Have You Seen A Black Bear Den?

The Wisconsin DNR encourages the public to report any black bear den locations across Wisconsin to help with an ongoing black bear reproduction study.

There is a particular need for reports in Clark, Taylor, Wood, St. Croix, Pierce, Buffalo, and Oneida counties.

The Black Bear Litter and Diet Survey, now entering its third year of data collection, will generate updated estimates of black bear reproductive rates within each of the state’s bear management zones. These updates will improve the accuracy of the population models used to manage black bears. Additionally, researchers are investigating a connection between the consumption of human food and bear reproduction.

Dens tend to get noisier once cubs are born, making locating and reporting them easier in the winter. Many people discover dens by listening for quiet squeaking, grunting, humming, or sucking sounds while in the woods.

“Public reporting is essential to this project,” says DNR Large Carnivore and Elk Research Scientist Jennifer Price Tack.

Report as much information about occupied black bear dens as possible without approaching or disturbing the dens. Helpful information includes:

  • GPS coordinates of the den
  • A photo of the den, ideally showing it relative to its surroundings, from a safe distance (approximately 30 yards)
  • Description of the site and surrounding area, including landmarks
  • Any information on the bear activity near the site

The team will continue to survey dens for the next 6 to 7 years. Over that time, the team hopes to place tracking collars on at least 100 sows across the state’s bear management zones, with approximately 20 collars per zone.

The team is on pace to achieve its sample-size target. However, it will need new reports each year to meet its benchmark. Report a black bear den: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7DSMFZS