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BLACK BEARS ( Ursus americanus ). Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division. Current Black Bear Distribution. Source: Pelton and van Manen (1994). Historical Background in Georgia. 1700-1850 Common as reported by explorers 1880 Limited to forested regions

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black bears ursus americanus

BLACK BEARS (Ursus americanus)

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Wildlife Resources Division

current black bear distribution
Current Black Bear Distribution

Source: Pelton and van Manen (1994)

historical background in georgia
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
  • 1940-1950’s
    • Chestnut blight
    • Bears only found in isolated areas
bears in georgia
Bears in Georgia
  • 1930’s
    • 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
statewide black bear distribution
Statewide Black Bear Distribution

Approximate Population Size

North Georgia

1,200 bears

Central Georgia

300 bears

South Georgia

800 bears

bear cubs the early years
Bear Cubs—The Early Years
  • Born January-February
  • Weigh about 8 ounces at birth
  • Dependent on mother for first year of life
the adult bear
The Adult Bear
  • Average Length (6 ft.)
  • Average Weight (150-300lbs)
    • State Record Harvest
      • Gun Harvest—Nov 2001 (560 lbs, Gilmer Co.)
      • Bow Harvest—Sep 2001 (530 lbs, Swallow Creek WMA)
    • Known Largest Bear
      • Hit by car—Nov 1992 (581 lbs, Union Co.)
  • Life Span (8-15 years)
    • Oldest Bear Harvested—Oct 2000 (20.75 yrs, Habersham Co.)
bear reproduction
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
spring time is bear time
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.
diet of diet
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.
denning activities
Denning Activities
  • Enter dens in late-November and December
  • Females enter earlier than males
  • Denning activities influenced by weather and food availability
current bear management monitoring and research
Current Bear Management, Monitoring and Research
  • Harvest Information
  • Bait Station Surveys
  • Nuisance Information
bait station survey
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)
nuisance bear issues
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
common nuisance situations
Common Nuisance Situations
  • Residential Bears
    • BIRD SEED
    • GARBAGE
    • PET FOOD
    • Compost Piles
    • Fruit Trees and Shrubs
    • BBQ Grills

DO NOT FEED BEARS!

common nuisance situations21
Common Nuisance Situations
  • Remote or Camping Areas
    • FOOD STORAGE
    • SMELLABLE ITEMS
    • GARBAGE
    • BBQ GRILLS

DO NOT FEED BEARS!

common nuisance situations22
Common Nuisance Situations
  • Rental Cabins
    • GARBAGE
    • PET FOOD
    • BBQ Grills

DO NOT FEED BEARS!

DO NOT FEED BEARS!

nuisance bear recommendations
Nuisance Bear Recommendations
  • Remove ALL food sources
    • birdfeeders, trash, & pet food
    • campground food items
  • Electric fence

around bee yards

  • Additional tools
    • Scare pistol
    • Trapping
encountering a bear
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.
future management challenges
Future Management Challenges

Human/Bear Population Dynamics

Human Population

Bear Habitat Carrying Capacity

Bear Cultural Carrying Capacity

Time