State may issue more bear hunting licenses

FILE PHOTO (AP/Toby Talbot)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to nearly double the number of bear hunting licenses up for grabs in West Michigan.

The state says there are too many bears in the Lower Peninsula, leading to more complaints.

“We always have the normal complaints such as bears going after bear feeders and grills, but we’ve had a lot more notable including bluff charges on humans, attacks on humans and, of course, domestic dog kills,” DNR wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson said.

The DNR’s solution is to increase the number of bear hunting licenses. In the Baldwin region — which includes Newaygo, Muskegon and Oceana counties — the DNR proposes to raise the number of licenses from 80 to 155 this year. The DNR expects that would lead to about 90 bears being killed.

The DNR is also proposing increases elsewhere in the Norther Lower Peninsula: from 90 to 100 in the Gladwin region and from 630 to 700 in the Red Oak region. There would also be some changes to the number of licenses issued in the Upper Peninsula. Statewide, the total number of licenses would increase by 119.

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The plan is not yet set in stone. The Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on it on March 9 in Lansing.

>>PDF: Bear hunting licenses proposal