Members photo with bearHounds barking

MBHA History

In 1946, the year Ben East, a famous writer for Outdoor Life, realized his dream, the Cadillac Bear Club had been in existence for 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.

However, others 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.

Key to living with bears in michigan

We believe in preventative maintenance instead of raising tag numbers.

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Don't put up bird feeders until April.
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Keep garbage in solid container.
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Do not leave food scraps outside.

Our Story

Meet the team

MBHA Board of Directors

Today, our work is more important than ever.
The Michigan Black Bear, although its numbers are healthy, is facing several threats, including loss of habitat, particularly in the Lower Peninsula.
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