MARQUETTE (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering a warning about bears in the state.
The DNR has responded to 170 reports of nuisance bear complaints so far this year as bears are on the move. DNR officials say adult bears have been moving because of the mating season, while younger bears are looking to find their own territory.
“You’ve got a lot of traveling going on,” DNR wildlife specialist Kevin Swanson told WLCU-TV. “We don’t trap bears unless it’s a recurring problem where the food source has been removed.”
Swanson says people should call the DNR if they spot a bear on or near their property. You should never approach or feed bears.
Bears can be active 24 hours a day, but are most active at dawn and dusk. They are generally fearful of humans and will leave if they’re aware of your presence.
Basic DO’S and DON’TS of a Bear Encounter
- DO travel in small groups and make noise
- DO stand your ground and then slowly back away
- DO make yourself look bigger and talk to the bear in a firm tone of voice
- DO fight back if actually attacked
- DO carry pepper spray — Studies have shown pepper spray to stop attacks about 65 percent of the time.
- DON’T show fear or run
- DON’T play dead
How To Prevent Bear Problems When Camping
- Keep a clean camp, clean your outdoor grill after use, and store garbage in bear resistant containers or in your vehicle. Don’t burn or bury garbage — this attracts bears.
- Don’t sleep in clothes that have cooking odors or blood on them
- Keep food and toiletries in air-tight containers and lock in your car or a bear-resistant locker, or hang in a tree or between two trees away from your sleeping area
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/bear.
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