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If you see a bear den in the northern Lower Peninsula, let us know

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources asks hunters and others who spend time outdoors to keep an eye out for bear dens while in the field this fall and – if they find one – to report the location to the DNR to help with an ongoing bear management program.

If you find a bear den in the northern Lower Peninsula, record the location with a GPS unit, if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at 989-275-5151 or BoersenM@Michigan.gov with specific location information.

The DNR is looking for locations of denned bears in the northern Lower Peninsula to grow the surrogate sow program, which places orphaned bear cubs with mother bears. After locating a bear den, DNR wildlife biologists will determine whether the animal is a good candidate to join the program and, if so, will fit the bear with a radio tracking device.

“Information gathered from the bears assists in managing the black bear population,” said Boersen, wildlife biologist working out of the DNR Roscommon Customer Service Center. “The goal is to have eight or nine sows in the program. We currently are monitoring four females from aircraft and the ground.”

Bears selected for the program will be sedated and fitted with a collar and ear tags. A small, nonfunctional tooth will be collected to determine the bear’s age and to provide a DNA sample. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to its den, where it will sleep through the remainder of the winter months.

As a reminder, it is illegal to disturb, harm or molest a bear or bear den. Those who think they have found a den should report it and allow DNR biologists to further investigate.

Learn more about bears and bear management in Michigan at Michigan.gov/Bear.


Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Boersen Bear Den Check: Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Mark Boersen examines a sedated bear as part of a program that places orphaned bear cubs with mother bears.
Contact: Mark Boersen, 989-275-5151, ext. 2722730