CARNIVORES: Grizzly or Brown Bears
management concepts were formed nearly 100 years ago,
bears and their management have been poorly understood.
Recent concern for the environment, species
preservation, and ecosystem management are only now
starting to affect the way we manage grizzly/brown bears
( Ursus arctos , Fig. 1). Indeed, the difficulty in
understanding brown bear biology, behavior, and ecology
may have precluded sufficient change to prevent the
ultimate loss of the species south of Canada.
Grizzly/brown bears must be managed at the ecosystem
level. The size of their ranges and their need for safe
corridors between habitat units bring them into
increasing conflict with people, and there seems to be
little guarantee that people will sufficiently limit
their activities and land-use patterns to reduce brown
bear damage rates and the consequent need for damage
control. Drastic changes may be needed in land-use
management, zoning, wilderness designation, timber
harvest, mining, real estate development, and range
management to preserve the species and still meet damage
The brown bears of the
world include numerous subspecies in Asia, Europe, and
North America. Even the polar bear, taxonomically, may
be a white phase of the brown bear. Support for this
concept is provided by new electrophoresic studies and
the fact that offspring of brown/polar bear crosses are
fertile. The interior grizzly ( Ursus arctos horribilis
) is generally smaller than the coastal ( Ursus arctos
gyas ) or island ( Ursus arctos middendorffi )
subspecies of North American brown bear, and it has the
classic “grizzled” hair tips.
Brown bears in general are
very large and heavily built. Male brown bears are
almost twice the weight of females. They walk with a
plantigrade gait (but can walk upright on their hind
legs), and have long claws for digging (black bears and
polar bears have sharper, shorter claws). The males can
weigh up to 2,000 pounds (900 kg), but grizzly males are
normally around 400 to 600 pounds (200 to 300 kg).
Wherever brown bears live, their size is influenced by
their subspecies status, food supply, and length of the
feeding season. Bone growth continues through the sixth
year, so subadult nutrition often dictates their size
Brown bears are typically
brown in color, but vary from pure white to black, with
coastal brown bears and Kodiak bears generally lighter,
even blond or beige. The interior grizzly bears are
typically a dark, chocolate brown or black, with
pronounced silver tips on the guard hairs. This
coloration often gives them a silvery sheen or halo.
They lack the neck ruff of the coastal bears, and
grizzlies may even have light bands before and behind
the front legs. Some particularly grizzled interior
brown bears have a spectacled facial pattern similar to
that of the panda or spectacled bears of Asia and South
White grizzlies (not
albinos) are also found in portions of Alberta and
Montana, and in south-central British Columbia. Such
white brown bears may be genetically identical to the
polar bear, but so far electrophoresic studies have not
been completed to determine the degree of relatedness.
The interior grizzly’s
“hump,” an adaptation to their digging lifestyle, is
seen less in the coastal brown bears, polar bears, or
black bears. The brown bears (including the grizzly) are
also characterized by their high eye profile,
dish-shaped face, and short, thick ears.
The brown bears of North America have lost
considerable range, and are currently restricted to
western Canada, Alaska, and the northwestern United
States (Fig. 2). Their populations are considered secure
in Canada and Alaska, but have declined significantly in
the lower 48 states. Before settlement, 100,000 brown
bears may have ranged south of Canada onto the Great
Plains along stream systems such as the Missouri River,
and in isolated, small mountain ranges such as the Black
Hills of South Dakota. They were scattered rather thinly
in Mexico and in the southwestern United States, but may
have numbered about 10,000 in California, occupying the
broad, rich valleys as well as the mountains.
A few brown bears (the
“Mexican” or “California” grizzly) may still exist in
northern Mexico. Occasionally, barren-ground grizzlies
are found hunting seals on the sea ice north of the
Canadian mainland. The barren-ground grizzlies appear to
be brown bear/ polar bear crosses, and could represent
an intergrade form. Brown bears also occur on three
large islands in the gulf of Alaska, and are isolated
geographically from very similar coastal brown bears.
