MDNR Warns Property Owners Not to Attract Bears

"The ideal situation is for a bear to walk past your property, not find a food reward, and move along on its own," said DNR wildlife communication Coordinator Katie Keen. "That's the best way to live with bears and not encourage conflict."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources posted a reminder for property owners March 14 that longer daylight hours and warming temperatures cause bears and other wildlife to start to move, so they should check to see whether they have items that soon may be attracting bears.

"The ideal situation is for a bear to walk past your property, not find a food reward, and move along on its own," said DNR wildlife communication Coordinator Katie Keen. "That's the best way to live with bears and not encourage conflict."

 

Black bears can be found throughout more than half of the state, according to MDNR, which reported that birdseed and suet are especially attractive to them because those foods are high-calorie and reliable compared to other plentiful and natural food sources. So bird feeders can draw bears beyond their natural habitat, where they would normally be enjoying roots of early spring plants and insects in trees and logs; bears also remember food sources and typically will continue to return to a location once they have found a food reward there.

"The majority of calls we receive about bears involve a bird feeder. Taking the feeders down before they are found by a bear can eliminate future problems," said Keen. "A bear doesn't just forget an easy meal, and wild animals can pick up habits."

The department said the easiest thing people can do to avoid problems with bears is remove bird feeders during the spring and summer months. "With an estimated 2,000-plus adult bears in the northern Lower Peninsula and almost 10,000 in the Upper Peninsula, there are plenty of bears searching for natural food that is plentiful in forests, fields, and wetlands," it said.

"Many people who live in northern Michigan remove their bird feeders during the spring and summer, but every year the spring sneaks up on us and suddenly, it is now that time of year," Keen said.

For more information about Michigan's black bears and how to prevent potential problems, visit michigan.gov/bear or watch "The Bear Essentials" video.

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