Bears are an important natural resource in Michigan and the DNR uses a scientific approach in the management of this resource. Scientific management takes into account the status of bear populations, bear ecology, and how society is affected by bear distribution and abundance. Scientific information is obtained from in-state field surveys and research and the published literature originating from outside of Michigan. Scientific management also incorporates the concept of adaptive resource management, an iterative process by which changes in management actions (e.g., hunting regulations, or educational efforts) are evaluated to determine if these changes achieve management goals. Management efforts over time will be modified as new information is obtained or new analyses are conducted. The current bear management program includes research to better understand the ecology of bear and social acceptance capacity of Michigan's residents. In addition, the DNR provides information about bears to the public and technical assistance to landowners who experience unwelcome bear encounters. Sport hunting has the greatest capacity to influence abundance of black bear and is the key tool used to manage the size of Michigan's bear population. The DNR was missing one key component within the bear management program: a strategic bear management plan.
The plan, completed in 2008, provides strategic guidance for the management of bears in Michigan. The plan was developed to help:
- Maintain a viable bear population that is compatible with habitat, land use, recreational opportunities, and public acceptance;
- Conduct science-based bear management with socially acceptable methods;
- Provide additional recreation opportunities; and
- Educate public about black bear management.
Appendix B- Recommendation For Bear Management In Michigan
Bear Management Consultation Team Members