Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — August 3, 2021
If you hunt bear in Michigan there is some important information that you need to know. Some regulations have changed since last year, here is an update that can help you prepare for this season.
The 2022 bear hunting season is right around the corner. For hunters who plan to use bait while hunting bears, the baiting period will begin soon. To help you prepare to establish bait sites, we’ve asked the Michigan Department of Natural Resources large carnivore specialist, Cody Norton, to answer the most frequently asked questions about bear baiting.
When can I start baiting?
The bear baiting period begins 31 days before the bear season opens in your bear management unit.
Can I use bait barrels on DNR lands?
No. The use of bait barrels is no longer allowed on DNR-managed lands. Bear bait barrels were previously allowed on DNR-managed lands for a two-year trial period during the 2019-2020 bear seasons.
Can I use bait barrels on private lands?
Yes. Bait barrels with a maximum hole diameter of 1 inch are still allowed on private land. There is no limit on how many holes the barrel can have.
What can I use to contain bait on public lands?
Dead and downed trees, rocks, soil, and other natural materials may be used. On public lands (including commercial forest lands), you cannot use metal containers, plastic, wood, concrete, glass, fabric, cloth, paper, or other man-made materials at a bait station.
Are there any types of baits that can be used statewide and in unlimited quantities?
Yes. Meat and meat products, including dog food; fish and fish products, including cat food; and bakery/confectionery products, including jams, jellies, sweeteners, candies, and other cooked or commercially processed products such as pie filling, yogurts, or granola.
In areas where baiting for deer is illegal, are there restrictions on the types of foods I can use to bait bears?
Yes. In areas where baiting for deer is illegal, you may only bait with meat, meat products, fish, fish products, or bakery/confectionery products.
In areas where baiting for deer is legal, are there restrictions on the types of foods I can use to bait bears?
In addition to meat, meat products, fish, fish products, and bakery/confectionery products, hunters in areas where baiting for deer is legal may also use other types of bait with the following timing and quantity restrictions: Prior to Sept. 15, the only bait that attracts deer that may be used to bait bear is grain. This bait must be inaccessible to deer and elk and must be limited to 2 gallons per bait station. After Sept. 15, you may use grains, fruits, vegetables, salts, and minerals, but the bait is limited to 2 gallons per bait station.
Where can I find a complete list of bear baiting and hunting regulations?
Ensure a safe and legal hunt by reading the 2022 Black Bear Digest, discussing your plans with fellow hunters and bear guides, and reaching out to the DNR with any remaining questions you have. Write to us at DNR-Wildlife@Michigan.gov.