Looking for a different type of hunt? How about a black bear? Michigan is home to more than 14,000 black bears, with 7,140 licenses available for the 2018 season. That means nearly 2 black bears for every license are available. If you’ve always wanted to hunt a bear, now is your chance.


Bountiful Black Bears with Little Competition


Most hunters pursue whitetail deer. In fact, hunting bears likely don’t cross their mind. Black bear season in the state of Michigan takes place in the fall, over the course of three separate seasons occurring between September 10th and October 26th. Dates vary by which bear management unit (BMU’s) you reside in (the state is divided into 10).


When applying for your bear tag, you must choose your season and zone to hunt. Bear tags are available in the form of a lottery system. Hunters receive one point for each year they didn’t receive a tag.


For each of the three bear hunting seasons, different amounts of licenses are available. When you apply, you will be mailed a notification that tells you the number of points you’ve acquired. If your name is drawn in the lottery, you can purchase your bear tag online or at an approved retailer.


When Hunting Bears, Follow the Regulations


Within 72 hours of harvest, the bear head (unfrozen) and pelt, or the entire animal must be brought to a bear registration station (by the licensee that killed the bear) for examination, sealing, and registration. You must provide the identification used to acquire the license. After the pelt is sealed, the DNR reserves the right to collect additional bear parts, such as a tooth, for research or management purposes.


Never bait a bear, especially with chocolate or cocoa. Always stay within the law.

If you’ve applied for a tag in the past with no luck, don’t stop. You can apply for your bear license for the 2019 season starting in May.  Keep checking for updates to the Michigan Black Bear Digest for the latest dates. Best of luck in your pursuits of a Michigan black bear in 2019.