Black bear population booming in northern Michigan
Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula is experiencing a bear boom. The black bear population has risen 29 percent in the region since 2012 and almost 50 percent since 2000, according to wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the Department of Natural Resources. Swanson says complaints about nuisance bears are increasing, especially in the Baldwin management unit, which extends from Muskegon County north to Leelanau County.
Swanson recently told the state Natural Resources Commission the bear harvest should be increased significantly in the Baldwin area. He says the Upper Peninsula population has grown by a more manageable 11 percent since 2012.
There are about 9,700 bears in the U.P. and over 15,000 statewide. Swanson is proposing a quota increase from 5,806 in 2016 to 5,925 for the 2017-18 season.