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Range expansion of American black bears (Ursus americanus; bear) and residential development have increased the bear presence in suburbia. Suburban landscapes exhibiting patchworks of variable-sized parcels and habitats and owned by landowners with diverse values can create large areas of suitable habitats with limited public access. These landscapes may limit the effectiveness of hunting as a traditional bear population management tool. Managers require better information regarding landowner attitudes about hunting before implementing harvest regulations intended to mitigate conflicts in suburban areas. To address this need, in 2013, we surveyed landowners to identify properties that allowed bear hunting in 3 suburban areas of Pennsylvania, USA where bear sightings or human–bear conflicts have increased. We then used location data obtained for 29 bears equipped with global positioning system transmitters from 2010 to 2012 to model their resource selection in the study area. We assessed the influence of hunting access, housing density, land cover, and topographic variables on radio-marked black bears monitored 10 days before, during, and after the bear hunting season. We found that resource selection of radio-marked bears was similar for all 3 periods and bears selected for forested land in all 3 seasons and herbaceous cover in the pre-hunting and hunting periods. Resource selection by bears was not influenced by hunting access in the pre-hunting and hunting periods. For the post-hunting period, lands closed to hunting had support as the second-best model. All of the radio-marked bears in our study were vulnerable to harvest. However, they did not change resource selection during the hunting season, nor did they avoid areas open to hunting. Integrating human dimension data with bear habitat use studies, especially in suburban landscapes, has the potential to address bear space use and population management needs often overlooked by traditional research designs.
Ahrestani, Farshid S.; Ternent, Mark A.; Lovallo, Matthew J.; and Walter, W. David
"Resource Use by American Black Bears in Suburbia: A Landholder Step Selection Approach,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 14
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol14/iss2/11