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Old 09-25-2017, 09:37 AM   #1
Grey-Jay
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Highest black bear density?

Thoughts on what portion of the Adirondacks has the highest non-human food source driven bear density? I've pondered that although the Old Forge to Raquette region has perhaps the most observed bears it may not correlate to true density as much more visible due to habituated with the number of campgrounds, camps, and people in that area. My own experience of seeing bears is that the Minerva to Newcomb and Long Lake to Tupper regions offered me the most wild sightings, often by water.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:39 AM   #2
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Thoughts on what portion of the Adirondacks has the highest non-human food source driven bear density? I've pondered that although the Old Forge to Raquette region has perhaps the most observed bears it may not correlate to true density as much more visible due to habituated with the number of campgrounds, camps, and people in that area. My own experience of seeing bears is that the Minerva to Newcomb and Long Lake to Tupper regions offered me the most wild sightings, often by water.
I've pondered the same question. I haven't found any DEC or other literature tackling that issue. I would think that it would be hard to pin-point bear densities (outside of congregating around trash or human food sources) since the natural food (hard mast crops, berries, scavenged carcasses, ect.) can vary in location from year to year.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:43 PM   #3
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I doubt there's a sustained (naturally) 'high density' bear area in the park. Just like any other critter, population goes up and down depending on local conditions. If there's lots of food and good survival of the cubs population increases. If food is scarce bears will travel to find better forage area...
That out of the way, mixed old/new growth areas offer the best of both worlds (berries and nuts). If you know what to look for (poop, claw marks, snapped tops, etc) you can get a good feel for how many bruins are sticking around a particular area.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:55 PM   #4
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Wouldn't bear tag data give you the best idea... generally where there are more bears, more bears will be harvested.
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:14 AM   #5
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Wouldn't bear tag data give you the best idea... generally where there are more bears, more bears will be harvested.
Not really. The bear harvest for the Northern Zone has hovered around 500 annually since the 1990's despite the fact that 50%-60% of NY's total bear population (estimated at 6k-8k) resides up there. The Southern Zone has seen harvest #'s grow to over 1k, despite having a lower portion of NY's bear population. http://adkhunter.com/2017/02/dec-ann...rvest-results/

The hunters in the Southern Zone have easier access to bear habitat and a lot of obvious food sources to focus their efforts on (agricultural lands); big woods bear hunting is very difficult, especially without bait and hounds, so more hunters focus on the southern zone.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:20 PM   #6
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just got a bear video on my southern Adk trail cam.

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Old 09-26-2017, 05:27 PM   #7
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Don't really want to argue the point, because it's just something I guessed at, but how are the estimates of the bear population made? I would think there would have to be extensive tracking and perhaps collaring to distinguish if one was to get a good estimate.

I understand the hunting is not the best data because it's not an even distribution of hunters over all the land, but I would think one could get a good idea of the relative distributions in the Adirondack park by looking at the town, county and WMU data. The consistency of how many bears are harvested each year would give me confidence in this region as to numbers, although perhaps that is a false indicator due to peoples habits.

I took a quick look at 2016 data and it looks like the density is pretty even throughout the park. Kind of what I would expect as the resources are similar throughout the regions.

Other than human encroachment, I would expect the southern regions around the Catskills to be more populated with bear. Easier foraging and more resources I would expect to push the population. The numbers suggest that, but looking at the trend over the years I would say it then looks as though just more people are hunting those areas. because the trend is increasing in harvested bears. I didn't see any data for tags issued vs tags filled for those areas, but I'm sure the DEC has that info. I would normalize the data for that aspect.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:28 PM   #8
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Ha! just got a bear video on my southern Adk trail cam.
If you look at what Bounder was referring to, it's not the northern or southern ADKs, it's the northern region of NY, which includes all of the ADKs.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:48 PM   #9
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The population estimates don't really come from hard #'s, meaning the DEC doesn't send out people to count and track every bear in a particular region. They're basically educated guesses which get developed from: hunter/hiker sightings; estimation of food sources; habitable land; i'm sure there are other factors.

My only point was that the Northern Zone has the majority of NY's bear population, according to the DEC's estimates, but most of the hunter harvests take place in the Southern Zone. So hunter harvests really don't give a good indication of where most of the bear are. You might have a better chance of running into a bear in the Catskills, but places like the ADK's and Tug Hill have more bear overall.

There are only a few WMU divisions within the ADK region, so you really can't extract too much detail on the bear density within the Park.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:51 PM   #10
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I was wondering if forest type is a factor. For example, east of the Northway in the dominant Eastern White Pine forests from Lake George north to Schroon Lake, is the bear population lower? (Including Pharaoh Lake Wilderness). On the other hand with its sizable secondary growth post logging with more berry crop, I would think the Moose River Plains would have a higher density.

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Old 09-26-2017, 07:00 PM   #11
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The population estimates don't really come from hard #'s, meaning the DEC doesn't send out people to count and track every bear in a particular region. They're basically educated guesses which get developed from: hunter/hiker sightings; estimation of food sources; habitable land; i'm sure there are other factors.

