500 Pound Bear Dead in Kalkaska County, DNR Looking For Poacher

A 500 pound bear found dead floating in the Manistee River. The DNR says someone shot and killed it.

Now the DNR is trying to find out who poached the bear and they are offering a reward.

A boater found the bear floating in the Manistee River in Springfield Township near Rainbow Jim’s Bridge Boat Launch April 30th.

“He gets in our bird feeders and our seed and takes it all, but he’s our bear.”

Locals and DNR Conservation Officers still in shock after discovering a 500 pound bear stuck in a log jam, floating in the Manistee River.

Conservation Officer Sgt. Jeremy Payne says, “Paddlers were using the river and they saw the bear hide sticking out of the water. They couldn’t determine how big it was because it wasn’t much of it sticking out and then they called us.”

Officers did an x-ray and found metal. They found more during an animal autopsy.

“He was able to pull out a lead shot from a buck shot and that’s when we determined that it was a shot with a shotgun,” says Sgt. Payne.

They believe it happened a week or so before the bear’s body was found and now officers are on the hunt for a poacher.

“That was a very big bear so however it got there someone had to move that bear there or it was shot very close to the river,” says Sgt. Payne.

Lucy Downey lives down the street from where the bear was found and says this is a community loss and hopes to find the person responsible.

“The neighbors, he’s our bear he’s always been here, he belongs to us; you don’t go around shooting bears and animals you just don’t do that that’s against the law.”

If you have any information call the DNR 24-hour poaching hotline anonymously at 800-292-7800. They are offering a reward.