DNR: Black bears like one hit on I-75 not uncommon in Lower Michigan

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan State Police are looking for the driver that hit and killed a full grown black bear in Flint.

The crash happened around 1 a.m. Monday along I-75 near Beecher Road.

”I was like really terrified and scared,” said Salera Collins, who lives off South Graham and Gilbert roads in Flint Township.

That is the area where a black bear was spotted on Sunday that had the neighborhood on edge until Monday morning, when Michigan State Police released information about the crash.

“We found out that the bear actually got hit by a car, so I was kind of devastated, because I was wondering like why the bear was here,” Collins said.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said bear sightings are fairly common in the northern part of Mid-Michigan, but less south south of the Saginaw area.

“Their range here in the state is from a line at right about Clare County and northward into the Upper Peninsula -- but we do occasionally get young males that wander down from that northern range,” said DNR spokesperson Holly Vaughn.

She said black bears right now are waking up from hibernation, so they’re hungry and looking for food sources or possibly a mate, leading some to venture off into new or different territory.

“They wander down south, and realize the resources aren’t as good as they are further north -- and they usually turn around and head right back up north,” Vaughn said.

She said black bear sightings aren’t generally common in Mid-Michigan, but they do happen. A black bear was spotted in Owosso last week, which Vaughn believes could be the same bear that was hit and killed on I-75.

In May 2018, a black bear was spotted in Midland and also Grand Rapids in the same week.

Vaughn said anyone who sees a black bear or hears about on in their neighborhood should remove all food sources and call the DNR.

The carcass of the bear that was killed has been turned over to the DNR for further investigation.

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