My brothers and I started bear hunting in 1973 after we met Gary Baldwin from Marquette Michigan. Gary, his dad Dick, and brother Greg had been hunting bear for a long while around their cabin near “the big hole!” They invited us up for a hunt, and we were hooked.
I have hunted bear in Ontario, Quebec, Colorado, and at the Baldwin camp for many years. All the Ansel brothers have some interesting stories they could tell you around a campfire. I’d like to think we have learned a few things about “Old Blackie” over the years. We’ve taken our fair share of bear, and brothers Darryl, Dean, and Myself have all shot bear large enough for the Pope and Young record book. We have hunted exclusively with a bow and arrows for over 30 years. We understand that the black bear is a wonderful resource here in Michigan. We don’t over hunt an area, try our best not to shoot sows, and respect our quarry and their ability to outsmart us-most of the time! The first picture is of my dad Norm and Myself with a legally taken bear from the Upper Peninsula. The second picture is of illegally “sold” bear parts headed for the Asian market!
Recently two men were arrested for buying and selling bear parts here in Michigan. There is a huge market for black bear parts in Asia, and it is quite lucrative! A single dried gall bladder can be worth $30,000.00 dollars, and a single serving of bear paw s0up can go for $1500.00 dollars. Is that nuts or what? According to the experts World-wide trafficking of bear parts is valued at 2 billion dollars.
In the early days of bear hunting we were approached by a couple dog hunters who were “guiding” several Oriental hunters! They seemed interested in our success and when they thought they knew us well enough asked if we were interested in a business transaction. We told them no thanks and called the Department of Natural Resources. They showed up and searched their trucks, checked licenses, and asked questions, but nothing came of it. To bad cause everyone knew they were up to “no good!” Just like these two guys from Midland who have been charged! Bear claws are another “hot” commodity on the market. Last I heard a single claw can go for $25.00, which means 20 claws would sell for $500.00 bucks! I found out the hard way when a taxidermist conveniently “lost” my bear claws when I took a bear to him for a head mount.
The Special Investigating Unit of the DNR received a tip that these two guys were asking successful bear hunters to sell them bear parts. A sting operation caught them red handed and they now face seven counts against them. Their looking at fines, court cost, restitution, and jail time. I’m so glad they got caught! It’s a dark, shadowy, illegal business that could care less if every last one of our natural resources were depleted.
Anyone with any information of the illegal selling (or trading) of any Michigan wildlife or fish should call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.