Michigan Momma Bear on Death Row

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Originally Posted: 22 Oct 2010

Michigan Momma Bear on Death Row



Stop the trap-and-kill plan of a mother bear who climbed up a tree to protect her cubs and attacked a man who was in a tree stand bow hunting for deer.

Sign an online petition

And/Or make direct contact:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
phone - office (517) 373-3400
phone - Constituent Services (517) 335-7858
fax (517) 335-6863

Rebecca A. Humphries
Director of the Department of Natural Resources
Mason Building
Sixth Floor
Post Office Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909
phone (517) 335-4873
fax (517) 335-4242


It’s usually not objectionable when a mother protects her children. But when Mom is a black bear and she attacks a hunter (albeit one who smells like a barbecued pig), the citizenry can get scared and pandering government officials can authorize “vengeance.”

A northern Michigan man was injured Oct. 9 in his tree stand when he was attacked by a female black bear in Bear Creek Township in Emmet County, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE). According to reports, the mother bear bit the bow-hunter after he had hit or elbowed one of the cubs, causing it to fall and be injured.

Chad Fortune, 21, was treated for a bite to his left calf, thigh and shoulder. He told law enforcement officials that he was bow hunting for deer just before dark when the bears approached and then climbed up his tree stand and attacked him.

According to newspaper reports, the DNRE’s preliminary investigation indicated that Fortune may have been wearing clothing underneath his camouflage hunting gear that smelled like fried food items from a family party — a “pig roast” to celebrate his girlfriends’ grandparents’ 50th anniversary — he had attended prior to going hunting.

At first, state officials indicated empathy for the mother bear.

“Anytime you are dealing with a sow and her cubs, you have a potentially dangerous situation,” said DNRE’s wildlife chief, Russ Mason. “A sow will do whatever it takes to protect her cubs if she perceives a threat. In this case, the hunter was not threatening the cubs, but the sow apparently thought he was, and she attacked him.”

A day or two later, however, Mason announced the bear would be trapped and euthanized. “There have been several other reports of this bear and her cubs wandering around houses, so we have no choice but to err on the side of caution,” he said, adding — absurdly, considering the cubs were with their mother at the time of the incident — that the cubs are old enough to make it on their own.

DNRE’s spokeswoman, Mary Dettloff, told Born Free USA: “The situation may just resolve itself once the bear is in hibernation.”

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