An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Black Bears Marking Territory & Mating

6-30 black bear sign 032Black Bear (Ursus americanus) breeding season begins in May and lasts until early July, with mating occurring mainly during June. The female traverses her territory at three times her normal rate during this time, laying down a scent trail which the male follows. Both male and female periodically intentionally deposit their scent by straddling vegetation, breaking off small limbs and biting, scratching and rubbing on trees (and telephone poles if available). Tree species often used for marking include White Birch, Balsam Fir, Striped Maple and Red Pine. When contact between the bears is eventually made, they nuzzle and chew on each other’s head and neck and may even wrestle a little. Mating occurs repeatedly for several days. (Thanks to Alfred Balch for photo op.)

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4 responses

  1. Is that telephone pole the one at Alfred Balch’s house?

    June 30, 2015 at 6:46 am

  2. So this makes me curious: any reason why a few tree species are preferred for marking, and others are less preferable?

    June 30, 2015 at 7:41 am

    • Dell, I believe the pitch of the firs and pines must hold the bears’ scent well…not so sure about birch and maple!

      June 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm

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