While out in the field in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, hunters and trappers might come upon a denned black bear. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for locations of denned bear in order to fit them with a radio collar for ongoing bear research.
“Information gathered from female bears helps us to manage the black bear population,” said wildlife biologist Mark Boersen. Currently, only three female bears are being monitored in the northern Lower Peninsula through the use of radio-tracking equipment.
“We would like to have a few more female bear collared throughout the area,” said Boersen. “Hunters are all over northern Michigan right now, and they provide a great set of eyes for information on denning locations.”
After locating a denned bear, biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for radio-collaring. Only female bears are selected. They 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 tooth will be collected to determine the bear’s age. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to the den where it will sleep through 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 Service Center at 989-275-5151. The public is reminded that they should not disturb a bear den or disturb, harm or molest a bear in its den.