Preliminary numbers indicate bear kill below harvest target
Preliminary results from the 2018 bear hunting season show hunters found some success across Michigan’s bear hunting management zones, although numbers as a whole will likely be down from a year ago.
For the 2018 hunting season, approximately 54,000 hunters applied for 7,140 bear hunting licenses, the same number of licenses available last year. In 2017, 1,691 bears were taken. This year, preliminary numbers appear to be slightly below the 1,500-target harvest.
“While we are still waiting for all data from check stations and hunter harvest surveys, it appears that we’ll be on track for good harvest numbers and success rates,” said DNR Bear and Wolf Program specialist Kevin Swanson. “It seems that weather and mast availability may have impacted the harvest in some areas, but these factors are natural defense mechanisms that reduce the harvest in certain years.
“Bear hunting seasons have staggered openings across the state, so we have seasons that have been opening and closing since early September,” said Swanson. “All bears must be registered within 72 hours of harvest, so eventually we’ll have all that information, along with completed hunter harvest surveys, to give us great data regarding days of hunter effort and also success rates.”
See current bear hunting regulations at michigan.gov/bear.