Michigans first 2017 bear season underway

Michigan’s first bear season of 2017 starts today in a few counties of the northwestern Lower Peninsula, with seasons in other locations opening Sept. 10 and 17.

For the 2017 hunting season, 7,140 bear licenses were available across 10 different bear management units in Michigan. Close to 56,000 hunters applied for either a preference point for future license drawings or a bear hunt unit – 4,500 more than in 2016. Drawing results were available to applicants starting June 26.

Since 1925, hunting has been part of the state’s bear management program, with several different hunting structures seen over the years. The majority of Michigan’s bear population resides in the Upper Peninsula, with an estimated adult black bear population of nearly 10,000. The Lower Peninsula’s adult black bear population is estimated at over 2,500.

“Our diverse habitat in Michigan produces excellent bear hunting opportunities,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources bear management specialist Kevin Swanson. “Millions of acres of public land give unlimited locations for hunters to target. You just have to keep in mind where bear are traveling now and the food they’re after this time of year.”

The 2017 bear hunting regulations can be found in the Bear Hunting Digest or by calling a DNR Customer Service Center for assistance. Hunters are responsible for knowing all hunting regulations.