If Bear Hunters See a Spirit Bear, They Are Legal To Shoot?
If you get a bear tag and are hunting this season and you happen to see a spirit bear, they are legal to shoot.
What is a Spirit Bear?
A spirit bear is a white-coated American black bear but some are also subspecies of an American black bear called a Kermode bear. The Kermode bear is found in British Columbia but sometimes journeys to parts of the United States.
The spirit bears that have been found in Michigan have been in the western portions of the U.P. The bears come from bears whose parents both have a recessive gene that brings out the white or light brown color. Some even are born with a reddish color to them as well.
Spirit Bears Are Legal To Hunt
Spirit bears are not protected by the state since they are just black bear that has white or light brown fur. So if you have a tag and a big one comes in, they are fair game. It would be awesome to see one in the wild and I have to admit, unless it was a giant, I might pass on the bear while hunting.
I have seen several bears in the U.P. that have small white markings on their chest but never a spirit bear. My buddy and I have several trail camera photos of bears with those types of markings on their chests and some have more white than others.
Spirit Bears Have Been Tagged By Michigan Hunters Before
According to MLive, two-spirit bears have been taken by Michigan hunters. Both were harvested in Ontonagon County. One was taken in 2008 and the other in 2012.
Other spirit bears have been captured on trail cameras since then but most people who see them keep it a secret. The spirit bear is a unique bear so hunters don't want the word getting out if they have one in their area.