A nearly isolated
population (the Yellowstone grizzly) occurs in southern
Montana, Wyoming, and southern Idaho. There could still
be a few grizzlies in the mountains of southwestern
Colorado, and a few still range out onto the prairies of
Alberta and Montana, where the extinct Plains grizzly
used to roam.
Grizzly/brown bear habitat
is considerably varied. Brown bears may occupy areas of
100 to 150 square miles (140 to 210 km 2 ), including
ID="LinkTarget_1062" desert and prairie as well as
forest and alpine extremes. The areas must provide
enough food during the 5 to 7 months in which they feed
to meet their protein, energy, and other nutritional
requirements for reproduction, breeding, and denning.
They often travel long distances to reach seasonally
abundant food sources such as salmon streams, burned
areas with large berry crops, and lush lowlands.
Denning habitats may be a
limiting factor in brown bear survival. Grizzly bears
seek and use denning areas only at high elevations
(above 6,000 feet [1,800 m]), where there are deep soils
for digging, steep slopes, vegetative cover for roof
support, and isolation from other bears or people. Since
grizzlies select and build their dens in late September,
when their sensitivity to danger is still very high,
even minor disturbances may deter the bears from using
the best sites. Unfortunately, the habitat types bears
choose in September are scarce, and human recreational
use of the same high-elevation areas is increasing.
connecting large areas of grizzly habitat to individual
home ranges are critical for maintaining grizzly
populations. Adequate cover is also needed to provide
free movement within their range without detection by
humans. The land uses with the greatest impact on bear
habitats and populations include road development,
mining, clear-cut logging, and real estate development.
Coastal brown bears use
totally different habitats than the interior grizzly.
They establish home ranges along coastal plains and
salmon rivers where they feed on grasses, sedges, forbs,
and fish. While the fishing brown bears may use very
small ranges for extended periods, almost all bears make
occasional, long-distance movements to other areas where
food is abundant. This far-ranging behavior often leads
to unexpected human-bear conflicts far from typical
brown bear range.
Social factors within bear
populations influence habitat value—the removal of one
dominant bear or the sudden deaths of several bears can
cause the remaining bears to greatly alter their
habitat-use patterns. Such changes occur simply because
the social hierarchy within bear populations typically
gives large bears dominance over the smaller ones, and
each bear uses its range based on its relationship to
the other bears in the area.
Food gathering is a top
priority in the life of grizzly/brown bears. They feed
extensively on both vegetation and animal matter. Their
claws and front leg muscles are remarkably well adapted
to digging for roots, tubers, and corms. They may also
dig to capture ground squirrels, marmots, and pocket
gophers. Brown bears are strongly attracted to succulent
forbs, sedges, and grasses. In spring and early summer
they may ingest up to 90 pounds (40 kg) of this
high-protein forage per day. Bears gain their fat
reserves to endure the 5- to 7-month denning period by
feeding on high-energy mast (berries, pine nuts) or
salmon. The 2 1/2- to 3-month summer feeding period is
particularly crucial for reaching maximum body frame and
preparing for the breeding season and winter.
opportunists, brown bears feed on many other food items.
For example, the Yellowstone grizzlies have clearly
become more predatory since the closure of the garbage
dumps in the Yellowstone area. They are exploiting the
abundant elk and bison populations that have built up
within the park. They hunt the elk calves in the spring,
and some bears learn to hunt adult elk, moose, and even
bison. The ungulate herds, domestic sheep, and cows also
provide an abundant carrion supply each spring—the
animals that die over winter thaw out just when the
bears need a rich food source.
Bears are adept at
securing food from human sources such as garbage dumps,
dumpsters, trash cans, restaurants, orchards, and bee
yards. Some bears learn to prey on livestock, especially
sheep that graze on open, remote rangeland.
