Know your bear signs: even if you don't see bears, they may still be around.

Bears are generally shy and not agressive. They could be in the area and you might not know it! Bears signs can be found year-round on trees,  trails, and other soft walking surfaces.  Learn to identify the different types of signs that bears leave behind!

 

Test your skills with the ID Quiz! >> 

 

  Tracks and Prints   Scat  Hair   Tree markings 

   

    

  

      

 

 

Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see a bear:

1. Stay calm and do not run!

2. Avoid eye contact with bear.

3. Make yourself known: yell, blow whistle, and wave your arms.

4. Back away slowly, facing the bear.

 

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BEAR NOT BEAR

 

   

Black body with brown/tan muzzle  

Variable body color

Occasional white patch of fur on chest

Adults ~100-500lbs, 3-6 ft from nose to tail

Variable body size

Short tail (3-5 inches)

Variable tail length

Small and round ears

variable ear size and shape

 

 


TRACKS AND PRINTS 

BEAR NOT BEAR
     

Broad footprints ~4-7 inches long  

Variable size

All 5 toes and claw marks typically show

Canid and Felid tracks only have 4 toes

Triangular hind tracks 

Human tracks are more oblong

Largest toe on the outside

Human tracks have largest toe on inside

On trails, soft/wet soil, mud, or sand

 

 

 


SCAT 

BEAR NOT BEAR
 Scat2Scat3     

Dark brown but varies by diet  

Deer droppings, typically in pellets even when clumped, small, and uniform in texture.

Contains grass, seeds, fruit skins 

Canid and Feline scat are usually tapered. 

~1-2 inches in diameter

Scats of other animals are typically smaller and narrower

Usually tubular and sometimes coiled

 

Along trails, at base of trees and plants

 

 

 


HAIR 

BEAR NOT BEAR
Hair2Hair3     

~1-4 inches long

Fisher and weasel fur are fine and short

Coarse gaurd hairs are all black

Raccoon, opposum, and deer fur have 1+ color on a strand (white, cream, black, etc)

Underfur may be dark brown

Black hair from skunk is very long, usually 4+ inches long 

Sun exposure may lighten color

 

On tree trunks, thorns, telephone poles, wire fences

 

 

 


TREE MARKINGS

BEAR NOT BEAR
      

Parallel claw marks on tree trunk

Woodpecker damage is circular, often into the heartwood

Bark often peeled back to show inner cambium

Claw marks from small mammals will be narrower and shallower

Saplings broken partway up trunk

Deer scrapes are usually extensive, 

On tree trunks, telephone poles, downed logs

 

 

 


Photo credits:  John Adamski, DJ McNeil, Matt Merchant, John Van Niel, M. Colter Chitwood, Wikimedia.

  

 

Test your skills with the ID Quiz!

 
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