Best to be aware of area bears on prowl for food

State wildlife biologists said this year’s late spring has left local berry crop ripening behind schedule, keeping black bears in the area looking for additional food sources, including garbage and seeds from backyard bird feeders.

The situation resulted in the state’s Deer Lake Roadside Park in Alger County being closed for three days last week while DNR staff tried to trap and relocate the “problem bear.”

Biologists were seeking the help of private landowners to allow traps to be set on private property in hopes of catching the bear.

“We have had a higher number of nuisance bear complaints in recent weeks than what we would typically see at this point in the summer,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell, who works at the DNR’s office in Marquette. “Due to the late start to spring the berry crop is behind schedule, which is leading to bears looking for other food sources, including trash and bird feeders. That is apparently what is happening at Deer Lake.”

Some of the measures typically advised for earlier in the year, including keeping lids on garbage cans secured and taking bird feeders inside if bears become a problem, could prove useful now.

“The bear (at Deer Lake) has not acted aggressively toward humans, but letting a bear become accustomed to people and manmade sources of food can lead to problems down the line,” Roell said.

Though bears may appear friendly and cuddly to some people, these wild animals – which usually run from people – may be less inclined to do so when a food source is available.

We think it’s a good idea to keep food away from bears around your home or camps and if you’re camping, picnicking or visiting a park, insuring that trash is put in garbage cans with secured lids is the best idea for all involved, including the bears.

State officials said residents experiencing trouble with nuisance bears on private property should contact the nearest DNR office for assistance.