeders so you don't attract bears to your property."