CLEON TWP. (WWJ/AP) – State officials are investigating the shooting death of a female black bear in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula as a case of poaching.

The state Department of Natural Resources says conservation officers were called to investigate the shotgun killing of the bear near a hunting blind on public land in Manistee County’s Cleon Township, located southwest of Traverse City. Witnesses told officers that the bear had been killed on Nov. 16 around 5:30 p.m.

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The DNR says three bear cubs are believed to have been orphaned as a result of the killing, although the cubs have yet to be located.

Conservation officers are seeking to interview a white male who was spotted at the scene and is believed to be involved in the killing. The man is described as approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” tall with a thin build and facial hair. He left the scene driving a dark-colored pickup truck.

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Bear poaching in Michigan is punishable by up to 90 days in jail with a restitution of $1,500 per bear, in addition to fees and court costs. If convicted, a violator’s hunting privileges may be suspended for up to three years.

Anyone with information is urged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching Line at 1-800-292-7800. Information can also be provided online at

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