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BLACK BEARS (Ursus americanus) Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.

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Presentation on theme: "BLACK BEARS (Ursus americanus) Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 BLACK BEARS (Ursus americanus) Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division

2 Current Black Bear Distribution Source: Pelton and van Manen (1994)

3 Historical Background in Georgia 1700-1850 – Common as reported by explorers 1880 – Limited to forested regions 1900-1930 – Large scale logging resulting in significant habitat destruction – Unregulated hunting or trapping 1940-1950s – Chestnut blight – Bears only found in isolated areas

4 Bears in Georgia 1930s – Bear season closed by act of legislature 1930-1970 – Questionable protection – Limited habitat 1969 – Georgia Game and Fish Commission as well as hunting community realized value/importance as game species 1976 – Tri-State Bear Study launched to investigate bears in SE

5 Statewide Black Bear Distribution Approximate Population Size North Georgia 1,200 bears Central Georgia 300 bears South Georgia 800 bears

6 Bear CubsThe Early Years Born January- February Weigh about 8 ounces at birth Dependent on mother for first year of life

7 The Adult Bear Average Length (6 ft.) Average Weight (150-300lbs) – State Record Harvest Gun HarvestNov 2001 (560 lbs, Gilmer Co.) Bow HarvestSep 2001 (530 lbs, Swallow Creek WMA) – Known Largest Bear Hit by carNov 1992 (581 lbs, Union Co.) Life Span (8-15 years) – Oldest Bear HarvestedOct 2000 (20.75 yrs, Habersham Co.)

8 Bear Reproduction Breeding Season – July Males may breed at 1.5 years of age Females breed from 3.5 to 4.5 years of age

9 Spring Time is Bear Time! Emerge from dens. Desperate search for food to recover lost body weight during winter months. One-year old bears begin search for their own territory.

10 Bear Diet

11 Diet (% of diet) Berries and Acorns – SPRING/SUMMER: serviceberry, huckleberry, blueberry, blackberry, and black cherry. – FALL: acorns, hickory nuts, palmetto berries, grape, beech, and blackgum. Grasses and forbs – All types of green plants. – Beneficial wildlife plantings Insects and Meat – Wasps, ants, beetles, and insect larvae. – Recently dead or easily caught animals.

12 Denning Activities Enter dens in late- November and December Females enter earlier than males Denning activities influenced by weather and food availability

13 Current Bear Management, Monitoring and Research Harvest Information Bait Station Surveys Nuisance Information

14 Statewide Bear Harvest

15 % Females in Bear Harvest (1993-2003)

16 Female Bear Harvest Average Age (1992-2002)

17 Bait Station Survey Designated routes in North and South Georgia Survey conducted annually in July Checked after 5 days (North GA) or 8 days (South GA)

18 Bait Station Survey Summary

19 Nuisance Bear Issues Common Nuisance Bear Situations – Wandering Bear 1-2 year old male Establishing territory – Habituated Bear Usually food related May cause property damage – Agriculture Bear – Just There Bear

20 Common Nuisance Situations Residential Bears – BIRD SEED – GARBAGE – PET FOOD – Compost Piles – Fruit Trees and Shrubs – BBQ Grills DO NOT FEED BEARS!

21 Common Nuisance Situations Remote or Camping Areas – FOOD STORAGE – SMELLABLE ITEMS – GARBAGE – BBQ GRILLS DO NOT FEED BEARS!

22 Common Nuisance Situations Rental Cabins – GARBAGE – PET FOOD – BBQ Grills DO NOT FEED BEARS!

23 Nuisance Bear Recommendations Remove ALL food sources – birdfeeders, trash, & pet food – campground food items Electric fence around bee yards Additional tools – Scare pistol – Trapping

24 Encountering a Bear DO NOT PANIC! Be sure bear knows you are there and respect the bears territory. In residential areas, encourage bear to leave – Loud noises – Throw items Notify authorities of aggressive or non-yielding bears.

25 Future Management Challenges Human Population Bear Habitat Carrying Capacity Bear Cultural Carrying Capacity Time Human/Bear Population Dynamics

26 Keep the WILD in wildlife by NOT FEEDING BEARS!


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