Michigan Men Arrested for Buying Black Bear Parts

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reporting that two men have been arrested for "commercializing black bear parts."

Typically I might save a post like this for one of my "Dumb Poachers" entries, but, near as I can tell, the parties involved weren't poaching, per se. Instead, they seem to have been arrested for purchasing "parts" of black bears..

According to an official release from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, two Midland, Mich., residents have been arrested on charges of the illegal purchase of Michigan black bears and "black bear parts." The charges are the result of an undercover investigation by the department's Law Enforcement Division's Special Investigations Unit. And no, before you ask, the release does not specify what kind of "parts" the two alleged perpetrators were purchasing.

Whatever the two men were doing unraveled when a local conservation officer received a tip that one of the men had been contacting hunters and soliciting the purchase of black bear parts. Investigators set up an undercover contact with the suspect and an associate, and nailed their targets after a series of transactions.

Each of the seven counts against the defendants carries a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail plus $1,500 in reimbursement per animal that was illegally bought.

Early reports don't speculate much on what the two men were hoarding black bear carcasses for, but Michigan DNR Detective Lt. Jason Haines pointed out that, in creating a market for the parts, the two men were providing incentive for poaching.

"Individuals soliciting for the purchase of black bear parts creates a market for the illegal parts and provides a financial incentive for poachers to take the animals during closed seasons, in excess of established limits, and by unlawful methods," said Detective Lt. Jason Haines. There is a black market for black bear parts in Asia, where the parts are used for medicinal purposes."

Anyone with information of the illegal commercialization of any Michigan wildlife or fish or any natural resources violations are encouraged to call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

*To report suspected poaching in your area, check the NRA's list of poaching hotlines.

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