General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior
Brown bears are typical of
all bears physiologically, behaviorally, and
ecologically. They are slow growing and long-lived (20
to 25 years). Their ability to store and use fat for
energy makes long denning periods (5 to 7 months)
possible. During denning they enter a form of
hibernation in which their respiration rate
(approximately 1 per minute) and heart rate (as low as
10 beats per minute) are greatly reduced. Their body
temperature remains just a few degrees below normal;
they do not eat, drink, defecate, or urinate, and their
dormancy is continuous for 3 to 7 months. The adaptive
value of winter denning relates to survival during
inclement weather, when reduced food availability,
decreased mobility, and increased energy demands for
In most populations, brown
bears breed from mid-May to mid-July. Both males and
females are polygamous, and although males attempt to
defend females against other males, they are generally
unsuccessful. Implantation of the fertilized ova is
delayed until the females enter their dens, from late
October to November. One to three (usually two) cubs are
born in January in a rather undeveloped state. They
require great care from their mothers, which leads to
strong family bonding and transfer of information from
mothers to offspring. Brown bears may not produce young
until 5 to 6 years of age and may skip 3 to 6 years
between litters. Because of their low reproductive
potential, bear populations cannot respond quickly to
expanded habitats or severe population losses.
During the breeding
season, male and female grizzly/brown bears spend
considerable time together, and family groups break up.
The young females are allowed to remain in the area,
taking over a portion of their mother’s range. They are
not threatened by the males, even though they are still
vulnerable without their mother’s protection. The young
males, however, must leave or be killed by the adult
males. Many subadult males disperse into marginal bear
habitats while trying to establish their own
territories. This often leads to increased human-bear
conflicts and the need for management and control
Home ranges vary in size,
shape, and amount of overlap among individuals.
Abundance and distribution of food is the major factor
determining bear movements and home range size. Home
ranges are smallest in southeastern Alaska and on Kodiak
Island. The largest home ranges are found in the Rocky
Mountains of Canada and Montana, the tundra regions of
Alaska and Canada, and the boreal forest of Alberta. In
areas where food and cover are abundant, brown bear home
ranges can be as small as 9 square miles (24 km 2 ).
Where food resources are scattered, the ranges must be
at least ten times larger to provide an adequate food
Some bears establish
seasonal patterns of movement in relation to dependable
high-calorie foods sources, such as salmon streams and
garbage dumps. Such movements are likely to place bears
in close contact with humans. In addition to finding
food, bears spend considerable time in attempting to
detect people, evaluating situations, and taking
corrective actions to avoid conflict with humans.
People, on the other hand, typically go noisily about
their business, often without ever knowing that a bear
Damage and Damage Identification
Brown bears have many
unique behaviors that subject them to situations in
which they are perceived as a threat to humans or
personal property. They are opportunistic feeders that
may switch to scavenging human-produced food and garbage
if made available, becoming a problem around parks, camp
grounds, cottages, suburban areas, and garbage dumps.
Bears that are conditioned to human foods become used to
the presence of humans and are therefore the most
dangerous. Bear activity is intensely oriented to the
summer months when people are also most active in the
mountains and forests. Brown bear attacks have resulted
in injuries ranging from superficial to debilitating,
disfiguring, and fatal. Dr. Stephen Herrero documented
165 injuries to humans resulting from encounters with
brown bears in North America from 1900 to 1980 (Herrero
1985). Fifty percent of the injuries were classified as
major, requiring hospitalization for more than 24 hours
or resulting in death. In addition to the 19 grizzly
bear-inflicted deaths that Herrero reported, two
Department of Public Safety employees reported 22 deaths
Brown bears also
occasionally cause problems around orchards, bee yards,
growing crops, and livestock. Some bears occasionally
kill cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, and poultry,
but most do not prey on livestock. Bears kill livestock
by pursuing them at high speed, slashing from the rear
and pulling the prey down. They hold the prey with their
own weight while biting the head or neck area and
delivering blows. The ventral area is then ripped open,
and the hide sometimes skinned, sometimes devoured along
with subcutaneous and visceral fat. Bears eat large
volumes of flesh and body parts, leaving many large
scats. Adult brown bear scats are 2 inches (5 cm) or
more in diameter. The bear will often cover the remains
with all types of nearby debris—vegetation, leaves,
sticks, and soil, and then bed nearby. The investigator
should look carefully for (and record) all wounds,
tracks, hairs, and any other sign that would prove bear
predation. It is important to document accurately the
cause of death, the manner of killing, and all signs in
the area that would indicate predation by bears. The
lack of any such evidence should preclude brown bear
Sheep predation may be
more subtle to document since, when frightened, sheep
readily stampede and injure or kill themselves on felled
timber or cliffs. In such a case, examiners should look
carefully for neck and head bites, or smashed skulls, as
well as tracks, bear hair, bear droppings, and other
sign. Survey the overall scene—the flight path of the
sheep, the place of cover and possible attack relative
to the flight route, the amount consumed, and the
freshness of any flesh or tissues in the bear droppings.
