Black Bear Boom!


Black Bear & Cub, photo by Mark Miller

The Detroit Free Press reports that the black bear population is booming in northern Michigan:

The black bear population has risen 29 percent in the region since 2012 and almost 50 percent since 2000, according to wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the Department of Natural Resources.

Swanson says complaints about nuisance bears are increasing, especially in the Baldwin management unit, which extends from Muskegon County north to Leelanau County. says Swanson recently told the state Natural Resources Commission the bear harvest should be increased significantly in the Baldwin area.

He says the Upper Peninsula population has grown by a more manageable 11 percent since 2012. There are about 9,700 bears in the U.P. and over 15,000 statewide. Swanson is proposing a quota increase from 5,806 in 2016 to 5,925 for the 2017-18 season.

About the photo, Mark says: After yelling a quick “hey” at mama to get her to turn around, there was a moment that I wondered if I had done a dumb thing. I was about the same distance from the house, as she was to me (100 yds.) I guess me and my Nikon didn’t pose much of a threat, as they slowly went on their way.

View the photo bigger and see more in his In My Backyard slideshow.

PS: I realize that back in May of 2015, I featured another photo of this pair along with general info about black bears in Michigan.

6 thoughts on “Black Bear Boom!

  1. I feel shocked that the population of black bears is so small and proportionally the legal number that can be hunted is so big, over 1/3 of the whole population. Do any bears in Michigan live out their natural lives? With such a huge proportion hunted annually every bear in Michigan must eventually die at the end of a gun. Michigan is such a big state it seems like we could support more black bears, who are docile berry and grub eaters, and allow some of them to live out their lives in peace.

    This information makes me feel very sad.


  2. Fantastic photography! Please let me know about the dog breed. Absolutely mesmerizing. I have
    a Borzoi; he is my fifth one following the loss of a 14 year old brindle Afghan. Thank you. Beautiful treasures.


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