DEXTER (WWJ/AP) – The last time a bear was seen roaming around Washtenaw County’s Dexter was in 2011. It – or another one – may be back. reported that tracks were found last week in melting snow on the Hudson Mills Golf Course.

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Brad Phillips said the tracks he saw Thursday were at least three inches across and weaved in and out of woods on the course, about 40 miles west of Detroit.

Michigan Natural Resources wildlife division chief Russ Mason says the prints were unclear and could have been made by a bear or a large dog. The 2011, bear sightings were made at Hudson Mills Metropark and at a nearby home.

Bear Management Plan sponsored by the DNR found that in 2009, more than 85 percent of Michigan’s approximately 19,000 bears live in the Upper Peninsula.

Mason said the animals are not uncommon in the northern Lower Peninsula, and do venture south from time to time, more commonly in the western half of the state.

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As bears appear to be moving south, motorists are urged to watch for bears crossing the road.

According to the DNR, black bear are generally fearful of humans and flee if they sense you.

Bear experts say that in the rare circumstance that you encounter a bear that does not turn and leave, first try to scare it off by yelling while leaving a clear, unobstructed escape route for the bear. If the bear stands its ground, makes threatening sounds, take slow steps backward while continuing to talk to the bear in a stern tone. In the rare event of an attack, you should fight back with a backpack, stick or your bare hands.

For more from the DNR on Michigan bears and bear behavior, click here.

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