Michigan Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers and wildlife staff are working to address multiple reports of nuisance bears in Iron River, and are asking for the public's help in removing any potential food sources that may be attracting the bears.
Residents in Iron River have reported that the bears appear habituated, showing no fear of humans and refusing to leave the area. A sow and three cubs, and possibly additional adult bears, have been repeatedly sighted in close proximity to homes near Franklin and 10th Streets.
DNR conservation officers have responded by setting live traps and utilizing hazing techniques to encourage the bears to leave the area. Wildlife Division staff are actively distributing nuisance bear prevention brochures to the public and urging residents and businesses to take precautionary steps immediately.
"We will continue in our efforts to trap and haze the bears, but we need the public's patience and full cooperation in order to remedy the situation," said DNR Sgt. Marc Pomroy. "This particular situation is problematic, as it will be logistically difficult to successfully trap and haze the sow and all three of her cubs."
Nuisance bear problems can be prevented or remedied by removing all potential food sources, including bird feeders, suet, grills, trash and pet food. Trash should be put out only on the morning of pick up and not the night before.
Residents are cautioned to not approach the bears and should immediately contact DNR law enforcement or wildlife staff in Crystal Falls at 906-875-6622, or by calling the Report All Poaching line 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-292-7800. Reporting sightings to the DNR allows for live traps to be set in the most advantageous locations.
"The sow and cubs will likely find a denning location in October or by early November, but denning may be delayed and the problem could persist if all food sources are not removed," said Kevin Swanson, DNR wildlife biologist and Upper Peninsula bear representative. "Removing potential attractants and deterring nuisance bear behavior is the most successful long-term solution to preventing habituation."
Trapping and hazing of bears onsite to deter future nuisance problems is the most effective solution after prevention, although trapping and relocation may be considered if hazing is unsuccessful. Lethal control will only be considered if bears are behaving in a threatening manner toward humans.
For additional nuisance bear prevention information, visit the DNR's website at www.michigan.gov/bear. "The Bear Essentials," a video detailing how to prevent and deter nuisance bears, can also be found on the DNR's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/michigandnr.
Contact: Kevin Swanson, 906-458-1889 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352