Black bear (Ursus americanus) functional resource selection relative to intraspecific competition and human risk

Jared F. Duquette, Jerrold L. Belant, Clay M. Wilton, Nicholas Fowler, Brittany W. Waller, Dean E. Beyer, Nathan J. Svoboda, Stephanie L. Simek, Jeff Beringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spatial scales at which animals make behavioral trade-offs is assumed to relate to the scales at which factors most limiting resources and increasing mortality risk occur. We used global positioning system collar locations of 29 reproductive-age female black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) in three states to assess resource selection relative to bear population-specific density, an index of vegetation productivity, riparian corridors, or two road classes of and within home ranges during spring-summer of 2009-2013. Female resource selection was best explained by functional responses to vegetation productivity across nearly all populations and spatial scales, which appeared to be influenced by variation in bear density (i.e., intraspecific competition). Behavioral trade-offs were greatest at the landscape scale, but except for vegetation productivity, were consistent for populations across spatial scales. Females across populations selected locations nearer to tertiary roads, but females in Michigan and Mississippi selected main roads and avoided riparian corridors, whereas females in Missouri did the opposite, suggesting population-level trade-offs between resource (e.g., food) acquisition and mortality risks (e.g., vehicle collisions). Our study emphasizes that female bear population-level resource selection can be influenced by multiple spatially dependent factors, and that scale-dependent functional behavior should be identified for management of bears across their range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian journal of zoology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Black bear
  • Food
  • Hunting
  • Mixed models
  • Riparian
  • Roads
  • Ursus americanus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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