Michigan DNR wants to know locations of denned bears to help orphaned cubs find new moms

The DNR wants people to report bear dens found in the northern Lower Peninsula

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Mark Boersen examines a sedated bear as part of a program that places orphaned bear cubs with mother bears. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to know where bear dens are and they need help from people who spend the most time outdoors.

If you find a bear den while in the field this fall, the DNR wants you to report to the location to them to help with their ongoing bear management program.

They are particularly looking for locations of denned bears in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula to grow the surrogate sow program, which places orphaned bear cubs with mother bears.

After locating a bear den, DNR wildlife biologists will determine whether the animal is a good candidate to join the program and, if so, will fit the bear with a radio tracking device.

“Information gathered from the bears assists in managing the black bear population,” said Boersen, wildlife biologist working out of the DNR Roscommon Customer Service Center. “The goal is to have eight or nine sows in the program. We currently are monitoring four females from aircraft and the ground.”

Bears selected for the program will be sedated and fitted with collars and ear tags. The DNR said a small, nonfunctional tooth will also be taken to determine the age of the bear and provide a DNA sample.

When the procedure is done, biologists will return the bear to its den.

If you find a bear den in the northern Lower Peninsula, record the location with a GPS unit, if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at 989-275-5151 or BoersenM@Michigan.gov with specific location information.

It is illegal to disturb or harm a bear or bear den. If you believe you have located a den, you should report it and allow the DNR to investigate.

You can click here to learn more about bears and bear management.

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.