Marking Techniques For Black Bears

Ear tagging and lip tattooing techniques were evaluated from 172 and 91 recaptured black bears (Ursus americanus), respectively. No significant differences (P < 0.5) in tag losses were detected between metal (21%) and plastic (17%) roto cattle tags. The use of 2 metal tags may increase the chance of long-term retention of these more durable tags. Tattoos exhibited good durability and legibility when properly applied on the smooth part at the side of the upper lip close to the gum. Multiple marks (2 ear tags, lip tattoo, and recording natural markings and abnormalities) should be used and the marks should be properly applied to maximize the chance of identifying bears over extended periods. Procedures for applying marks, factors associated with loss of marks, correction for loss of marks, tag return success, color coding techniques to delineate sex, nuisance history, and area of capture, and reobservation of marked bears are discussed.

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