Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

November 8, 2013

Wildlife officials seek black bears in dens

ROSCOMMON (AP) — Michigan wildlife officials want hunters and trappers to watch for black bears in dens so the animals can be fitted with radio collars for ongoing research.

Information gathered from female bears helps the state Department of Natural Resources manage the black bear population, according to wildlife biologist Mark Boersen. Currently, three female bears are being monitored in the northern Lower Peninsula with radio-tracking equipment.

"We would like to have a few more female bear collared throughout the area," Boersen said in a statement this week. "Hunters are all over northern Michigan right now, and they provide a great set of eyes for information on denning locations."

Denned bears shouldn't be disturbed by the public, the DNR said.

People who encounter bear dens are asked to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible, and contact Boersen at the Roscommon Operations Service Center at 989-275-5151. After locating a denned bear, biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for a radio collar.

If selected, a bear will be sedated by a biologist and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags. Hair samples will be taken for DNA analysis, and a small tooth will be collected to determine the bear's age. The bear then will be returned to its den for the winter.

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