Capture–mark–recapture (CMR) population parameter estimation utilizing DNA analysis from remotely-collected hair samples to identify individuals and generate encounter histories has become the standard methodology for estimating abundance of American black (Ursus americanus) and grizzly bear (U. arctos) populations. However, few published studies have examined the time frame for efficiently collecting high-quality hair samples. Our objectives were to examine several measures of hair trapping success and sample quality, such as DNA amplification rates and the mean number of black bear hair samples collected per trap visit, from hair-snare samples collected in 2 non-overlapping, multi-interval sampling frames conducted during 2005 and 2006 at Fort Drum Military Installation in northern New York. Through our data analyses and a review of 12 other bear CMR studies using remote hair sampling, we emphasize that temporal sampling frame is a crucial consideration in study design. To avoid biased population estimates and to use financial, personnel, and temporal resources effectively, hair sampling should be conducted during late spring and early summer.
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Vol. 23 • No. 1