Grizzly/brown bear attacks
are often easily identified by tracks alone. The foot
prints are very large, with claw marks on the front foot
extending up to 4 inches (10 cm) in front of the toe
marks. The toes of a grizzly are in a much straighter
line than those of a black bear, and the grizzly paw
includes greater “webbing” between the toes, which may
show up in a mud print. Grizzly hair found in the area
is another positive identifying characteristic. Look
carefully on the ends of broken sticks, in rough areas
on logs, under high logs, in the bark of trees, or in
any pitch patches on conifers where a bear may have
rubbed. Also check the barbs of any wire fencing nearby.
All hair should be collected carefully in small
envelopes and sent to a wildlife agency or university
lab for identification.
Most bear depredations are
easily identified, especially if there is wet or soft
ground in the area. Bears are not sneaky—they march
right in and take what they consider is theirs.
Grizzly bears south of
Canada are protected as a “threatened species” under the
US Endangered Species Act of 1973. Wyoming and Montana
have limited grizzly bear hunting seasons as authorized
under the act, but the seasons are currently closed
pending clarification of the act through legal
challenges in court and further actions by the states.
Without state hunting seasons, killing of grizzlies is
allowed only through official control actions or defense
of self and property. North of the Canadian border,
grizzlies are hunted to varying extents in Alaska,
ID="LinkTarget_1093" Alberta, British Columbia, the
Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
Wrongful killing of a
grizzly bear mandates a severe penalty—up to $20,000 in
fines. “Taking” is being more liberally defined as court
challenges establish that even habitat destruction can
be interpreted as taking or killing.
Prevention and Control Methods
The challenges of
exclusion are formidable. Bears are incredibly adept at
problem solving where food is concerned, no doubt as a
result of their extreme orientation to food for a few
short months. Brown bears will expend a great amount of
energy and time digging under, breaking down, or
crawling over barriers to food. They know how to use
their great weight and strength to open containers. They
will chew metal cans “like bubble gum” to extract the
To exclude bears, use
heavy, chain-link or woven-wire fencing at least 8 feet
(2.4 m) high and buried 2
feet (0.6 m) below ground. Install metal bar extensions
at an outward angle to the top of the fence and attach
barbed wire or electrified smooth wire. Also consider
attaching an electrified outrigger wire to the fence.
Electric fencing is also
very effective if built correctly. At a minimum,
12gauge, high-tensile fencing should be used—nine wires
high, spaced 6 inches (15 cm) at the top and 4 inches
(10 cm) at the bottom, with alternating hot and ground
wires. Both the top and bottom wires should be hot. Use
a low-impedance charger with a minimum output of 5,000
In backcountry situations,
an electric fence perimeter may be the only sure
protection from grizzly/brown bear damage. Secure the
camp, supplies, and livestock within the confined area.
