Are There Bears In Michigan? Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Amin Tawar

Are There Bears In Michigan?
Are There Bears In Michigan? Everything You Need To Know

Michigan also known as the Great Lake State, is a beautiful state bordered by huge lakes. These rugged mountains and dense forests of the Upper Peninsula make it an excellent habitat for wildlife, including a reasonable number of bears. 

Yes, you heard it right. Michigan is home to about 19,000 black bears that roam around in the Michigan forests. About 90% of them can be seen in the Northern peninsula and the rest 10% in lower Michigan. 

But this is not where the facts end when it comes to bears in Michigan! Below I’ve explained everything you must learn about the bears in Michigan.

Are There Bears In Michigan?

The short answer is yes, Michigan is home to approximately 15,000-19,000 black bears, of which 90% of them are located in the Northern peninsula and the rest 10% in the northern part of southern Michigan. 

This is because the Upper Peninsula supplies them with an ideal habitat, ample food, and a surplus of cover. 

The black bears live up to their name with a dense, dark black coat while the other Western species might have lighter brown fur. 

An adult male black bear can weigh anywhere from 150 to 400 pounds and stand up to five feet high. The female bears can weigh anywhere from 100 to 250 pounds. These black bears can live around 25-30 years. 

The additional two species that were found in North America – the polar bear and the grizzly bear – are not historically seen in Michigan.

What Counties In Michigan Have Bears?

As seen above 90% of the bears are found in the northern peninsula which includes Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim, and Benzie counties. 

Of course, the Sleeping Bear Dunes’ name comes from the Native American Tribes witnessing a body of a sleeping bear in the sands, high above Lake Michigan. Although it is doubtful that you will locate a Black Bear at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, however, they still inhabit the area. 

How Common Are Bears In Michigan?

Are There Bears In Michigan?
Are There Bears In Michigan? Everything You Need To Know

Though there is a huge population of black bears in Michigan, it is not easy to spot them, as they are naturally timid. While you hike in the woods of Michigan, the black bears typically use their sharp sense of smell to catch you and move on even before you can come in contact. 

Also Check Our Guide On Bears In US

Do Grizzly Bears Live In Michigan?

No, the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) species that was usually found in North America were not historically found in the state of Michigan.

How Big Are Bears In Michigan?

An average adult black bear can stand up to three feet height at the shoulder when on its four legs and can stand up to feet tall from nose to tail in length. 

Male bears are normally bigger than females. An adult female black bear can weigh up to 300 pounds, and adult males can weigh up to 500 pounds. Cubs weigh about 1 pound but can increase up to 10 pounds before leaving their den. 

What Do Michigan Bears Eat?

Black bears in Michigan are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders, utilizing both animal matter and plants. They usually feed on the natural berries, nuts, fruits, roots, fish, small animals, and even honey that is found in extensive amounts in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. 

In early spring, bears are found in wetlands, munching on plants like skunk cabbage, grasses, sedges, and squawroot. Berries fruits are mostly consumed during summer, including elderberry, blueberry, blackberry, pokeberry, juneberry, wild grapes, black cherry, chokecherry, and dogwood. 

Hard mast from beech, oaks, hazelnut, and hickory are important during fall as they will accumulate the needed fat reserves for the winter. They feed heavily during fall to gain nearly two pounds in a day.

Also Check Out Our Guide On Bears In New Jersey

Are Michigan Bears Aggressive?

No, Bears in Michigan are shy, solitary animals like bears usually avoid immediate contact with humans. As they are non-aggressive in nature, they rarely harm people, except when threatened by human encroachment or habitat loss. 

Can I Shoot At A Bear In Michigan?

Yes, you can shoot a bear in Michigan. However, this is possible only when you have a Bear hunting license provided by the government. The bear licenses are available through a draw. You must buy a bear license and a base license to hunt.


And that was everything you need to know about the bears in Michigan. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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