DNR: Southernmost Michigan sighting of a black bear in a decade

Posted at 10:31 PM, May 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-28 06:58:58-04

PLAINWELL, Mich.-- Bear sightings are popping up in southern Michigan, and people are sharing their videos of their sightings. One particular black bear has been spotted a few times in the Hartford and Lawrence areas, and it's sticking around the southern part of Michigan.

Jordyn Richardson of the DNR says these sightings at these particular locations are out of the ordinary.

“This is the southernmost reported bear along the lake shore that we have had in the last decade,” said Richardson.

Richardson said the bear has mostly been spotted trying to get into bird feeders in people's yards.

“Bird seed has really high fat content, and that’s what attracts the bears, and they will just sit and mow on that for a while,” said Richardson.

The bear has even left feeders broken trying to get the seed out of them. The bear is finding food sources, and that is what is keeping him around the area, according to Richardson.

The two videos of the bear were captured not even a week apart. And Richardson said bear sightings are normal this time of year. “Normally we do have a few bears that make their way south, but they normally head back north. But this one seems to be sticking around. It’s because of the food sources available to him.”

It’s a grocery shopping dream for a bear, but a homeowner’s nightmare when their bird feeder ends up all torn up.

“What I suggest is they take in their bird feeder for a couple of weeks.”

They also suggest cleaning the grill out and making sure you don’t leave your trash outside.

The DNR is tracking the bear's journey through tips. DNR staff are grateful for peoples' videos and pictures, but they urge people to be cautious.

“It’s cool to see a bear. I suggest staying in your vehicle if you see a bear and you want to take pictures of it. Don`t get close to it, because it is a wild animal, so be cautious of that."

The DNR says bears are skittish animals, and they most likely are more afraid and aware of you than you are of them.

If you ever do find a bear in the woods the DNR says to make noise, act big, and whatever you do, do not run away.

If you see a bear call the DNR hotline at 1-800-292-7800.