Pay attention and take precautions if you have a trip planned to Northern Michigan, many black bear sightings are being reported.

Remember when that bear was wandering around Grand Rapids back in May? It may not have been just a fluke. Traverse City Record-Eagle reports "an uptick in black bear sightings across the region and accompanying social media posts are indicative of a climbing population."

Now, it could just be that the prevalence of social media makes it seem like there are more bears than ever but officials disagree.

Brian Roell, wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said there are about 14,000 bear in the woods across the state, the majority in the Upper Peninsula and about 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula. Population surveys for the species indicate a growing population, he said.

-Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers the following potentially life-saving guide to encountering a bear.

Do Not:

  • Show fear or run
  • Play dead

Do: 

  • Make yourself look bigger
  • Speak to the bear in a firm, loud voice
  • Stand your ground and then slowly back away
  • Fight back if attacked
  • Carry pepper spray- it stops attacks 65% of the time

Take a look at this video of a black bear that got so close to a Michigan hunter in his tree stand that he had to move his feet to scare the bear away. Hopefully, this is as close as you'll get to one.