In the absence of fencing, bear-proof containers provide
the best protection for food and other supplies. Use
45gallon (200-l) oil drums with locking lids to secure
all bear attractants. Backpackers in bear country should
use portable bear-proof containers. Attractants (food,
meat, feed) can also be hung in an elaborate, bear-proof
manner, at least 20 feet (6.5 m) above ground, and free
from any aerial approach. Tower caches, 20 feet high or
higher, can also be constructed using heavy poles and
Once a bear has developed
a detrimental behavior, it may be impossible to change
it. Prevention is directed mostly at keeping the bear
population wild and fearful of people. If the mothers
teach their young to avoid humans, problems will be
minimal, though not nonexistent. Hunting pressure
automatically teaches bears to avoid humans.
Choose campsites, bee
yards, and livestock bedding sites in areas not
frequented by bears. Avoid riparian areas, rough ground,
heavy cover, aspen groves, and berry-covered hillsides.
In spring and early summer, bears frequent riparian
areas, low-elevation flood plains, hillside parks, and
alluvial fans where high protein grasses, sedges, and
forbs are plentiful. In late June or early July, bears
turn to areas with berries and other high-energy foods.
Often, livestock need to be held out of such areas only
an extra 2 weeks, until the bears turn to other foods.
In areas with a history of bear problems, livestock
should be confined in buildings or pens that are at
least 50 yards (50 m) from wooded areas and protective
cover, especially during the lambing or calving season.
Remove carcasses from the site and dispose of them by
rendering or deep burial.
Bears should never be fed
or intentionally given access to food scraps or garbage.
Eliminate all sources of human foods around campsites,
cabins, restaurants, and suburban areas. Keep garbage in
clean and tightly sealed metal or plastic containers.
Spray garbage cans and dumpsters regularly with
disinfectants to reduce odors. Maintain regular garbage
pickup schedules and bury or burn all garbage at fenced
Boat horns, cracker
shells, rifle shots, and other loud noises may frighten
bears from an area. Roaring engines and helicopter
chases may also be effective. Barking dogs can be very
useful, but they must be trained to bark on sight or
smell of a bear. In addition, good bear dogs will chase
bears, but they must be trained to pursue and corner
without closing on the bear.
Lights and strobe flashes
are only marginally effective for bear damage
Repellents and Deterrents
Capsaicin spray has been
reported to be an effective repellent. It may work only
once, however, so a backup deterrent should always be
Well-trained dogs can
provide an “early warning system” as well as a
deterrence to bears. Unfortunately, not many trained
dogs are available in the United States or Canada.
Plastic slugs may also be an effective deterrent against
bears. Bears usually move rapidly to the nearest cover
when frightened, so care must be taken to avoid being
positioned between the bear and escape cover.
The capture and
translocation of bears can be effective in damage
control. Unfortunately, relocation often only moves the
problem to another site, and bears have been known to
travel great distances to return to a trapping site. The
handling process, if done correctly, is itself
sufficiently traumatic to teach the bears to avoid
humans. Use culvert traps or foot snares to capture
bears. Care must be taken in baiting to avoid
conditioning bears to people— use only natural scents
and baits such as wild animal road kills. Only properly
trained personnel should be assigned to such work. The
Ursid Research Center in Missoula, Montana, offers
courses in capturing and handling bears. Consult state
regulations and wildlife agency personnel before
implementing any bear-trapping program.
Immobilizing and Handling
Bears are occasionally
captured by injection with an immobilizing drug
administered from a syringe dart fired from a capture
gun. Bears have been successfully immobilized with darts
fired from close range. Bears can be approached on foot,
from vehicles, and from helicopters. The drugs most
commonly used include a mixture of ketamine
hydrochloride and xylazine hydrochloride (Ketaset-Rompun).
This mixture has a high therapeutic index and results in
little distress to the animal.
