Looking to see a Michigan black bear? Look no further than your backyard. That’s become the norm in more and more locations around the state.
State officials report that Michigan’s black bear population is spreading south into heavily populated areas while more folks are moving north into bear country. This is the time of year bears come out of dens looking for food. Birdfeeders are a common attractant. Their contents offer a high-energy fix for bears.
Black bears that visit feeders and find food can become habituated and lose their fear of human habitation. That can result in having a nuisance bear returning regularly.
“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears at this time of year involve a food source,” said Adam Bump, the black bear specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to temporarily take in their bird feeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed. Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food as long as they haven’t become habituated to bird seed and garbage cans.
Problem bears should be reported to the nearest DNR office, according to Bump, if no results are seen after taking appropriate actions. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/bear.