DNR Is Asking You To Be Bear SMART
It's becoming spring and the black bears of Michigan and getting active and they are hungry and the Department of Natural Resources advises you to be bear SMART.
When bears come out of hibernation they have one things on their mind and that is get something to eat. Because Michigan black bears are in search of food and more humans are taking walks, hiking, biking and getting active on the states trails, parks and forests, this is the most likely time of the year to run into a bear.
For the most part, bears don't want anything to do with people, they spend most of their time avoiding us and are really good at. Well just imagine if you miss lunch, you get a little cranky but at some point you go find something to eat. We have to keep in mind bears may have fattened up for their winter sleep, but now the fat is gone and its about loading up on food once again.
Since the bears and humans are most active right now the likely hood of running into a bear is more prevalent than the rest of the year.
According to the DNR, if you stumble upon a bear the best thing you can do is stay calm and be bear SMART:
S - Stand your ground. Do not run or play dead.
M - Make loud noises and back away slowly.
A - Always provide a clear, unobstructed escape route for the bear.
R - Rarely do bears attack, if they do, fight back.
T - Treat bears with respect and observe them from a distance.
The reason the DNR doesn't want you to run is that is a trigger for a bear to go after food just like when chasing a deer, rabbit, turkey or whatever. Plus bears are faster than they look and they can climb trees so shimming up a tree is a no go as well.
Usually walking back slowly making loud noises will do the trick. Don't let the animal feel it is trapped, let it take the path of least resistance. If you make a bear feel cornered, this could be a problem.
It be chaos if a bear attacks but like a dog they do not like their nose hit so punch like hell and in most cases they will run. Similar to a shark attack with a punch to the nose, also gauging of the eye can be effective.
If you see a bear, getting out of the area slowly is more important that getting a picture and please, not the time for a selfie. If there bear if far off in the distance and is not coming your way at all but don't take your eye off them or you might have a bad day.
Also, as much as cubs are cute, the mother bear is the most unpredictable bear and will do anything to protect her cubs, even if you aren't doing anything so be extra bear SMART when encountering a momma bear with her young.
Right now if you have bunch of bird feeders or any types of food sources that you have control of, it never hurts to just remove that stuff until we get a little further along into spring and closer to summer. Don't worry about the birds, they will be fine.
It's good idea to keep garbage in your garage until garbage day. Even if you are not using your grill, it offers up a smell that you may not notice but a bear can smell miles away so clean out that grease catcher or put the grill in the garage.
Be very careful if you are camping in the spring because more than likely, you are on the bears turf and they have learned the smell of a campfire usually means there's so food nearby so follow all bear safety rules for camping regarding food storage and where you use the bathroom. Basically, don't be a bait pile or you may get a hungry visitor.
Bears love an easy meal, especially in the spring so keep that in mind if you live in an area where there are bears or if you are out for a hike and plan on some early spring camping.