We developed a snare for collection of black bear (Ursus americanus) hair that obtained a unique hair sample at each snare site, improved the quantity of collected hair compared to barbed-wire corrals, and was easy to deploy over a wide range of topographical features and habitat conditions. This device allowed us to implement intensive sampling methodology needed in mark–recapture experiments with minimal effort. By improving the quantity of hair collected, we also lowered the potential for bear identification errors at the lab. During 2003–2004, bears in 2 study areas triggered snares 1,104 times, which resulted in the collection of 981 hair samples. Of the samples we collected, 79% (775) produced valid genetic data. In 2003, 454 samples identified 79 genetically distinct individuals, and 321 samples identified 86 genetically distinct individuals in 2004. Analysis of capture–recapture data indicated that capture probabilities were affected by heterogeneity among individuals and behavioral responses, but showed little evidence of time effects. Consequently, we used the Pollock and Otto (1983) estimator for model Mbh to estimate abundance with reasonably good precision (CV: 12–14%). Density on the Steamboat and Toketee, Oregon, USA, study areas over the 2-year period averaged 19 bears/100 km2 and 22 bears/100 km2, respectively. Average capture and recapture probabilities over the 2 years of the study were 30% and 63%, respectively, indicating a trap-prone behavioral response. Knowledge of bear densities on the Steamboat and Toketee study areas will enable managers to set hunting quotas, advise land management agencies on habitat issues, and create a baseline database to assist in the long-term monitoring of bear trends in a changing landscape.
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Vol. 72 • No. 1