American black bears (Ursus americanus) are typically described as habitat generalists with a complex, multidimensional relationship with their environment. We used GIS and compositional analysis to examine habitat selection by black bears in the Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest of northern Wisconsin at 2 spatial scales. To determine home ranges, we used radiotelemetry locations and the 95% minimum convex polygon home range estimator for 19 adult female bears that were monitored from May through August 2003–04. We compared habitat composition of home ranges to that available in the study area (second-order analysis), and habitats selected based on radiotelemetry locations to habitat availability within home ranges (third-order analysis). We also examined the effects of river and road density on black bear habitat selection. Home ranges contained more wetlands, mixed deciduous–coniferous forest, forested wetlands, and coniferous forest, and less deciduous forest than the study area at large. Bears selected home ranges with relatively higher river and road densities than expected. We found no discernible selection for or against cover types, roads, or rivers within home ranges. These results may have predictive value for evaluating potential black bear habitat in other parts of the state.
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Vol. 22 • No. 2