Black Bears....Michigan's largest predator.
Nothing stimulates the heart rate more...not even love ... than a chance meeting with a Black Bear. Just a bear print on a sandy flat of the river can cause some concern. A bear is 180 to 220 pounds as a young adult and stands 6 feet tall . Their teeth, claws and strength are formidable. They like to hang around cool cedar swamps along the river in the heat of the day. Scared yet ? Well don't be. If you understand their mind set you can cherish the moment.
You need to be concerned about any encounter with a Black Bear, however there are 2 types of encounters in which you should be most concerned. A mother and her cubs , and an old rogue bear. What you are most likely to encounter are young adult black bears which pose mild concern, but will get that heart pounding. The young adults are like teenagers, they are on the move looking for their own territory and not that smart. If they see you they are likely to flee the area fast. Always make noise so they know you are there.
If you come upon a mother bear with her cubs, she will get defensive and on edge. She lingers with them for their protection as the clubs feel no danger from you at all. Cubs are curious, wander around Mom and can be problematic.
If you are confronted face to face with a bear that doesn't run ...you have a problem. If it is a mother she will thrash and click her teeth that sounds like a person snapping their fingers. That is her warning to you. You should move away, increase the distance from her and the cubs. Do not, I repeat, do not take one step towards her. A mother bear can tell if you move one inch closer, which could trigger an attack. Back track slowly, keep your front side towards her if she is looking at you. When she retreats out of sight make noise so she knows where you are.
The old rogue Black Bear is the most dangerous. Unfortunately they are usually 4 to 5 hundred pounds. With old age they seem to lose their fear of man. If this bear sees you and wants to predate on you, he will size you up. If he makes any move towards you without some sort of warning, like the clicking of teeth or thrashing, he's coming. Get ready to fight. Wave your arm, scream, throw things at the bear, get as big as you can, make as much noise as you can. If he does give you a warning signal to defend his space, increase the distance between you and the bear, do not turn your back to the bear. Yell, bark like dog ... make noise. If it should come to contact, yell and fight with what ever is available. Report this bear to the MDNR .... please!
I have never had a precarious meeting with a mother bear and her cubs, or a rogue bear. My experience has always been , the bear will flee faster than I can blink. I fish alone often and quietly wading in the river gets me close to animals to they're dismay.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings