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Press release from Michigan Department of Natural Resources [via]

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that a black bear recently shot and killed in Haring Township, north of Cadillac in Wexford County, is the same bear that mauled a teenage girl, Abby Wetherell, in that same township in 2013. The DNR confirms a 9-year-old female black bear was killed April 30 by an individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, acting in self-defense. The individual let out a dog, which then immediately ran after what appeared to be a bear cub. The dog was stopped at the end of the tree line barking when the owner saw a bear appear and attack the dog. The individual went to assist the dog and the bear ran off . . .

As the owner attempted to render aid to the injured dog, the bear returned to the scene and approached the resident who then shot the bear. The situation was reported to the DNR and investigated. It was determined to be a justifiable killing of the bear.

The bear carcass was sent to the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing for pathology review. DNA samples were sent to Michigan State University for genetic testing. MSU’s Jeannette Kanefsky of the Molecular Ecology Laboratory did the genotyping.

“The results of the genetic testing are consistent between the sample from the 2016 shot black bear and the evidence at the 2013 black bear mauling scene,” said Kanefsky. “The genotypes obtained from the samples are a match.”

The Wetherells were informed late yesterday of the findings.

Through a process called “cementum annuli analysis,” DNR wildlife biologists examined the bear’s teeth to assess her age and number of litters. They determined this bear had three litters throughout her lifetime, including in 2013 when the mauling took place. It remains uncertain whether cubs were in the vicinity when the attack on Abby occurred.

After the attack on Abby, the DNR put extensive effort into setting traps and responding to bear activity in the area.

“DNR staff is relieved to have this matter resolved for both the Wetherells and the community,” said Keith Kintigh, field operations manager for the DNR’s Northern Lower Region. “Over the last three years, we have been highly responsive to multiple bear issues in the hopes of catching this animal.”

Michigan has an estimated black bear population of approximately 11,000 bears, with roughly 80 percent of the population in the Upper Peninsula. There is an established bear population in the area of Wexford County. The DNR reminds the public that black bears generally are fearful of humans and usually will leave if they become aware that people are present. Bear attacks on human beings are highly unusual and in most cases occur because a sow is protecting her cubs.

Here are some important facts to remember when in an area where bears may be present:

  • To avoid surprising bears, travel in small groups and make noise.
  • If you encounter a bear, stand your ground and then slowly back away. Do not turn away. Do not show fear and run. Do not play dead.
  • Make yourself look bigger and talk to the bear in a stern voice.
  • If actually attacked, fight back with a backpack, stick or bare hands.

For additional information on living with bears, visit the DNR website at

About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

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  1. Here are some important facts to remember when in an area where bears may be present:
    — Carry a .44 Magnum revolver with a 6 inch barrel and 240 grain jacketed soft points.
    — Practice enough to be able to shoot your intended target.

    What? You mean the Michigan DNR omitted those two items from their list?

    • Another problem is DNR for Wexford only lotteries out 75 bear hunting licenses a year. I think there is about 10% success rate. I tried for many years to get a bear permit for my grandfather’s land, they destroy his property and have been in his yard when I have cousins and Aunts there, during the daytime. I have offered my grandfather a 45acp to carry on his hip while doing chores but he refused and bought a can of bear spray. My grandfather is a staunch supporter of the NRA but refuses to exercise his right unless hunting deer.

      • I haven’t looked into it because I haven’t had the problem, but doesn’t destruction of property fall under nuisance animal control, negating the need for a license?

        • In MI you are not required to have a license to shoot nuisance animals such as opossum, coon, coyote, chipmunks and red squirrel. This doesn’t apply to bear, deer, elk, bob cat, mountain lion (screw what the DNR says Mesick Michigan was rampant with big cats in the 80’s and early90’s) and wolves can go either way, people in the UP probably just bury them deep.

      • In Lucas, just north of Cadillac, I have a friend that saw a cougar while camping last summer. Growing up in the area we would constantly find large feline track in the area just north of Lake City and just before Morestown (commonly refereed to Firetower Hill). Even after photos were taken the DNR refused to admit that there were cougars in the area for decades, and it has only been in the last few years that they have admitted that there may have been some during that time.

  2. “If actually attacked, fight back with a backpack, stick or bare hands.”

    Or more preferably, a 44 magnum or larger caliber handgun. It’s a bear. You really want to take it on without a real weapon at the ready?

    • Gunz? No Gunz allowed here. It would give to much advantage to that virus, that rampaging disease called humanity, that plague upon the earth with their destruction of Mother Earth and the genocide of all of her loveable, cuddly and innocent children.

      Baby children?, not so much. Just ask any “pro-choice” proponent. But they definitely get absolutely enraged about those baby seals

      So how did they get to hate and despise themselves and humanity to such a degree that they rejoice at the murder of our unborn, celebrated as a “choice”?

    • Well, in fairness, the original Dept. of Natural Resources source does have an additional bullet point:

      “Carry pepper spray, which has been shown to be effective in fending off bear attacks.”

      That’s not advice to carry a self-defense firearm, but it is mention of a self-defense weapon of some kind. I don’t know why that bullet point was cropped from the article.

