Contact: Dwayne Etter 517-373-1263
Agency: Natural Resources
Assistance needed from successful bear hunters
September 9, 2003
State Conservation officials today announced they are seeking participation
from successful Lower Peninsula bear hunters the help the DNR evaluate the
size of Michigan’s bear population.
Wildlife biologists ask successful bear hunters to submit small amount of
hair and tissue samples from harvested bears. Newly collected hair and
tissue will be compared to more than 1,000 hair samples gathered from baited
hair snares across the northern Lower Peninsula earlier this summer.
Researchers use the bear’s own genetic “fingerprint” to identify individual
bears. It is the same DNA-based techniques used with humans to identify
The DNR uses population models to estimate bear numbers and is evaluating a
new method for estimating the size of the northern Lower Peninsula black
“Biologists would like to collect a small piece of muscle tissue and a small
hair sample from all harvested bears,” said DNR biologist Dwayne Etter. “The
piece of tissue can be any bit of muscle that is still fairly fresh and
clean, and needs to be about as big as the tip of your little finger. The
hair sample needs to be a couple of strands of hair pulled from the hide
with the follicles attached.”
Bear check stations will have all of the instructions and equipment needed
to collect the muscle tissue and hair follicle samples. Tissue and hair
collection will not interfere with any potential taxidermy work or meat
This project is a cooperative effort between the DNR Wildlife Division, the
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University, the U.S.
Forest Service, the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, the Little
River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and
Chippewa Indians. The Safari Club International – Michigan Involvement
Committee and the Michigan Bear Hunters Association also made financial
contributions to this project.
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