STEVENSVILLE, MICH. — What’s a bear to do after a long winter’s slumber?
Eat, of course.
Scott and Tammy Rose of Lincoln Township found this out first-hand. The Roses, who live near the south end of Grand Mere State Park, were visited by a black bear early Wednesday, March 30 — the same bear state officials assume wandered down from northern Michigan last spring and spent summer and fall roaming back and forth across the Indiana-Michigan state line.
The Roses were alerted to the bear around 2 a.m. when “the dogs went crazy,” Scott Rose said. He realized it was a bear when light broke and Tammy Rose saw their bird feeders. “She said, ‘You have a mess to clean up out here,’” Scott Rose said.
Rose said a neighbor also reported the bear stopped at his property, bending a 3/8-inch steel rod holding up a bird feeder. Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials last year said this is the first black bear visit to this region in more than a century.
Officials believe the bear wintered somewhere in Warren Dunes or Grand Mere state parks, or possibly on land owned by Indiana Michigan Power Co.
Then, last week, the DNR and Lincoln Township began fielding bear-related calls.
Mike Kinney has become very familiar with the bear.
Kinney, who lives on North Lake Path near Grand Mere, was visited by the bear on three consecutive nights.
“It seems to be habituated to humans,” Kinney said.
Last Friday around 11 p.m., “it pushed its snout against a window less than three feet from where my wife was reading,” he said.
Kinney grabbed a camera and snapped a close-up.
“The smear mark on the window was from the bear licking the window,” he said. “It stood on its hind legs and pulled down two suet feeders hanging by chains from beams. It was able to pull the auger hooks completely out of the beams. It also put its paws on one of the windows. Since the tall window is a single pane of 1/4-inch glass, I worried that it might have broken through.”
Kinney reported the incident to the DNR and local police.
Officials say if you come across a black bear in the wild, don’t approach it. Clap your hands, jump up and down and yell, and that likely will scare the bear away. Black bears under normal conditions are fearful of humans.
Officials said bird feeders and open trash containers will attract a hungry bear. Also, people should keep a closer-than-usual eye on pets.
Source: The Herald Palladium