T.R. Michels

T.R. Michels is a professional guide who specializes in trophy whitetail, turkey and bear hunts in Minnesota. He has guided in the Rocky Mountains for elk and mule deer, too. He publishes the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at www.TRMichels.com.

Response to a Hunter - About Bear Research, Conservation & Hunting

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: October 9, 2011 - 10:17 AM

A hunter on a talk forum responded to my last Blog by saying thet he thoght I was spouting nonsense rhetoric as a way of making a living.

My response to him was as follows:

Are you saying you don't think conservation is important, and that showing youngsters in class rooms around the world the importance and fun of wildlife management - and the importance of hunting to game management in light of conservation - is not important?

I'm too liberal - nonsense ... I've probably been hunting, and taken more other people hunting, and taught more people about hunting, than most of the people on this forum, in some cases more than 10-20 of you put together. Hunting is how I make my living, and I do not do it for the money, because I'm not getting paid for what I write here, or on my StarTribune Blog - I receive nothing.

What I am trying to do is get across to everyone, that the more we learn about wildlife and how the animals interact with the environment they live in, the better prepared we will be to manage them and keep them around for the future generations - in light of the fact that we will continue to loose wildlife habitat.

Instead of making snide cracks at me you hunters should be out there trying to help me, and people like my friends Ted Nugent, Dennis Anderson and But Grant - that is if you really care about the future of hunting. But some people only care about what they can do and get today, and do not care about the future.

Sometimes I get tired of trying to educate machos and hard heads, but I keep hoping I can get through to them as they grow older and hopefully get wiser.

I ask myself why I have taken my passion for conservation to uneducated non hunters, especially when I realize that I am not even reaching short sighted hunters.

Geez … people wake up and smell the whitetail clover, and instead of just worrying about protecting your hunting rights or fighting with me or taking jabs at non hunters and people who care about the environment - think about how you can save the species you hunt and that piece of propetry you hunt on - before it is gobbled up for some urban subdivision. And think about not leaving trash wherever you go, not only that but think about picking up the trash someone else left behind. And think about ways to reduce the herbicides and pesticides, and other chemicals, that are poisoning our fishing waters to the point where we can no longer eat some species of fish from some waters.

Why are some people so darn short-sighted? And how in the heck, is Dr. Rogers research - negatively affecting you? How is the protectin of 10 darn bears, about 1/2 of one percent of all the bears in the state of Minnesota, going to negatively affect anyone? It is not going to.

Could it possibly have a positive affect on game management or conservation, or on your hunting? The answer is yes to all three questions.

What he is learning about things like the home ranges of bears - how much territory they need to live - can affect how we manage not only the numbers of bears the DNR believes the state can handle, but it will affect how many permits are given out in each area. We may have more permits in some areas, and more no quota hunting in other areas.

Even as a bear researcher myself, who reads all of the scientific papers I can get my hands on about whitetails, elk, turkey , ducks, geese and yes bears - I've learned from Dr.Rogers that a female bear will often give up part of her annual home range to her daughters, so they get a leg up on survivng on their own, because they are living in a habitat they already know - where to to find food, shelter and water. Very few people knew that before his studies.

Knowing how much habitat bears need to live in in particualr areas of the state, can help us understand how many large boars might be in those areas, and thus, how many permits the DNR gives out in those areas. Learning that a boar can have a home range up to five times larger than the 10-20 square miles that a sow my have, explains why we may see a boar one week one year, and not again until the next month, or next year or ever again. I find that not only interesting but important.

To a bear guide, who uses baits to put his clietns over active baits, it means he may have to run a string of baits several miles long - and keep an eye or a camera on those baits, to see which bears are using it during which weeks.Or he amay put baits in concentrated areas where the home ranges of several bears overlap, which might up your chances of seeing a bear on any given day.

