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Possible bear tracks spotted near horse stables in metro Detroit

Posted at 5:28 PM, Mar 31, 2017

Twice in the past year large paw prints have been spotted near the Brighton Horse Stables that have raised red flags. Some people believe that a bear could be lurking around the Howell area.

“It scared me at first,” said Maddy Connolly, a guide that spotted one of the paw prints. “We’ve had guides in the past who have seen large tracks out on the trail and we’ve joked around saying it’s a bear, but now that we’ve seen more. Yeah, it scares us a little bit.”

The first print was found over the winter, but recently Connolly was taking a guided tour along the Brighton trails when she spotted another print. She didn’t want to spook the guests that she was taking on a guided tour so she didn’t stop, but when she circled back she found one large print with claws dug into the earth.

“At this point we can’t say exactly what it is, because we don’t know. We haven’t seen a whole sequence of tracks anywhere either.”

Connolly said the horses she was guiding actually trampled the area where she found the newest track, so she could only take a photograph of one. The workers contacted the DNR, and they are now investigating the incident.

It’s not impossible to spot a bear in southeast Michigan, though it is considered rare. A DNR worker told 7 Action News that if a bear did wander into the Howell area it was likely a younger male bear looking for a hunting ground, however, they also noted that they’d typically consider an area like that less desirable and eventually move on.

Connolly said while it caused an initial scare, they’re growing more comfortable since they haven’t had any issues arise. The prints have been found very close to the stables, but no animals have turned up injured, missing or dead.

“We haven’t had any chickens go missing,” said Connolly. “We’ve never had a rabbit eaten, a goat taken or even a pony. Whatever it is, I think it’s harmless because there are so many small animals it could prey on and it hasn’t.”