2017 Project Update

Winter den checks allow MDC to assess the condition of the sow, adjust or change her radio collar if necessary, determine how many cubs or yearlings are with her in the den, and mark any young that can be handled. During the winter of 2017, 15 adult female bears were monitored during the winter den season. Dens were located via radio telemetry and were visited between January and March depending on the sow’s reproductive status and age. Seven sows were handled in the den, of which 4 had newborn cubs and 3 had yearlings. MDC was unable to handle 5 bears due to the den type, but observed yearlings and cubs at several of these dens. Three bears were mobile or had moved from their den prior to being able to observe their reproductive status.

Spring and summer trapping is utilized to capture new bears for the study and to recapture bears that had previously lost their collars or were not handled in the den. Bears are captured in barrel, culvert, or box-style trailer traps. Traps and bait sites are monitored by regional staff from multiple Divisions within the Department. Marked bears that do not need to be handled are released without workup. From May 10, 2017 – June 30, 2017 MDC spent 253 trap nights with traps run in Shannon, Oregon, Howell, Ozark, Douglas, Webster, Wright and Taney Counties and had 65 capture events. Of these 65 capture events, 25 bears were immobilized, including 10 bears that had previously never been handled. Four new females were collared and 1 new male was collared. Collared bears are currently distributed through the majority of bear range.

Map of last known location of collared bears as of July 1, 2017.

Last known location of collared bears as of July 1, 2017.

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