      Also consider that the DNR’s approach is to provide information applicable to as wide an audience as possible. Not everybody who might encounter a bear would be able to carry a firearm, let alone one in a higher powered caliber like .44 magnum.

    • Yep, the bears gotta do what the bears gotta do. I have always made it a habit of carrying a firearm when hiking in bear country. Usually either a 357 or a 44 in remote areas, but more often a 9mm since the problem critters are usually of the human variety!

      • Regardless of the “variety”, not many problem critters that cannot be handled with a .357.

        • I’d rather have a Glock 20 than a .357 for black bears. If we were talking brownies I’d step it up to a .44, though.

  3. If actually attacked, fight back with a backpack, stick or bare hands.

    Does this inane rule also apply in Detroit?

  4. Where’s al sharpton on this one?

    Yea…i got there first.

      • Hey, back off. The bear made some poor decisions in the past but it was just starting to put its life back together.

        • After attacking Ms Abby the bear was clearly just about to get her life back on track… She was probably just trying to sell the dog a magazine subscription so the bear could make money to go to hair dressing school in the fall!

  5. I’m betting he used a backpack* to kill the bear. Comes highly recommended by the DNR, dontcha know?

    *I call my .357 “Backpack” in the interest of full disclosure

    • “Yeah but was the dog OK?”

      Probably. There wasn’t a cop on the scene at the time…

  6. Talk softly and carry a high caliber pic a nik basket! Hey, Boo Boo, I need a…….BLAM…..thud!

  7. Lower Peninsula idiots (apologies to LP Michiganders). This time of year you NEVER approach a bear because you have no idea where the cubs might be and if you get between a mother and her cubs that bear will rip you a new one.

    We had bears and their cubs walk through my yard all the time when I lived in Houghton (Da U.P., der eh?) where everyone owns at least one shotgun and one .308 or .30-06, usually all three and more. Heck, if it was a bad spring they’d wander into the local grocery store (Usually Festival Foods since it was close to a wooded area) and head to the meat counter.

    People just stayed out of the way and let the bears leave. No one ever got attacked.

    • Lower Peninsula idiots…when I lived in Houghton

      My guess would be Michigan Tech. I think their admissions department removes the PC bone from student’s heads on enrolment.

      • I grew up in Houghton, both my parents worked at MTU, my dad ran the chemistry department’s instrumentation lab and taught graduate level organic chemistry and my mom taught heavy metal carbonyl chemistry as well as Chem 101. I’m a born Yooper.

        Tech has it’s problems with PC, but they’re greatly blunted by the fact that it’s hard to insert SJW BS into the hard sciences and that engaging in such tomf^%kery gets people killed in the sort of fields Tech teaches.

        Unfortunately as I said, Tech has it’s problems, most notably lying to students about how fast they can graduate. “Didn’t take calc in High school? Nah, we can get you through in four years” is total nonsense, but it keeps the freshman numbers up so the state doesn’t complain about a public school having low numbers.

        • That’s not JUST a Tech problem, a tech problem. I took one semester at their 4 year pace. In class every day from 7am to 9 pm. Not even a time in there for a meal.

          I decided early it was taking me 5.

        • @Pierson:

          Oh, I’m sure it’s not just an MTU problem but it was a big one for Tech. It had to do with the fact that the President wanted numbers while the Deans wanted quality. In a fight between the Dean of Engineering and the other Deans vs. the President, the President usually wins.

          Especially under Tompkins the University would take kids out of down-State schools, tell them they could get a four year degree, keep them four two years and then either fail them out or inform them that “four years” really meant “six years” and that loans don’t cover six years of undergrad.

          This resulted in numerous changed as the Department level, most of which were opposed by the administration because they became a “visual representation” of the administration’s failures. For instance the Chem department started “The Learning Center” which was basically off hours remedial work and assistance for those struggling to pass classes. My mom actually set that up once she had tenure.

          Generally speaking, tech is a good school, but one you have to be prepared to enter, otherwise you’re gonna get screwed.

  8. I wonder what type of gun he used. Rifle? Shotgun? Pistol?

    In any case, it’s certain to antagonize both PETA and Black Lives Matter.

  9. Montana Grizzly Bear Notice:

    In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Montana Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field. We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on
    their clothing so as not to startle the bears that aren’t expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a

    It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear poop. Black bear poop is smaller and contains a lot of berry seeds and squirrel fur.
    Grizzly bear poop has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

    • Years back someone made a fake addition to an actual National Parks sign that modified the sign to say what you’ve posted here. Looked pretty legit though, unless of course you read it.

      They were never caught, but the NPS was PISSED and wanted to find and charge them with serious federal crimes.

  10. All you need for bear defense is a 30-06 or 8mm Mauser. It will take down any species. The First Nation Guides in the Yukon and NWT think even that is overkill. They usually carry 30-30 lever guns.

  11. People sure love/hate their dogs and hate bears. Who would let out their barking dog out on the woods in the first place? Is it wonder dog? Then see it run a cub up a tree, go to assist the dog? Why didn’t he shoot the dog? What does it know more than the bear?

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