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Black Bear Ursus americanus

Track Broad footprints; 5 toes print on all feet, although innermost, smallest toe may fail to register. Foreprints 4" (100 mm) long, 5" (125 mm) wide, turned in slightly at front. Hindprints 79" (180230 mm) long, 5" (125 mm) wide. Individually prints (especially hindprints) look as if made by a flat-footed human in moccasins, except that large toe is outermost. In soft earth or mud, claw indentations usually visible just in front of toe marks. Bears have a shuffling gait; hind tracks and front tracks are paired, with hind track several inches before front track on same side. Stride about 1' (300 mm) long. Sometimes, when walking slowly, hindprints either partially or completely overlap foreprints; when running, hindfeet brought down well ahead, with gaps of 3' (900 mm) or more between complete sets of tracks.
Bear tracks, because of their size and shape are distinctive. Field analysis usually concerns determining whether the tracks were made by Black or Grizzly Bears in regions where the two overlap. The main difference between the two is size, although there is some overlap, particularly between subadult Grizzlies and adult Black Bears. Primary difference should be claw length; distance between front of any toe and tip of claw (claw length) should be compared to toe length. Claw length greater than toe length in Grizzly. Grizzly tracks usually show less space between toes than those of Black Bear. Black Bear toes are usually arranged in more of an arc than those of Grizzlies.

Sign Feeding signs: Logs or stones turned over for insects; decayed stumps or logs torn apart for grubs; ground pawed up for roots; anthills or rodent burrows excavated; berry patches torn up; fruit-tree branches broken; rejected bits of carrion or large prey, such as pieces of skin, often with head or feet attached.
Trees: Scarred with tooth marks, often as high as a bear can reach when standing on its hindlegs; higher, longer claw slashes, usually diagonal but sometimes vertical or horizontal. In spring, rub marks and snagged hair on furrowed or shaggy-barked trees used repeatedly and by several bears as shedding posts, to rub away loose hair and relieve itching.
Scat: Usually dark brown, roughly cylindrical, sometimes coiled, similar to that of domestic dog but larger; often showing animal hair, insect parts, seeds, grasses, root fibers, or nutshells. Where bears have fed heavily on berries, scat may be liquid black mass.
Trails: Those used by generations of bears are well worn, undulating, and marked with depressions.

 

 

 

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