How many black bears are there in North Carolina?
The reclusive nature of black bears makes a precise population count difficult. However, based upon hunting success studies and biological marking censuses, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) estimates that there are approximately 12,000 black bears in North Carolina.
What do black bears eat?
Approximately 75-85% of the black bear diet is vegetable matter. Common foods in North Carolina include clover, dandelions, tubers, wild berries including the blueberry, choke berry, and others, persimmons, pecans, acorns, wild oats, and the larvae of ants, bees, hornets, and other insects. Our coastal bears also heavily rely upon agricultural crops such as wheat, soybeans, peanuts, and corn. Black bears are not very effective predators, but they will occasionally catch and eat fawns and beaver. Bears are also attracted to human foods at campgrounds and garbage dumps when natural foods are scarce.
What is the legal status of the black bear in North Carolina?
It is legal to hunt black bears during the fall hunting season by means of still hunting or with the use of dogs.
Is it legal to bait in North Carolina?
Hunters are permitted to establish baiting sites for black bears in NC. The NCDWR has established strict guidelines for baiting black bears. All bait must be natural and unprocessed such as whole grains, fruit, and/or vegetables. While still hunting you are not allowed to hunt in the presence of an active baiting site. We begin baiting three months prior to the start of the season and remove all bait the day before the season begins.
Do black bears mate for life?
No. Black bear males, boars, and females, sows, come together only during breeding season from May to July. A female may mate with several males during a short estrus period and cubs from the same litter may have different fathers.
How many cubs do black bears have?
A female black bear can produce a litter of up to five cubs every 2 years. The average number of cubs is 2 or 3. In North Carolina, 2.5 is average. Cubs are born in January or February. They rely on their mother's body heat for warmth and her rich milk (33% fat) for food until it is time to emerge from the den in the spring. The black bear is the only mammal to lactate (produce milk) for about 3 months without eating.
How long do cubs stay with their mothers?
Cubs stay with their mother for 1 1/2 years. The family bond is very strong. The mother bear is affectionate, strict, protective and devoted to her cubs. Her primary concern is for their safety and education.
How large is a black bear's home range?
The size of the home range varies depending upon the abundance of food. In an area with lots of wild berries, mast producing trees, and row crops a territory will be smaller than in an area with a scarce food supply. Yearling females often share the territory of their mothers, but young males may travel far to find their own territories. In North Carolina, a sow's home range can be as large as 2-6 square miles. The breeding territory of an adult male can cover over 100 square miles to overlap with many female home ranges.
Do black bears hibernate?
Well, the answer is that bears hibernate throughout North America and certainly in North Carolina. In its simplest definition, hibernation is a specialized reduction in metabolism brought about by low food availability and/or low temperatures. In northern areas of the U.S. and Canada, bears hibernate as long as 8 months without moving from their den. In the South, bears exhibit the same characteristics, only for shorter time periods. Based on hundreds of radio-collared black bears studied across the state, we know that the vast majority of our bears hibernate. Females typically hibernate longer than males. North Carolina’s bears just do it for shorter time periods than their northern cousins. A bear study by radio-telemetry in eastern North Carolina showed that bears enter dens as early as November and as late as January. These same bears exited dens as early as February and as late as April. This result makes it possible for bear sightings and road kills in all months and the misconception that coastal bears do not hibernate. Only human disturbance interrupts these periods of hibernation in North Carolina’s bears.
How much do black bears weigh?
Cubs weigh only 8-12 ounces at birth and are covered with fine, downy hair. Cubs that weigh 5 pounds or more when they leave the den in the spring have the greatest chance of survival. Adult males and females fluctuate in weight over the course of the year. Adult males can weigh 150-600 pounds, while females with cubs can weigh 90-300 pounds. The heaviest black bear ever killed was killed in NC, 886 pounds. Pregnant females lose about 35% of their weight during the winter, while males and females without cubs lose about 30% of their weight.
Are all black bears black?
In eastern North America, most black bears are black. As you move westward across the continent, the proportion of brown color phase black bears increases.
Are black bears dangerous?
Unprovoked attacks on humans by black bears are very rare. Dozens of minor injuries have occurred when people petted or crowded black bears that they were feeding or photographing. Considering their size and strength, black bears show amazing restraint with humans and each other. In the last century, there were only 40 deaths in all of North America that were caused by black bears. A person is 150 times more likely to be killed by a tornado and 374 times more likely to die from a lightning strike than to be killed by a black bear.