is the status of black bear in
black bear (including cubs) roam the hardwood and conifer forests of
does the Department of Natural Resources manage black bear?
The goal for black
bear management in
are the physical characteristics of the black bear?
Most black bear in
is the home range of a black bear?
A bearís home
range is the area that provides sufficient food and cover for the animal
to survive. Black bear are
solitary animals, but family groups such as a sow and her cubs may be
observed. Male black bear
live in an area about 100 square miles in size, while females live in
smaller areas of 10-20 square miles.
Home range size is affected by food availability, the number of
other bear in an area, and human development.
As more people move to northern
is the diet of the black bear?
In one work Ė
everything. Black bear are
considered opportunistic feeders, taking advantage of many seasonally
available foods. Bear eat
succulent, new green vegetation in the spring after they leave their
dens. Colonial insects, such
as ants and bees, may make up over half of their diet in late spring and
early summer. Black bear
experience rapid weight gain in years when wild berries, which are high
in sugars and other carbohydrates, are available beginning in mid
summer. Nuts and acorns,
because they are high in fats and protein, are the best fall foods for
bear when preparing for their winterís sleep.
If given the chance, black bear will supplement their natural
diet with human garbage, pet foods, birdseed, or any food placed to feed
or attract other wildlife.
do bear breed?
Breeding takes place
in June and July and cubs are born in early January while females are in
dens. A litter may consist
of one to four cubs, with two or three cubs being most common.
An adult female bear usually breeds every other year, but may
mate in consecutive years if cubs are lost before mid summer.
A female bear will generally breed for the first time at 2Ĺ
years of age in the northern Lower Peninsula, and at 3Ĺ years of age in
are bear cubs like?
At birth, bear cubs
weigh less than one pound, but motherís rich milk helps them grow
quickly. Mother and cubs
emerge from the den in spring, with the cubs weighing up to ten pounds.
Cubs are under the watchful eyes of their mother throughout the
summer and fall seasons. As
autumn nears its end, the female once again searches for a suitable den
site for herself and her cubs. After
emerging from the den the following spring, the adult female will stay
with her offspring until she is ready to breed again in June.
At that time, she aggressively discourages the companionship of
these now yearling bear and they are forced to fend for themselves.
do bear hibernate?
Black bear are not
true hibernators. Instead
they remain in the state of lethargy during their winterís sleep.
In the den, they reduce their metabolic rate, surviving with out
eating, drinking, exercising, or passing waste.
A long winterís sleep is the bearís way of escaping the
scarcity of food, not for avoiding the cold weather.
Black bear in
types of signs would indicate a bear has been present?
recognize bear signs can add to the enjoyment of outdoor experiences.
Tracks, droppings, claw-marked trees, turned-over rocks, torn-up
tree stumps, or broken limbs of fruiting trees are all signs that a bear
has been in the area. People
who live in northern
bear are shy by nature. If
you were hiking through the woods, a bear would most likely hear you or
pick up your scent and run off before you even knew it was there.
Bear have a natural fear of humans and it is best if that fear
remains intact. If we leave
foods accessible to bear, they may overcome their fear of humans in
order to take advantage of it. Bear
that learn to associate food with humans can be dangerous.
People must act responsibly when living or vacationing in bear
country, and know what activities are likely to attract bear.
Prevention is the key to avoiding people-bear conflicts.
For more information
The above pictures of the Bear are from "Chuck", they were taken in the "Smokie Mt's. "