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Michigan's bear hunting season starts Monday, opening dates staggered

More than seven thousand hunters have licensees to hunt bears.

Michigan's bear hunting season is opening on Monday, Sept. 10 in the Upper Peninsula, Friday, Sept. 14 in select areas in the Lower Peninsula and on Sunday, Sept. 16 for the rest of the state.

The Department of Natural Resources says that hunters help regulate the bear population in the state, and in 2017 and 2018, they made 7,140 bear licenses available.

The current population of black bears in Michigan is estimated to be at 14,000 adults, with almost 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the Lower Peninsula.

The state released the new population numbers in advance of Monday's opening day of the Michigan bear hunting season.

This year, there have been bear sightings in Muskegon, Kent and Ottawa Counties. The latest was seen in Whitehall where a black bear killed a family's pet bunny.

Andrea Misch posted on Facebook that she heard a noise around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday. She saw that her bunny cage had been knocked around. Misch said she thought it was a raccoon, but when she opened the door to retrieve the pet, she saw a black bear.

Misch told 13 ON YOUR SIDE the bear didn't look fully grown, likely between 18 and 24 months.

There was a bear sighting in Grand Rapids earlier this summer, and black bear sightings aren't uncommon in West Michigan.

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