Did you know there are about 12,000 black bears in Michigan? More than 9,000 black bears are in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

I've never seen any black bears in the Upper or Lower Peninsula except for Oswald's Bear Ranch in the U.P.

I'm beginning to understand why, because black bears are more active at dusk and dawn. I certainly don't want to run into any black bears anytime soon, especially at close range.

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But I've always wanted to spot a black bear wandering through the woods or along the side of a dirt road somewhere in the Upper Peninsula.

According to mlive.com:

Scientists estimate there are around 10,700 bears in the Upper Peninsula, and about 2,200 in the Lower Peninsula. That is a 25% increase in the U.P. over the last decade, and a nearly 70% increase below the Mackinac Bridge.

So what do we really know about black bears? I found this website at michigan.gov with all kinds of fascinating facts about black bears.

Here's a fact I'll bet you didn't even know about black bears, courtesy of michigan.gov:

  • In Michigan, bears typically enter their den by December and come out in late March or April. Bears are not true hibernators because they only drop their body temperature by a few degrees, whereas a hibernating animal's body temperature is almost the same as its surroundings. Bears are easily awakened and capable of fleeing immediately if they feel threatened during their denning period.

I have spent so much time in the Upper Peninsula touring all kinds of wonderful sights including Tahquamenon Falls, Pictured Rocks, and lots of beautiful waterfalls.

And you would think at one time or another, you might see a wild black bear roaming around the U.P., looking for something to eat or a place to just take a long afternoon nap.

There have been reports made in the Lower and Upper Peninsulas complaining about bear sightings. And I think if I pay close attention to these nuisance complaints, perhaps I'll get to see my first black bear or bears, somewhere in Michigan.

According to mlive.com:

Data shows nuisance complaints about bears are concentrated around Traverse City and Gaylord in the Lower Peninsula. In the U.P., the nuisance complaints are centered in Sault Ste. Marie, on Drummond Island, and the stretch of Keweenaw Peninsula between Baraga and Houghton.

If you want a guarantee you'll see black bears in the U.P., then head straight to Oswald's Bear Ranch in Newberry. (oswaldsbearranch.com)

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