To me it means the using a "grease pad", pouring a lot of Kentucky Friend Chicken grease on the ground in front of my baits, so that when a bear steps in it - it gets lots of grease on its feet and fur, so when it leaves the bait, it leaves a scent trail the other bears may find and lead them back to my baits so my hunters have chances at multiple bears - not just one.

Dr. Rogers’ research, if you read it all, can teach you something as a hunter, and it can change the way we manage bears and bear habitat, and how many bear permits the DNR gives out each year.

His research can also get non-hunters interested in conservation, or hunters interested in conservation, so that not just a few people care about saving the habitat you hunt today, but that youngsters care about saving the habitat they hunt tomorrow , and for the next geneation.

Geez ..... I should not have to explain this to hunters - except that they see his research as bad - simply because he and over 132,000 other people want protection for 10-20 bears near Ely- and they get paranoid that he or the bear lovers want to shut down bear hunting. And that is not his intention at all. Nor is it mine. But it might be for some of the bear lovers - but hang on - I'll explain more

If hunters would pay attention - they would see that I am educating the non-hunters about the need for conservation and the need for hunting to manage bear populations - and a lot of those people - due to Dr. Roger research and my blog and articles - are beginning to realize that hunting is in fact a needed game management tool. They now see the reason why - they understand - and although they may not like it, they may not fight it - which helps us hunters.

But, I would not be able to even broach the subject of hunting with many of those people - without the internet research of Dr. Rogers. His research has opened a way for a dialogue with non hunters and anti hunters, that is making a difference. So in a round about way - we hunters owe him a big thank you. because he is helping us.


May God bless all of you, and enlighten you too,




Protection for the Bears? Or Protection for the Research?

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: October 8, 2011 - 8:47 PM

We need to SIgn the Petition Now - while emotions are high

From the conversations I've had with Dr. Rogers, I believe he is tired of trying to lead the charge to;protect research bears, his heart is no longer in it - due to the loss of Hope. I know that he fears what the DNR is going to do, no matter what I or anyone else does. He fears they are going to limit him severly.

I HONESTLY believe that if people truely want to protect the bears (as in the bears lives come first) - there is no better time to do it than now - or I would not be doing this. Dr. Rogers has not asked me to stop, and I do not believe he will. He wants protection for the bears, or he has nothing to study. If we do not do it now - I can guarantee it will never happen - people will lose intersests - as they always do.

We have seen that probably the majority of the LTBB on Facebook people want to protect the research  - over the lives of the bears - that are the foundation of the research. Some of them have shown their true colors.


The Likelyhood of more Reserch Bear Killings

As a hunter, I do not believe there is anything wrong with bear hunting, in fact I know we have to remove several thousand bears each year, or there will be conseqences the public will not abide by. BUT - I do not think the research bears, simply because they are research bears - and carry a collar with ribbons, should be targted by hunters, which they will be, because there is no protection for them. And what we will lose is the yearling females, because as far as I know, yearling males are not collared, and any ethical hunter will not shoot a female with cubs. That leaves yearling and two year old females - with  a big target on their sides, or around their neck.

Some people, I will not call them hunters, they do not deseervet the title, will target the research bears,because there is no penatly for killing them - AND they have seen that we are ineffectual at trlying to get protection for them - because we already lost the battle - last year.

So - the very bears that Dr. Rogers wishes to study in the future, may be targeted by unscurupulous, unethical hunters.  And there will be no bears of the Shadow Clan to study, because they may all be KILLED.

Are people going to do somethting now, and at least have a chance at Protection for Minnesota's Research Bears - or wait unitl sometime in the future, when there will be no chance?

The Irony

It is ironical. While I was trying to get protection for the bears - before Hope died - most LTBB er's liked me,maybe even saw me as a leader - now that one of the bears that we were trying to protect is dead - they are really mad at me. 

And many hunters already dislike me, in spite of the fact that I am one of the biggest advocats for hunting in the state, just not on these bears - which make up about one tenth of one percent of all the bears in Minnesota. Is it so hard to not shoot these few bears?

