FAIRFIELD TWP. — A black bear has been spotted wandering through fields and woods in the area of Carland and Riley roads.
A photo of the bear, posted by area resident Rosa Brown on the “Elsie Watch and Informational Group” Facebook page Tuesday, generated 37 comments and 913 shares as of Friday.
“That definitely looks like a bear!!” Sara Clapp wrote. “I wonder if that’s what got into the beehive a couple weeks ago!”
The only type of bear that calls Michigan home is the black bear. Most live in the Upper Peninsula — an estimated 11,000 adult black bears — according to the latest Michigan Department of Natural Resources statistics.
Another 3,000 black bears can be found in the northern Lower Peninsula. Some, especially the males, enjoy roaming but rarely go as far south as the Elsie area.
“That’s just down the road from us… He’s just looking for his friends here,” someone joked in a comment from HVAC contractor Bear Mechanical on Henderson Road.
Resident Mark Simpson reported spotting the bear at about 9 p.m. Tuesday along Carland Road, between Friegel and Ruess roads, headed southwest. He posted a photo he took of the bear as it ran into the woods.
Black bears in Michigan have black or extremely dark brown fur. Adult females weigh anywhere from 90 to 300 pounds, while adult males weigh 130 to 500 pounds.
So what do you do if you come across the black bear? Don’t run away or play dead, according to the DNR website, because that makes you look like prey to the bear. The state recommends standing your ground and making noise, a move that will usually scare the bear away.
But if the bear doesn’t bolt, state experts advise slowly backing away and calling the DNR Report All Poaching line, (800) 292-7800.
The Lower Peninsula’s bear hunting season starts in September. About 7,000 hunting licenses are made available each season in Michigan.
Hunting success rates generally range from 25 percent to 60 percent.
In 2017, 5,181 hunters harvested about 1,892 bears.
Some Elsie area residents expressed concern about the black bear’s safety.
“I hope he or she stays around and people leave him or her alone,” Karrie Arnett wrote on Facebook. “This has been fun watching where it goes. Breaks up the boredom.”
“I pray they will leave him alone,” Bev Jean Lemke added.