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Take these steps to avoid encounters with bears: DNR

The DNR says don’t wait until you see a bear to do the following
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The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging Michiganders to take down bird feeders to reduce the odds of a black bear encounter.

It says bears are hungry as they leave their dens after a long winter and they're on the lookout for food and water.

“While natural food sources like water and green vegetation are available, eating from bird feeders, garbage cans, beehives and pet foods is like winning the calorie jackpot for a hungry bear,” the DNR said in a newsletter.

“Though it’s good for bears to pack on the calories right now, it’s bad to allow them to eat from food sources near homes and can often lead to severe problems for both you and the bear.”

The department says if bears have easy access to food, they could become repeat visitors, and even lose their fear of humans over time resulting in property damage or dangerous encounters with people, pets and livestock.

The DNR says don’t wait until you see a bear to do the following: 

  • Remove bird feeders or replace with bird baths, nest boxes or native flowers. 
  • Bring in outdoor pet foods and keep grills and patio furniture clean.  
  • Secure garbage cans indoors overnight; take them to the curb the morning of pickup. 
  • Protect beehives and small apiaries with electric fencing.

To learn more about being Bear SMART this spring, visit or contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.