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1 November 2017 Harvest rates and cause-specific mortality of American black bears in the wildland–urban interface of the Mid-Atlantic region, USA
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Abstract

There is a salient belief that bears (Ursidae) using the wildland–urban interface (WUI) are not vulnerable to harvest, and therefore, hunting is an ineffective management tool for bears in the WUI of the eastern United States; however, this question remains untested. We fit and monitored 116 American black bears (Ursus americanus; hereafter, black bear) with Global Positioning System–Global System for Mobile Communications collars in 9 municipalities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, USA, during 2010–2013 to determine (1) whether bears in the WUI were vulnerable to harvest; (2) if so, at what rates are they harvested; and (3) what are other cause-specific mortalities in the WUI. Harvest mortality did occur on the monitored bears in the WUI during our study. Harvest mortality rates were lower than statewide tag-return harvest rates from New Jersey and higher 3 of 4 years in Pennsylvania. The proportion of bears that was harvested was similar for juvenile males (30%), adult males (36%), and adult females (29%). Annual survival was variable (range = 40–92%), but was similar among adult males and females. Euthanasia accounted for 8–19% of the total mortality in New Jersey and West Virginia but only 3% in Pennsylvania. Black bears in the WUI were vulnerable to harvest; therefore, we consider regulated harvest to be a viable management tool. Agencies may prefer that hunters act as a compensatory mortality mechanism by harvesting problem bears that would otherwise be euthanized or killed in bear–vehicle collisions.

© 2017 International Association for Bear Research and Management
Andrew N. Tri, John W. Edwards, Christopher W. Ryan, Colin P. Carpenter, Patrick C. Carr, Mark A. Ternent, Michael P. Strager, and J. Todd Petty "Harvest rates and cause-specific mortality of American black bears in the wildland–urban interface of the Mid-Atlantic region, USA," Ursus 28(2), 195-207, (1 November 2017). https://doi.org/10.2192/URSU-D-16-00033.1
Received: 2 November 2016; Accepted: 1 September 2017; Published: 1 November 2017
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