My only point was that the Northern Zone has the majority of NY's bear population, according to the DEC's estimates, but most of the hunter harvests take place in the Southern Zone. So hunter harvests really don't give a good indication of where most of the bear are. You might have a better chance of running into a bear in the Catskills, but places like the ADK's and Tug Hill have more bear overall.

There are only a few WMU divisions within the ADK region, so you really can't extract too much detail on the bear density within the Park.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/bbrpt2016.pdf


There's quite a bit of detail on these reports, particularly by town. WMU is more coarse and represents the state more.

I'll tell you what, your chances of seeing a bear in the WMUs shown in white is very, very small and the chances are much better where bears are harvested, particularly the orange areas. I don't know a lot about the Catskills, but the area along the PA border is quite rural and there is a healthy bear population there. The map shows this pretty well.

I'd also probably argue the trend that shows the High Peaks area having a lower density based on hunting data of WMUs. Yes, there are more problem bears there, but there's also less of a habitat for bears.

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Old 09-27-2017, 11:03 AM   #12
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http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/bbrpt2016.pdf


There's quite a bit of detail on these reports, particularly by town. WMU is more coarse and represents the state more.

I'll tell you what, your chances of seeing a bear in the WMUs shown in white is very, very small and the chances are much better where bears are harvested, particularly the orange areas. I don't know a lot about the Catskills, but the area along the PA border is quite rural and there is a healthy bear population there. The map shows this pretty well.

I'd also probably argue the trend that shows the High Peaks area having a lower density based on hunting data of WMUs. Yes, there are more problem bears there, but there's also less of a habitat for bears.
Again, the #'s of bear taken by hunters doesn't reflect where the majority of the bear are actually located within the state.

The Southern Zone, particularly the Catskills, has a bear harvest that is disproportionate to its actual portion of the total bear population...mostly because hunters there have an easier time identifying food sources and accessing the bear habitat.

If anything, the harvest data should give hunters an idea of where not to go due to competition from other hunters. Wildlife viewing in those areas during a non-hunting season might be a different story...
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:29 AM   #13
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Again, I think you are full of $hit, Bounder. Lots of talk with nothing to back it up.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_...arplan2014.pdf

Yeah there are more bears on the North Country according the DEC report, but the populations are on the rise in the Catskills and they plan to manage those populations. It seems they are issuing more tags to try to reduce populations there. Look at the charts on pages 14 and 15.

From what they show about half the population is estimated to be in the Northern region and half in the Southern, and recent 5 year hunting averages show about 2/3 of the bear taken in the Southern, but that does not account for what I said earlier, and that is how many tags are issued. It's obvious to see here that the DEC management plan is to reduce bears in the Catskills therefore more bears are being harvested, even if the total population is less. Also, in terms of density, it appears that the Catskills may be more dense because it is a smaller area with over a 1/3 of the bear population.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:33 PM   #14
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It seems the heat is making us all a little bit testy. Cool temperatures ahead ladies and gentlemen.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:34 PM   #15
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Monty, why are you losing your temper?

All I'm saying is that hunter harvest data doesn't necessarily correlate to bear population #'s. There are other factors which affect where hunters decide to focus their efforts. The DEC reports you provided (both of which I've read before) demonstrate as much. 50%-60% of the bear population, which is a range of estimation that is more than half, resides in the Northern Zone; only ~500 bear are harvested there annually.

P.S. those bull#$% numbers I've been using come directly from the DEC website and the documents you linked.

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Old 09-27-2017, 07:55 PM   #16
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Several reports I have of bear families along the road in the Old Forge area last week.

Although perhaps a high density there, assume bears in this region used to easier food sources from many camps, campgrounds, restaurant dumpsters, etc?
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:57 AM   #17
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Several reports I have of bear families along the road in the Old Forge area last week.

Although perhaps a high density there, assume bears in this region used to easier food sources from many camps, campgrounds, restaurant dumpsters, etc?
Old Forge, and most ADK towns, seem to have a good understanding on bear proofing. I don't hear about too many bear nuisance complaints up there, but I'd imagine with all the tourist activity there, enough food and trash is being left behind for some bears to find.

Also, Old Forge has a concentration of tourists throughout the year relative to most other areas of the ADK's (excepting maybe Lake Placid and the High Peaks area). More people = more opportunities for bears to be spotted. I wouldn't be surprised if many of these sightings were based on the same bear, but seen by different people at different times.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:28 PM   #18
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How many bear tags issued ????
Every hunter who purchases a big game hunting lic. Gets a bear tag.

More bears are harvested in the southern zone, because I believe the bear population there is booming because the habitat is way better, plus as someone stated , easier access and more hunters. Not much agriculture going on in the ADK's , and little to eat in the Forest Preserve.
Since bear are now legal to take on Tug Hill, watch in the next few years for the harvest there to explode. Habitat there is much better than the central ADK's, agriculture on the peripheral edge, and much logging activity in the core of the plateau.
I'm a Forester who works in the core of the Hill, and in the last several years have seen bears almost on a weekly basis. Beech trees are freshly clawed, most camps have territorial markings, tracks and scat in and around all of our active harvest areas.
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