The primary function of military training areas is to support military missions; however, management of natural resources that is compatible with that function has become a focal issue on many military installations. We investigated the relationship between black bear (Ursus americanus) habitat use and weapons-firing exercises at 3 spatial scales on the western portion of U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune), North Carolina. In 2000 and 2001, we collected 1,494 telemetry locations for 14 bears (6 males, 8 females). We used spatial contours of human auditory disturbance levels based on the noise generated from firing activities to establish high-, medium-, and low-disturbance noise zones for each firing range. We used the multinomial logit form of discrete choice analysis to examine whether bears exhibited a spatial (i.e., general avoidance of areas associated with military activity) or temporal response (i.e., avoidance of military training areas but only when firing exercises occurred). Except for small areas near the firing positions, differences in bear use among the 3 noise zone areas was mostly a function of the prevalence of selected vegetation types and not a response to military activity. Our temporal analysis further suggested that bears did not respond to weapons exercises; the distance of bears to the nearest high-disturbance noise zone was not associated with the occurrence of weapons exercises.
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Vol. 70 • No. 1