The drugs chosen, the
degree of sanitation, the approach to the set, the
weapons carried, and the size of capture crews are
extremely crucial in tending the animal. Interning with
a recognized expert, or attending a certified course
should be required before attempting to capture brown
Many grizzlies have been
killed in response to livestock depredations, as allowed
under the US Endangered Species Act. Over time, public
tolerance for this approach has declined and fewer bears
are now being killed or removed. Currently, shooting is
used most often on adult males, since they are not
considered essential in a population. This may, however,
be short-sighted, considering that all other bears in an
area modify their own behavior based on the activities
of the dominant adult male bear. Left alone, a bear
often will not kill livestock again, or could be trained
through aversive conditioning not to attack livestock
Firearms should be carried
by people working with bears or in areas where the risk
of bear attack is high. The best protective weapons are
high-powered rifles of .350 caliber or larger and
12gauge pump shotguns with rifled slugs. Handguns (.44
magnum) should be carried for quick defense only.
Aversive conditioning may
be effective in teaching bears to fear humans. In
Montana, problem bears were captured and brought into
holding facilities where they were repeatedly confronted
by humans and repelled with chemical sprays. Treatment
was complete when the bear fled instantly to the
“sanctuary” portion of an enclosure. The bear was then
quickly returned to the wild. The captive process,
called “bear school,” lasts only 4 to 6 days. This
method can only be conducted by fully trained personnel.
Field treatment may follow, using radio collars, 24-hour
monitoring, and firearm backup. Aversive conditioning
may cost up to $6,000 per animal, but it may be
cost-effective, considering the alternatives.
Public attitudes are
crucial in determining what damage prevention or control
is practical. The State of Montana now has two staff
members authorized to work closely with people in
grizzly range not only to solve bear problems but to
meet with the public and listen to their concerns. They
talk in schools and at rural functions and work with
individual ranchers to solve special problems or help in
Preventing Bear Attack.
Grizzly/ brown bears must be respected. They have great
strength and agility, and will defend themselves, their
young, and their territories if they feel threatened.
They are unpredictable and can inflict serious injury.
NEVER feed or approach a bear.
To avoid a bear encounter,
stay alert and think ahead. Always hike in a group.
Carry noisemakers such as bells or cans containing
stones. Most bears will leave a vicinity if they are
aware of a human presence. Remember that noisemakers may
not be effective in dense brush and near rushing water.
Be especially alert when traveling into the wind since
bears may not pick up your scent and may be unaware of
your approach. Stay in the open and avoid food sources
such as berry patches and carcass remains. Bears may
feel threatened if surprised.
Watch for bear sign—fresh
tracks, digging, and scats. Detour around the area if
bears or their fresh sign are observed.
NEVER approach a bear cub.
Adult female brown bears are very defensive and may be
aggressive, making threatening gestures (laying ears
back, huffing, chopping jaws, stomping feet) and
possibly making bluff charges. Bears have a tolerance
range which, when encroached upon, may trigger an
attack. Keep a distance of at least 100 yards (100 m)
between you and bears.
Bears are omnivorous,
eating both vegetable and animal matter, so don’t
encourage bears by leaving food or garbage around camp.
When bears associate food with humans, they may lose
their fear of humans. Food-conditioned bears are very
campgrounds, keep your campsite clean and lock food in
the trunk of your vehicle. Don’t leave dirty utensils
around the campsite, and don’t cook or eat in tents.
After eating, place garbage in containers provided at
In the backcountry,
establish camps away from animal or walking trails, and
near large, sparsely branched trees that can be climbed
should it become necessary. Choose another area if fresh
bear sign is present. Cache food away from your tent,
preferably suspended from a tree that is 100 yards (100
m) downwind of camp. Use bear-proof or airtight
containers for storing food and other attractants.
Freeze-dried foods are lightweight and relatively
odor-free. Pack out all noncombustible garbage. Always
have radio communication and emergency transportation
available at remote base or work camps in case of
accidents or medical emergencies.
Don’t take dogs into the
backcountry. The sight or smell of a dog may attract a
bear and stimulate an attack. Most dogs are no match for
a bear. When in trouble, the dog may come running back
to the owner with the bear in pursuit. Trained guarding
dogs are an exception and may be very useful in
ID="LinkTarget_1135" detecting and chasing away bears in
the immediate area.
