Methods for Capturing Free-Ranging Black Bears, Ursus americanus, in Difficult Locations


  • John E. McDonald Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003



Black Bear, Ursus americanus, capture, immobilization, stalking, Massacheusetts


Long-term research or monitoring studies involving radiomarked Black Bears (Ursus americanus) conducted in areas with high human and road densities may require that radiocollars be replaced or bears recaptured for other purposes. The use of trained bear hounds is particularly suited to recapturing specific bears. However, in certain situations, hounds may not be used safely or bears may seek refuge in difficult locations. Effectiveness of two methods to capture bears via remote darting and chemical immobilization are described: (1) stalking and rushing females with cubs; and (2) allowing treed bears to descend. Both methods rely on assumptions about Black Bear behavior. Nine captures of eight individual bears are discussed; one bear drowned after being immobilized, and all others survived >5 months after capture.