The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating a black bear sighting in Livingston County's Conway Township — the second in the region in recent weeks.
Joe Timlick told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus in a Monday article that he, his wife and his parents saw the bear 7 p.m. June 19 in a field behind their home in the rural township that's in the northwest corner of the county.
That sighting follows on the paws of a confirmed sighting of a black bear cub that was first spotted in Washtenaw County near Dexter at Hudson Mills Metropark on June 11. The bear was reported as weighing between 150-200 pounds.
Timlick, who is a hunter and familiar with seeing the animals Up North, told the newspaper he thought this bear was about 200 pounds. Males can weigh as much as 500 pounds, according the DNR.
DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said Monday in an interview with Patch that if the sighting is confirmed, it's possible they are the same bear. She said they can travel as far as 20 miles in a day and the current theory is the bear likely was chased south by older males. A black bear's range is 100 to 300 square miles and they travel along river systems and forested corridors.
"We won't know until we have some physical evidence," she said.
So, with these bears off to the west, could he or another bear wander to the Fenton area — which is about 25 miles away (or a day's walk for the bear)? Dettloff said it's possible, although she noted black bears try to steer clear of people and usually are not aggressive unless its a mother trying to protect her cubs. Bears also aren't that common in southeast Michigan, she said, although
"They are not grizzlies," she said. "These are black bears, which are shy and secluded by nature."
Residents who do see a bear are asked to report the sight. Dettloff also advised not to feed it because that would likely cause the animal to lose its fear of humans and creates a situation for an attack. If a resident finds a bear and feels threatened, Dettloff says experts suggest people wave their arms and yell to make themselves larger than they are.
To report a bear, call 517-641-4903.
For more information, go to the DNR's website on bears by clicking here.