Michigan DNR Asks for Hunters' Help in Locating Bear Dens

The Michigan DNR is calling on all hunters and trappers to share the location of black bear dens.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for locations of black bear dens in the Northern Lower Peninsula. To that end, they're asking hunters and trappers to keep an eye out and share the location of any dens they may come across.

The DNR needs the den locations in order to fit the bears with radio collars for its bear management program.

After following up and surveying a potential bear den, a DNR email news brief indicates biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for a radio collar.

DNR officials will sedate chosen bears and fit them with collars and ear tags. They'll then collect a small tooth to determine the bear's age and provide a DNA sample. Afterwards, they'll return the bear to its den. The bear will likely wake up come spring wondering where it got the new necklace, the ear piercing and a toothache.

"Information gathered from bears assists in managing the black bear population," DNR wildlife biologist Mark Boersen indicated. "Currently, we have six female bears being monitored from both air and ground using radio tracking equipment."

"What is neat is when we are able to collar wild animals we're able to see what they do and where they travel and we're also able to visit them again," biologist Katie Keen added. "We can learn a lot with this specific bear management program using both air and ground tracking equipment."

Keen indicated the DNR is trying to track female bears with cubs. She emphasized that if a hunter or trapper does find a den, it would be helpful to record its location. She also recommends using GPS and taking a few photos of the site if possible.

Those who encounter bear dens in the Northern Lower Peninsula are asked to contact Mark Boersen at 989-275-5151 or [email protected] with specific information.

The DNR reminds people it's illegal to disturb, harm or molest a bear in its den.

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