DNR & Eco-Tourism

Is it so hard for the DNR to see that these bears have had a very huge impact on the idea of and promotion of COMSERVATION, which I think is what the DNR is supposed to be all about. Not only that, but they have already had, a great economical impact on the State of Minnesota, in these hard economic times, and can have an even greater impact, if we tie them in with tours and trips to the Wolf Center, the Elk Center,the Zoos, The Wildlfe Resource Center, the numerous Native American natural history locations across the state, and birding in one of the two top birding locations in the Unted states, plus all of the other fantastic natural wonders of our great state. And there is the educational impact, to thousands of school children, and addults, about bears and the need for conservation. Why - can't the DNR officials see that? The research bears and Dr.Rogers research - are the key, the steppping stone - to an entire new industry in the State of Minnesota - Eco-Tourism. I'll even push for a bill for its advancement. 

I've got my head in a Noose

I've really put my head in the proveerbial noose. But, s with the Scent lOk Saga - it is not the first tiem, and God willing it willnot be the last time. I'm a sucker for good causes - and protection for Minnesota's research Bears, is a Good cause.

Help Me -  Help the Beafrs - and Dr.Rogers Research

Help me please - contact 10 people on the "Lucty the Black Bear" page on facenook, and explain that if we do not do it now, that we never will, and that I am not doing anything that Dr.Rogers has asked me not to do. And then contact 10 other people, from all over the world, because the bears have impacted people all over the world, and get them to sign the petition.

Click on this link to sign the Petition. http://www.change.org/petitions/protect-minnesotas-research-bears-pass-a-bill-protecting-minnesotas-research-bears?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=own_wall


May God bless all of you, no matter where you stand on this issue,



Petition for "Protection for Minnesota's Research Bears"

Posted by: T.R. Michels under Recreation Updated: October 7, 2011 - 11:38 AM

Lets do this as a Memorial for Hope- the LIttle Bear that Everyone Loved - she gavee her life so that other research bears woud not lose their's. Do not let her death be in vain.



In light of the split between those who want to protect Dr. Rogers' research and those who wantto Protect Minnesota's Researh Bears - I took a few days off - to contemplate - I actually was  trying to decipher who was who in the Seventy Weeks of the Book of Daniel in the Bible. I find that studying the BIble grounds me and helps me sort through things.

I haven’t really needed this time to figure out what I wanted to do, hwevfer - I guess I’ve always known what I was going to do. I just needed time to figure out what I was going to write, To start this of I must first say that I am a Christian, and I try never to lie, or mislead, I also do not like playing games,

To give you an example of how beign a Christian affects my life I’m going to tell you about an conversation between my daughter, who is 24 and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (partly from being abused by he classmates when she was in High School), and her Psychiatrist. He mentioned that most people change their beliefs or positions on things, one or more times in their early lives. And then he said that he noticed that she had not done that, that with her there was only black and white, there was no gray. With her as with my wife and my other two children, because we are Christians, who believe Jesus is God and believe in Him, there is only right or wrong – there is not gray.

So – if I ask myself why I started the Protect Minnesota’s Research Bears, the answer is that I started it to protect those bears that were being used for research purposes, without getting anything out of it – getting anything back from us humans. Yes I did it so that Dr. Rogers would not loose the bears he was studing, because, with out the bears, there is no research.


With that said what I am about to say is what I feel and what I know, not something made up or some thing misleading.

Question: Do you know Dr. Rogers. I have never personally met him. But, he and I have been exchanging information about what we find in our individual bear research for the past three years. And I frequently give him ideas on how to raise money for his organizations (such as putting together a DVD of the video footage of Hopes life, and calling it "A Loss of Hope – The Story of the Little Bear Everyone Loved" and offering it for sale; or ideas on how to try to get protection from hunting for the bears he is researching. I consider him a good friend, and I believe he feels the same way about me. We have a mutual connection, our love of nature and research.

