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MDNR Report

Black Bears

The black bear’s winter slumber will soon be over. In late March to early May, bears leave their dens and begin looking for food to replenish their bodies. As they rejoin us in search of nourishment, it's important to remember that human behavior affects bear behavior.

"Just like humans waking from a long nap, bears first look for water, often drinking from rivers and ponds or eating snow. Their early spring menu consists of last year’s vegetation, salvaged carcasses and fresh green shoots as they emerge," said Rachel Leightner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach coordinator. "Though these food sources are readily available, it is difficult to resist the calorie-rich offerings of bird seed, garbage, beehives and pet foods.

You might consider watching bears forage near your home as an exciting chance to see wildlife up close. But what’s really happening could be very troublesome for both you and the bear."

Bears that find reliable food sources near homes can become repeat visitors and may lose their fear of humans, she added. Additionally, if a female bear with cubs teaches her young to forage from these food sources, it can lead to problematic behavior later in life and negative outcomes such as property damage, loss of livestock and dangerous situations for both humans and bears.

Leightner said that, fortunately, avoiding these problems is easy if you take a proactive approach and suggested the following steps.

MDNR Report

Walleye Electro-fishing

Muskegon River anglers should be on the lookout this spring for Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel collecting walleye eggs below Croton Dam, which is in Newaygo County.

Electrofishing boat crews will collect walleye starting as early as the week of March 27 and concluding by April 14. The date these collections begin will depend on water temperatures, the presence of ripe fish and other factors. Most work likely will be completed from the last week of March through the first week of April. Five days of electrofishing are planned, with four of those being egg-take days.

"This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish," said Ed Pearce, DNR fisheries technician supervisor who coordinates the egg take. "The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay."

Michigan DNR Report

A 14-year-old boy reported missing early last week was treated and released from an area hospital after Michigan DNR conservation officers located him cold and wet near Foster Creek, south of Marquette.

At 4:25 p.m. Marquette County Central Dispatch informed local emergency responders of a runaway boy who lives along Marquette County Road 545 North in West Branch Township.
The DNR is not releasing the boy’s name because he is a minor.

Conservation Officer John Kamps and probationary Conservation Officer Steve Sajtar were patrolling nearby and immediately began searching the area.

Kamps and Sajtar located a set of footprints and began tracking them, south of County Road 545 North and Maplewood Road. Officers followed the footprints about 650 yards, until they encountered a person walking, who confirmed a boy who matched the missing teen’s description had walked east on Maplewood Road about three hours earlier.

Clear H2o Tackle will host its Annual Spring Open House this weekend at the store.

Hours are 7-7 Friday, 6-6 Saturday and 6-4 Sunday.

Owner Darrin Schaap says there will be deals on fishing gear for all anglers, including panfish, bass, catfish, walleye and trout and salmon. Tackle, clothing and electronics will be marked down during the show as well as drawing for prizes.

As a bonus, when you buy a qualifying item the store will buy your 2023 Michigan fishing (resident or non-resident) license for you.

For more information, visit the store on Christiana Lake Road near Edwardsburg or call 269-414-4131.

MDNR Report

Two people were arrested Saturday for possessing illegal firearms and drugs after a Michigan DNr conservation officer conducted a traffic stop in a remote area of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, in Otsego County.

The officer initially observed the vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road. During the stop, the vehicle occupants told the officer, “We are just out looking to hunt stuff.”

The officer saw that the passenger had an uncased .308 rifle near their right leg with a rifle round on the door handle. Additionally, the driver – who had binoculars around his neck – had a loaded .22 caliber rifle behind the seat.

Additional conservation officers soon arrived on scene to assist.

Officers searched the rental vehicle the suspects were operating and found two additional firearms, used rifle casings, alcohol, several containers of crystal meth, marijuana, and evidence of drug use.

DNR officers confiscated three rifles and one shotgun, along with the ammunition and drugs.

The names of those arrested will not be released until they are arraigned in court. Both suspects face multiple felony charges. The investigation is ongoing.