How do we know if a black bear is present?
We look for signs that tell us that a bear is around, such as scratch marks, tracks, scat, trail camera photos, and potential den sites.
Scratch marks, Tracks, and Scat
The telltale signs of black bears can be seen in the marks that they leave behind. Here are some of the signs a black bear is in the area.
This photo of a black bear scat is full of blackberry seeds, a favorite food. When taking a photo of any bear sign, be sure to put something (such as a quarter or pen) next to the sign so size can be accurately determined.
This telephone pole shows scratch marks made by one or more black bears (Photo: USFWS).
Black bear tracks in the mud in Greene county. It is rare to see the tips of the claws in a black bear track, unless the ground is very soft (Photo: MDWFP).
Trail Cameras and Dens
Another way to spot evidence of a black bear is to look for dens in the hollows of trees or even on the ground. Trail cameras can help us catch a glimpse of the bears.
A black bear is caught on film with a trail camera. Many bear sightings have been recorded due to private citizens sending in trail camera photos of bears (Photo: MDWFP).
Bears often den in large, hollow trees, especially cypress or oak (Photo: USFWS).
Bears also den on the ground, often in brush piles (Photo: USFWS).