Question: Does Dr, Roger want protection for the research bears. Absolutely. If you think otherwise then you have not been paying attention to what he and others, including myself tried to do last year.

Question: Is he worried that the DNR may take away some of his permits or his ability to collar bears, put cameras in bear dens and how often he can visit bear dens to take blood samples and check on other things. Absolutely. He is afraid the DNR, for reasons none of us can figure out, because I see no downside to it), will take away some of his privileges.

Questions: is Dr. Rogers afraid that if he supports any petition or letter writing campaign that he might loose his privileges. Yes. That is why he publicly came out and said that no was not the time to do anything.

Question: Is Dr. Rogers afraid that the DNR is going to take away some of his privileges. YES


At one point last year Dr. Rogers told me he thought I was just the person needed to get protection for the bears, because I am a hunter, I am a researcher, I understand what he is doing and his research methods, I see the advantages of and the need for his type of ‘hands on" research", and because I am known to some people, might be able to do whatever it was to get a bill passed to get protection for the bears.

Question. Has his opinion of me changed. No

Question: Doe the bears still need protection. Yes

Question: Do the bears deserve protection. Absolutely, because they are being used as research subjects, in which we humans gain knowledge of bears, but in return which the bears get nothing, unless we give them protection.

Question: Do People want protection for the bears. Yes, however, some question whether protection of the bears takes precedence over the research. And evidently, some feel that because they believe the research is so important, it should take precedence over the protection of the bears. Each person has to decide which side they want to be on,

Qestion:, Will a Petition, of people from around the world, with numerous signatures, be enough to go the State Legislature of Minnesota and get a bill passed for protection of the bears. I think so, but we will never know if we do not try.

Question", If such a bill is passed will the DNR have to follow its rules, no matter what Commissioner Garber or Dave Garshelis or others want. Absolutely.

Question: Is there a better time to gather signatures for a petition/. No, Due to the killing of Hope by a human, now is the best time to get signatures, because people’s emotions are running high, they may be mad, sad of motivated. Now s the best time, and may be the best opportunity to gather the number of signatures needed to convince legislators to pass a protection bill.

Question: Are there enough people interested in protection for the bears to convince legislators to pass such a bill. There probably are, but only if they all vote together, now, while emotions are high

Question: Do I think we will ever have a better chance to get a bill passed. Absolutely not.

Quesiton:Do I think that if we do not get a petition signed now, that we will be able to get enough signatures at some later date to get a protection bill passed. No, I think our best chance is now, and it may be our only chance, because we have seen that even as hard as we tried to get a bill passed last year, we could not get it done.

Question: Will the DNR punish Dr. Rogers for the actions of someone who went against Dr. Rogers wishes. I do not think they will. And if ,they do I believe there will be enough of a public outcry, that they will be forced to help Dr. Rogers in his research studies.

Question: Do you intend to send letters, comments or a petition to the DNR. NO, The DNR has shown itself to be inflexible, and unwilling to listen to the citizens of Minnesota and the world, Therefore I believe it is best to work with the Legislature of the State of Minnesota to get a bill passed granting protection from hunting.

Question: Do I intend to use the petition now. No, I do not intend to use the petition at all if Dr. Rogers can keep his privileges to research bears. I will only use it if some of this privileges are taken away, and even then I will not use it until after the Legislature is in session sometime after the first of the year (2012). If the DNR in their wisdom, takes away some of Dr. Rogers research privileges I will immediately take the petition to the Legislature and try to get a bill passed to protect the research bears.


So – I guess it is up to each individual to decide if they really want protection for research bears, that are being used by humans. Each of us will have to decide whether we are willing to pass up our best chance of getting protection for the bears, or are we willing to settle for complacency, and waiting to see if the DNR will take away some privileges of Dr. Rogers. Is it the bears you care about more – or the research?

