Spatial Characteristics of Black Bear and of Bear Hunters in Garrett County, Maryland

We used GPS technology to examine spatial relations of black bear hunters and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Garrett County, Maryland. During the 2005 hunting season, we equipped 35 hunters and 4 adult female black bears with GPS transmitters to track their movements. We compared the following spatial variables relative to both bear and hunter movements: road corridors, riparian corridors, slope, and habitat type. Hunters used a variety of habitats, with mixed forests and wetlands used in greater proportions than expected. Hunters generally remained within 260 m from road and 400 m from riparian corridors while hunting. Because of logistical challenges, spatial data was only available from one of four bears during the 2005 hunting season; her fall home range encompassed approximately 30 km2. One GPS hunter was found to have hunted within close proximity of a GPS bear, although interaction between the two could not be confirmed. Results from this three-year study will help managers understand black bear movements and aid in development of nuisance bear strategies and future harvest regulations.

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