American black bear predation of an adult white-tailed deer

Nathan J. Svoboda, Jerrold L. Belant, Dean E. Beyer, Jared F. Duquette, Heather K. Stricker, Craig A. Albright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


American black bears (Ursus americanus) are opportunistic omnivores and can be proficient predators of neonate ungulates, but predation of adult ungulates is rare. In November 2009 we investigated a probable black bear predation of a radiocollared, adult (7.5 years old) female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in a densely vegetated, lowland conifer forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. The deer carcass was 80% buried with puncture wounds and lacerations on the back and hindquarters. The hide was everted, the intestines and stomach partially eaten, the mammary glands were punctured, and the skeleton remained articulated. All woody vegetation <5.0 cm diameter within 5 m of the carcass was trampled and contained bear and deer hair. We found no evidence of other carnivores. Based on the condition of the carcass, physical evidence at the site, and the similarity of this predation to reported black bear predations, we suggest this deer was attacked and killed by a black bear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • American black bear
  • Michigan
  • Odocoileus virginianus
  • Ursus americanus
  • predation
  • ungulate
  • white-tailed deer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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