MBHA History



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 Smith deal, 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.

Updated 3/8/17