If a brown bear is seen at a distance, make a wide
detour. Keep upwind if possible so the bear can pick up
human scent and recognize human presence. If a detour or
retreat is not possible, wait until the bear moves away
from the path. Always leave an escape route and never
harass a bear.
If a brown bear is
encountered at close range, keep calm and assess the
situation. A bear rearing on its hind legs is not always
aggressive. If it moves its head from side to side it
may only be trying to pick up scent and focus its eyes.
Remain still and speak in low tones. This may indicate
to the animal that there is no threat. Assess the
surroundings before taking action. There is no
guaranteed life-saving method of handling an aggressive
bear, but some behavior patterns have proven more
successful than others.
Do not run. Most
bears can run as fast as a racehorse, covering 30 to 40
feet (9 to 12 m) per second. Quick, jerky movements can
trigger an attack. If an aggressive bear is met in a
wooded area, speak softly and back slowly toward a tree.
Climb a good distance up the tree. Adult grizzlies don’t
climb as a rule, but large ones can reach up to 10 feet
(3 m). Defend yourself in a tree with branches or a boot
heel if necessary.
Occasionally, bears will
bluff by charging within a few yards (m) of an
unfortunate hiker. Sometime they charge and veer away at
the last second. If you are charged, attempt to stand
your ground. The bear may perceive you as a greater
threat than it is willing to tackle and may leave the
As a last resort when
attacked by a grizzly/brown bear, passively resist by
playing dead. Drop to the ground face down, lift your
legs up to your chest, and clasp both hands over the
back of your neck. Wearing a pack will shield your body.
Brown bears have been known to inflict only minor
injuries under these circumstances. It takes courage to
lie still and quiet, but resistance is usually useless.
Many people who work in or
frequent bear habitat carry firearms for personal
protection. Although not a popular solution, it is
justifiable to kill a bear that is attacking a human.
Economics of Damage and Control
The US Endangered Species
Act dictates that the bear be favored and protected. In
terms of a natural resource, individual grizzlies are
considered worth $500,000 by some accounts, and the
$20,000 penalty for a wrongful death underscores the
importance of management. In terms of tourism,
recreation, film making, photography, hunting, and all
the other cultural and art values of the grizzly, each
bear is certainly worth the half million dollars cited
above. Yet in Montana, where the future of the grizzly
is in jeopardy, their value was only recently raised
from $50 to $500. Bear parts have illegally sold for as
much as $250 per front claw, $200 per paw, $10,000 for
the hide, $500 for the skull, and $30,000 for the gall
bladder. Poachers would likely be fined only $10,000 if
One hope for brown bears
may be found in the private sector—people who value
bears highly and contribute to organizations that
support proper bear management. Damage prevention and
control costs could also be met by such organizations.
Because hunting is no longer widely practiced, revenues
for bear management have declined. Wildlife agencies
must develop a higher value for the brown bear and
divert fees collected from hunting other species to meet
the rising costs of bear management.
I am indebted to Julie Mae
Ringelberg for help in preparing this manuscript. Tim
Manley and Mile Madel of the Montana Department of Fish,
Wildlife, and Parks provided advice and information.
Figure 1 drawn by Clint E.
Chapman, University of Nebraska.
For Additional Information
Best, R. C. 1976. Ecological energetics of the polar
bears ( Ursus maritimus Phipps 1974). M.S. Thesis. Univ.
Guelph, Ontario. 136pp.
Boddicker, M. L. 1986.
Black bears. Pages C5C15 in R. M. Timm, ed. Prevention
and control of wildlife damage. Univ. Nebraska, Coop.
Bromley, M. ed. 1989.
Bear-people conflicts: proceedings of a symposium on
management strategies. Northwest Terr. Dep. Renew.
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Scott E. Hygnstrom Robert
M. Timm Gary E. Larson
PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF
WILDLIFE DAMAGE — 1994
Division Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Nebraska -Lincoln
United States Department
of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service Animal Damage Control
Great Plains Agricultural
Council Wildlife Committee