If you want protection for the bears, now is the time to sign the petition. If you do not want to sign the petition, and are willing to wait to see what the DNR is going to do anyhow, then do not sign the petition.


Question: Do I think there are enough people who want to protect the bears at all cost, who have "liked" the "Protect Minnesota’s Research Bears" on Facebook, to get the number of signatures I think it will take to convince the Legislators that the bears need protection. NO. There were not enough people here before the split came between those who want to protect the bears and those who want to protect Dr. Roger’s research.

So – what can we do. Well we can try to get as many people from the Lucy the Black Bear page to sign the petition, and get as many of our friends to sign it that we reach my stated goal of 10,000 signatures. AT last glance there wee about 1,000 signature on the petition. So if each one of us will contact10 of our friends and ask them to sign the petition, and then go over to the Lucy the Black Bear page, and private message 10 people there, I think we can get about a 50%^ positive rate for signatures, which will get us to 10,000 signatures. Since I am not going to use the petition if I don’t have to, but I’m pretty sure I will, and not until after the first of the year, we have almost three months to reach that goal. Three months means 3,333 signature per month or 111 signatures per day (if my math is correct). I think we can do it.


So who is with me (‘cause I cannot do it alone) - in an effort to get 10,000 signatures on a petition to Protect Minnesota’s Research Bears – and use it only if it is needed – after the Legislature is in session next year?


God bless,




Here is the link for the petition to "Protect Minnesota’s Research Bears" Ask 10 of your friends to sign it, please – for the bears – and hopefullyfor the continuation of  Dr. Rogers’ research..


Due to the high emotions on this issue - I will not be answering most questions, I ask you to be polite, be respecful of the view of others, and to stay ontopic - or I will ask the moderator to delete your post.





How HOPE got Named

Posted by: T.R. Michels under Recreation Updated: October 4, 2011 - 7:07 PM

I thought some of you might like to read this.


Greetings! Mr. Michels,
I am so glad to read your post in regards to the worlds precious Hope. To those that blame Dr. Rogers for naming Hope, he is not to blame for the naming of this bear. True he and Sue and the others name the bears which is normal for researchers to do, but I don't want him blamed as he has been for naming Hope. Cub Foods sponsored a contest and I Cathy Williamson named her Hope for a very special reason. That was for hope that the research of Dr. Rogers could continue, hope for the NABC, WRI, and the hope that was brought for everything. In Hopes short life she taught us many things and still had many things to teach us.

I am not against hunting, I was born and raised on a farm; however I myself do not hunt. I just find it unethical that this hunter chose this yearling. I do wish MN would protect research bears period! I feel sorry for Dr. Rogers as it seems, he gets chastised by different entities and I do not want to jeopardize his research in any way, shape or form. I felt a special bond with Hope as many thousands did, but mine was even different because I named her and for me that was more than winning any lottery.

I wanted it to bring Hope for all Dr. Rogers research and bears period. In the end hope will prevail I honestly believe and the research will move forward. It is troublesome for me that we won't get a chance to see how much more Hope would teach us, and it was interesting because this was the first time they had been able to research on a mixed age family, so education, science, etc. has suffered a tremendous blow. That is why I would like to see the hunting laws "tweaked" a bit. I will copy and paste what I posted at Lilys FB page as to what Hope Stood For. Thanks for reading this.
Cathy Williamson 

