- Before 1925, the black bear was unprotected in Michigan.
- Today, the Michigan DNR works to reduce the amount of bear-related conflicts while also making sure the population is healthy.
- The current estimated population is over 12,000 adult black bears.
The Need for Management
Early European settlers arriving in Michigan typically treated black bears as pests. The species went unprotected in the state until 1925. Black bears large omnivores that sometimes wander into communities looking for easy food sources like garbage cans or bird feeders. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources works to help reduce bear-related conflicts with humans.
Thanks to regulated bear hunting – including strategic seasons and a quota system – the black bear population has grown since the 1990s. The Bear Management Plan, put in place by the Michigan DNR in 2008, uses scientific-based methods to maintain the bear population while also reducing bear-related conflicts with humans. The plan has made a difference in ensuring black bears and humans are successfully cohabitating. The sale of hunting licenses directly provides much-needed revenue to ensure that this plan is implemented.
The following activities have contributed to positive black bear encounters and conservation of the species:
- Strict regulations as to when and where bears can be harvested based on scientific research to ensure a healthy, balanced and thriving population.
- The Bear Management Plan – a concept that uses scientifically researched methods to maintain the bear population while also reducing the number of bear-related conflicts.