Black bears are doing well across northern Michigan. In fact, they're doing so well, people are complaining more about bears getting into bird feeders and bee hives and damaging orchards.
It’s still rare to encounter a bear in the woods. But last year a hunter was attacked near Petoskey. And state wildlife officials say bears become aggressive when people forget they are wild animals.
Sometimes bears just out of hibernation wander into town or into someone’s back yard to rummage for food.
Last spring, hundreds of people in Traverse City flocked to a tree with a bear in it near the airport. State wildlife officials captured the young male and moved it to a distant swamp.
But an incident from last fall near the Bear River in Emmet County continues to raise concerns.
On an October evening, three yearling bears and their mother attacked a bow hunter up a tree in his stand.
DNR wildlife chief Russ Mason says the problem likely had been brewing over the summer.
“There were reports of a sow with three cubs showing up in people’s yards and on their porches and people feeding the bears. They liked looking at them and thought they were amusing. People do things like that. They ought not to.”
In this case, the deer hunter says he kicked and hit a couple of the cubs when they climbed up his stand.