In 1946, the year Ben East, the famous writer for Outdoor Life, realized his dream, the Cadillac (Michigan) Bear Club had been in existence for some 10 years. East’s dream was to hold a great bear hunt in the vast Dead Stream Swamp, near Cadillac. East garnered support for the hunt from wildlife biologists, the state’s Conservation Commission and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. More than 100 people showed up for that first organized hunt. Hack Smithdeal, a renowned bear hunter, came up from Tennessee with his hounds and hunting crew. According to some enthusiasts, an exciting and successful hunt took place.

Others, however, said dogs were running all over, confusion reigned supreme and few bears were taken. But everyone agreed it was great sport.

At that time, local sheepherders considered the black bear akin to a pestilence, to be killed anytime the opportunity afforded. Fortunately, farsighted hunters saw the bear for what it is: a great game animal deserving of protection. Soon after the Dead Stream hunt, the Cadillac Bear Club transformed itself into the organization known since as the Michigan Bear Hunters Association.

President’s Message 03-10-2021

Hello Bear Hunters, I hope you all had a great winter and were able to get in some hunting. 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, and this issue of the Bear Facts marks the first time in six years that Tim Dusterwinkle is not writing this message.  I would like to thank Tim for all his hard work and countless hours spent leading MBHA to the place it is today.  I would also like to thank our recently retired directors for their time spent making MBHA one of the greatest conservation associations in Michigan.

This year is the first year we have ever had to cancel our annual convention. It was a decision the board did not make lightly and the restrictions that are still currently in place would have made it impossible.  We are still having our Warchest raffle with over $24,000 in prizes that will run until April 25th.  If you have not found anyone selling tickets, please email Brett Hopp at warchest@mibearhunters.org or call him at 989-710-1045 to purchase.  MBHA is in the process of planning next years convention which will be March 4th and 5th 2022 at Shanty Creek Resorts. If you have something you would like to donate for the 2022 convention, please contact Laura Patton at lpatton@mibearhunters.org.

MBHA has always worked hard, alongside other organizations, to try to maintain a healthy bear population in Michigan.  I believe we are seeing great results from our continued persistence to maintain current license quotas.  We believe the key to living with bears in many areas of Michigan is preventative maintenance, instead of raising tag numbers in many areas. We ask that you do your best to inform your neighbors to not put-up bird feeders until the end of May, keep garbage in a solid container and do not leave food scraps outside.  This is the time of the year the DNR starts receiving many nuisance bear complaints. The more we can do to avoid these situations the better off for everyone involved.

If you are looking for something to do in June, come and support MBHA at the Clam River Houndsmen Club in Falmouth on June 19th and the MHDF at the Crump Conservation Club in Linwood on June 5th. Check out their Facebook pages for more details.  Bear and Elk application period starts May 1st and runs through June 1st, do not forget to apply! In closing I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to lead MBHA forward.  There are some great things going on in our State and it is an honor to be a part of it.  Until next time!