Population Characteristics and Female Denning of Black Bears in a Managed South Carolina Forest

We captured 54 black bears (Ursus americanus) 91 times and equipped adult females with radio-transmitters in a managed forest in the mountains of South Carolina during the summers of 1991-1993 to determine population dynamics and female denning ecology. Ages of captured bears ranged from 1 to 10 years, averaging 3.3 + 0.3 (± 1 SE) for males and 3.7 ± 0.3 years for females. Litter size (N = 7, ˉx = 2.3), lactation rate (42.3 %), suspecting mean age at primiparity (4 years), and interbirth interval (2.2 years) were representative of a productive population and good-quality habitat. Eight female dens were visited and consisted of 3 ground nests, 2 root systems, 1 tree den, 1 brush pile, and 1 hollow log. Most dens (N = 5) were associated with early successional communities. Estimated population density for the 192-km2 study area was 0.31-0.34 bears/km2.

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ID
20261