Michigan Bear Season Results Announced

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The Department of Natural Resources announced the initial assessment of the 2007 bear season. The Michigan bear season began as early as Sept. 10 and ran as late as Oct. 26 in some parts of the state.

"At this time, it appears that the 2007 bear harvest is slightly lower than the harvest of 2006," said DNR Species Management Section Supervisor Michael Bailey. "However, preliminary harvest information also shows the bear harvest was close to our desired harvest for 2007."

Weather conditions were unseasonably warm throughout most of the bear season, which may have reduced hunter and bear activity. The season also was punctuated by severe storms with heavy rain which also may have reduced hunting activity. Mast crops were about average throughout the state. In years with an abundant amount of available natural foods, bear are less likely to visit bait piles regularly. Baiting is the most used method of hunting bear in Michigan. In most areas, hunters reported seeing bears or bear signs on a regular basis.

The highest hunter success rates were found in the first hunt periods throughout the state. Amasa, Bergland and Baldwin Bear Management Units appear to have had the highest overall success rates in 2007.

Hunter success rates varied depending on local bear abundance, local weather and mast crop conditions.

In general, the first hunt periods have the greatest number of applicants and those interested in these seasons generally must apply for several years before being successful in drawing a license for these hunt periods. The total number of bears registered for each Bear Management Unit in 2007 was as follows: Amasa (223); Baraga (424); Bergland (282); Carney (186); Gwinn (239); Newberry (410); Drummond Island (8); Red Oak (309); Baldwin (32); and Gladwin (8).

The 2008 bear hunt application period has changed from previous years. This year the application period will be May 1-June 1. Hunters may apply for a specific hunt or may apply for a preference point only, which increases a hunter's chance to be drawn for a license each year.