DNR asks hunters to report bear den sightings

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan DNR is asking hunters to report bear den sightings when out hunting in northern Lower Peninsula.

If hunters and trappers come upon a denned black bear, the DNR wants the location reported to them in order to fit the bears with radio collars. This is for an ongoing bear management program. Those who encounter the dens should record the location by using a GPS unit if possible.

“Information gathered from bears assists in managing the black bear population,” said Mark Boersen, wildlife biologist at the DNR Roscommon Customer Service Center. “Currently, we have six female bears being monitored from both air and ground using radio tracking equipment.”

After the DNR locates a denned bear, the biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for the radio collar. Any bear selected will be sedated and fitted with the collar and ear tags. Biologists will pull a small, nonfunctional tooth from each bear to determine the bear's age and to provide a DNA sample. The bear will then be carefully returned to its den where it will sleep through the winter.

The DNR wants to remind all - that it is illegal to disturb a bear den, to harm or molest a bear in its den.