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Categorized | Outdoors

DNR seeks help finding denned bears

The Department of Natural Resources is once again seeking help from hunters and trappers through the winter who encounter denned black bears while in the field in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In the northern Lower Peninsula, this effort is part of an ongoing DNR program to annually radio-collar a sample of female bears. Bears also are becoming more common in the southern Lower Peninsula and biologists are interested in learning more about their movements and habitat associations.

“Information gathered from bears will assist biologists in managing the black bear population,” said DNR wildlife biologist Mark Boersen. Currently, three female bears are being monitored from the air and ground in the northern Lower Peninsula through the use of radio-tracking equipment.

After locating a denned bear, DNR biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for radio-collaring. Bears that are selected will be sedated by a biologist and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags. Hair samples will be taken for DNA analysis and a small non-functional tooth will be collected to determine the bear’s age. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to its den where it will spend the remainder of the winter months.

People who encounter bear dens are asked to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at the DNR Roscommon Operations Center at (989) 275-5151 for bears in the northern Lower Peninsula; or Dwayne Etter at (517) 373-9358, ext. 256, for bears in the southern Lower Peninsula. The public is reminded that it is illegal to disturb a bear den or disturb, harm, or molest a bear in its den.

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