BEWARE: Bears becoming road hazards in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

BEWARE: Bears becoming road hazards in Mid-Michigan

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ARENAC COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Pure Michigan is a place where not only do you have to watch for deer crossing the roads, but bears.

“When driving at night a bear can be in front of you in an instant before you realize it,” said Mark Boersen with the Department of Natural Resources.

So, be on the lookout because crashes involving bears are on the rise, according to the Arenac County Sheriff's Department and the DNR.

A bear was recently hit on I-75 in Arenac. The driver was not injured.

Kathy Bair has a friend who's hit a bear.

"In her car, driving. It rolled up, broke her windshield. Didn't kill the bear though,” Bair said.

The reason for more bear crashes? More bears.

"We're looking at indicators that show us a growing population,” Boersen said.

Jerry Wenkel of Standish caught a bear on his trail cam rolling around his backyard.

"Just in the last week he's been there three times." It's only half a mile to I-75 from right here. So, for them to be on the freeway would be no stretch,” Wenkel said.

So, why are we seeing this rise in bears? The DNR said it's all got to do with hunting.

"For the last five or six years, we've lowered our hunter quotas or our desired harvest in order to grow the population,” Boersen said.

Boersen said there’s not much you can do to avoid bears on the road – just slow down and keep your bright lights on if possible.

Borsen said once a bear starts crossing, it usually doesn’t stop. 

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