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Black Bear

Ursus americanus
Cinnamon-colored black bear, side profile on ridge. Photo by Raylene Wall
These bruins should really be named the multi-colored bear since they may be brown, tan, blonde and cinnamon as well as black, and even black ones can have white markings on their chest. So to distinguish them from grizzly bears (rarely seen on the Refuge), use the shape of their face (straight not concave) and tall ears as well as lack of shoulder hump. Size and color are misleading. Check out the website at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for help and to take their bear identification test.

Bears must gain much weight to hibernate through the winter so food is extremely important to them. To prevent bears from associating people with food and becoming a problem, pack out all your litter. Bears do much better feeding on natural foods. Watch for them feeding in the berry bushes along Pauline Creek, particularly in August.

Facts About Black Bear

200-475 pounds
Omnivore – plants, fruit, insects, fish, meat
30 years
Breeds in June
Young (1-3, typically 2) born in den in January
Rare but look in brushy areas along Pauline Creek when berries are ripe (late July to August) 
Page Photo Credits — Cinnamon-colored black bear. ©Raylene Wall.
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2013
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