UP bear hunting season begins, hunters report nearly 500 pound kills

Menominee County hunter Daniel Farnsworth shot his first Michigan black bear on September 25, the bear weighed nearly 500 pounds.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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AMASA, Mich. (WLUC) - Menominee County hunter Daniel Farnsworth shot his first Michigan black bear on September 25. The bear weighed nearly 500 pounds.

“I looked out the blind and here comes this bear walking down the track,” Farnsworth said. “He stopped right in front of us, and I shot him. He reared back and I knew it was a good hit. He ran 30 yards and then went down. It still hasn’t hit me yet it was a big bear.”

This is the first time Farnsworth drew a bear tag. He has hunted his entire life and killed the bear on opening day in the Amasa Bear Management Unit (BMU).

“I could have shot any bear as my first bear. I wanted a good, mature, Michigan black bear as my first bear. For me, I am ecstatic,” Farnsworth said.

Farnsworth took the bear to Sommers Sausage Shop in Crystal Falls to get processed. Owner Patrick Sommers said he has processed two bears that weighed nearly 500 pounds in two weeks.

“This is the busiest bear season we have had in years,” Sommers said. “We will end up pushing nearly 100 bears by the end of the season. That is nearly double of our usual 60 bears processed each year. It is fantastic.”

Sommers has owned the sausage shop for 30 years. He said this year’s bear season has yielded some of the biggest harvests he has ever seen.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it is too early for accurate or clear data, but the sizes of killed bears hunters report have been larger than normal.

“Generally most stations are reporting similar numbers, if not up a little bit more compared to last year. Hunters are reporting a slowdown, which is what we expected as October hits and temperatures drop. Bears are starting to think about hibernation,” said Bill Scullon, Michigan DNR Field Operations Manager.

Scullon said bear season ends on October 21 or 26, depending on which unit you are in.