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Makwa have always been a significant part of the Bad River Natural Resources Deparment Wildlife Program—makwag are all over the reservation, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't seen a black bear roaming around the forest or even a more urban spot. The Wildlife Program conducts yearly makwa population surveys and aids in trapping and relocating nuisance bears when needed. 



Population Surveys

The black bear population is surveyed at the same time every year using bait stations on the reservation. Unfortunately, during the 2016 and 2017 season, severe weather and staff presence prevented the regular surveys from taking place. 

2015 Population Results

In this year, the makwa population remained healthy and on the rise on the Bad River Reservation, as 44 of the 50 bait stations (88 percent) were hit during this year's survey. This is up from 16 percent in 2013 and 28 percent in 2014. 


Nuisance Control

In 2017, the BRNRD Wildlife and Conservation Enforcement programs relocated 4 nuisance bears out of a total of 13 bear complaints that were investigated by the wildlife and conservation enforcement programs. 

Relocating bears is only a last resort action. Before reporting a nuisance bear in your area, make sure that there is no trash lying around (especially food wrappers and containers) and keep your dog and cat food indoors where bears cannot access it. Bird feeders may need to be removed from your yard if they are getting frequented regularly by Makwa.  We regularly see spikes in bear activity around the communities in the spring, then again mid to the end of June when breeding activity peaks, and again in the fall just before winter.  Never go out of your way to feed a makwa, as this will teach them to hang around you or your house. This could end up bothering you as well as other people in the area, and could lead to a makwa getting needlessly shot and killed, if not relocated. 

Remember to respect our dear neighbors—Makwa belongs here just as much as we do.



A makwa flees from the trap and release crew in a new, safe location.



Makwa caught on trail camera.