Michigan NRC Initiates New Bear Work Group

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The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) on Thursday approved license quotas for the 2010 bear hunting season that will result in a harvest similar to last year's. In total, 11,742 licenses will be available for the season.

In the western Upper Peninsula (UP), the quota was reduced to attain a desired harvest of 10 percent fewer bears than originally proposed. According to Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) calculations, the reduced harvest would allow the bear population in the western UP to expand by about four percent each year. The change was the result of public input.

The NRC also acted to form a 20-member work group to explore future regulations changes related to two specific issues; problem bears and bear management on private property.

The work group will meet on the same days as NRC meetings and will develop their recommendations in time for action at the Dec. 9 NRC meeting. All meetings will be open to the public.

Members of the work group will be appointed by a three-member committee headed by NRC Chairman Keith Charters, and also includes Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director Erin McDonough. Any interested individuals or organizations are encouraged to apply. Applications will be available on-line early next week at www.michigan.gov/hunting.

"We're not going to rush into making changes," said John Madigan, who chairs the NRC's Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. "We want to look at the science and give everyone the opportunity to speak to the issues, but the work group recommendations and NRC action will occur yet this year."