Greetings to everyone reading this letter. Perhaps I should introduce myself, my name is Cathy Williamson, and I reside in the state of Indiana, however I have numerous relatives residing in Minnesota. Many of you know this, but for those who do not I am the person that won a contest sponsored by Cub Foods that named our precious cub “Hope.” Therefore, I come with a heavy heart knowing that our precious Hope now resides at Rainbow Bridge. Before going any further, I want to thank Dr. Rogers for the privilege of earning that title, because if not for him and the crew at NABC it would not have happened. I must thank Lily, as she is the one that gave birth to Hope before our eyes. I did not expect to win; in fact, that was the last thing on my mind. I did not seek notoriety or fame, instead I entered the name “Hope” because to me it meant hope for the NABC, WRI, Doc, Sue and the rest of the crew and most importantly all the bears. Hope that the research would continue.
Educate everyone about these beautiful animals the North American black bear. It also brought hope to the lives of many by watching all of this via the den cam and we found ourselves not concentrating so much on our own problems. With that said around March 3rd of 2010, that her name was Hope. It has been an amazing journey for all involved and amazing how one bear without any of us touching her managed to touch the hearts, souls, and minds of thousands of people! I will not let my journey end with this tragedy! I know emotions are running high at this time, which is understandable, but we must never forget what Hope really stood for, because I for one want to see this research continue and the various education programs that Doc has worked so hard for during his life. 
We learnt many things from Hope, she taught us about the birth of a cub, survived being lost, she got along well with her siblings, and now she is teaching us loss. This is devastating for me, as I never wanted Hopes life to end this way. I wanted Hope to go on forever in the flesh, but the stark reality was that this was a possibility. I guess one that I kept buried away thinking I would never have to face that with Hope. I reiterate again Hope our bear is lost, but what she stood for remains. I cannot imagine what Doc, Sue, and all involved with the research, and education are going through. I know it is terrible, because look at how it has affected us.
We are a loving bunch of people here and we must remember that saying “united we stand, but divided we fall”, so we must be united with all involved. We may have lost Hope our bear, but we are not losing hope, as the hope for continued research will prevail. The dictionary defines the word hope as” to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence” (Merriam-Webster, 2011). That dictionary definition speaks of what I feel for the NABC and I am sure you do as well. We desire all of Doc’s research with anticipation, we always expect Doc to obtain desired research, and we all know Doc is confident in all he does. I might add that goes for Sue and all involved at the NABC and WRI. I feel Doc and all done all they could for Hope as they do with all the research bears, there is only so much that is allowed for Doc to do, and we would never want to see his research jeopardized if he stepped over certain laws that are in place.
With that said, I would like to see the laws “tweaked” a bit to ensure protecting the research bears, because we all have so much to learn from these animals. I might add at this point in this letter that no, this is not a slam to any hunter. I know some enjoy the sport of hunting and that is their right, just because I am not a hunter I cannot “slam” those that do as long as they abide by the proper laws. I am just saying I would like the laws changed so that research bears protected. There is not anymore to learn from a research bear that is lost (or any other research animal), and I desire to learn. I feel bad for Lily and Faith too, because animals do know when one is lost, so it will be interesting to see if Faiths actions are like that of Hopes as she is growing up. I have seen mention of perhaps a scholarship fund in Hopes honor and I think that would be wonderful.
I think the idea of a Memory Garden would be wonderful. There are many ways to keep Hope alive for the NABC and WRI. I will treasure every moment that we had with Hope and all that she taught us. I will keep these memories tucked safely in my heart because that is where I keep my valuables. I will continue my hope for the research as what the name intended. No amount of words I say or what I say will ever be enough, but I do want to extend my deepest sympathy to Doc, Sue, and all involved and remember as the song states “walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you will never walk alone”, we will all be beside you united.
I extend my sympathy to all the other fans, friends as we are a huge family united and bonded and we must stay that way. I like all of you are still trying to come to understand this loss and why. We will never know why, so we must forge on and since we were united and Hope was quite a character if she could talk I think she would be telling all of us this from the words of a song titled Get
Together by the Youngbloods: “Come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
and try to love one another right now” (Powers, C., 1963).
With that said, I know the true supporters we are will do just that. Thanks for reading if you did and I will always be supporting this research in one way or another and always be a “Bear Head” and here for are united family.

Cathy Williamson
Hopes (Godmother in a special way)

Go on the Protect Minnesota's Reserch Bears page on Facebook, and sign the petitiion, please.




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