Black Bear in the Wild, Photo by: 9 and 10 News
The only bear species of bear found in Michigan is the black bear and if you’re interested in learning about hunting one, good news is coming your way. Coming soon to the cities of Escanaba and Cadillac are bear hunting clinics that will be put on by the Department of Natural Resources. It is through invaluable clinics such as these that those who intend to hunt black bear will learn the ins and outs of doing so, making attendance a worthwhile event for those who wish to set out in pursuit of a bear for the first time.
Hunting black bears in Michigan can make for quite an exciting experience. Adults are generally less than three feet tall when standing on all fours with males being slightly larger. Depending on gender, black bears can weigh anywhere from 90 to 500 pounds, in some cases making them quite a respectable harvest. Though they are typically solitary, males and females may be seen together during breeding season and mothers with cubs are often visible as well. Black bears reach sexual maturity around three to five years of age or sometimes earlier with females giving birth to helpless, hairless young.
Black bears living in Michigan have been known to surpass the 30 year mark in age. During their long lives, they are most active during the periods of dusk and dawn. They are opportunistic omnivores and will cover great distances in pursuit of foods such as insects, grasses, fruits, and berries as well as the hard masts of trees and sometimes small animals. They eat more in the fall months in preparation for winter hibernation.
Black bears den up between December and April in heavily forested areas, emerging in the spring to begin foraging. In the fall when the end of September arrives, bear season opens in Michigan for qualified, licensed hunters. It is at this time that attendance of a bear hunting clinic will prove useful, especially for those setting out after a bear harvest for their first time.
If you wish two participate in a clinic in order to learn more about hunting these elusive, shy animals, clinics will be available in Escanaba and Cadillac during the month of August. The Escanaba clinic will be on August 1st at DNR Pocket Park (2401 12th Avenue North). The Cadillac clinics will be on August 8th, 9th, and 15th at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center (6087 E. M-115). Each class will begin at 10:00am and end at 4:00pm. During this time, bear hunting will be discussed at length with special attention given to rules and regulations, carcass care, habitat, gear, and more. Some of the clinic will be conducted in a classroom setting while the remainder will be conducted in the outdoors. For more information regarding the clinic and how to sign up, click here
Classes such as this are a worthwhile investment for the beginning bear hunter as it is a great opportunity to learn what’s important during a bear hunt and how to harvest one safely. Though these animals tend to avoid human contact, that does not mean they will not injure or even kill in response to the feeling of being threatened. In order to give yourself the most successful bear hunt possible, the $25 fee for this type of clinic could be all it takes to make your experience with Michigan’s black bears a positive one.