Over-winter denning is a critical component of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) fitness. Consequently, identifying and protecting denning habitat is important for grizzly bear management. We evaluated small-scale den-site selection by comparing grizzly bear den sites (n = 21) in the Southern Lakes region, Yukon, Canada to random locations within 100 m of dens. We measured indices of structural stability (slope at den opening, tree and shrub cover, percent soil <2 mm), and security (horizontal cover) at each den site and random location, and used mixed model analysis of variance to determine selection. Our results indicated selection for both steeper slopes and horizontal cover, suggesting that stability and security are important components of den-site selection at small spatial scales.
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Vol. 23 • No. 2