Black Bear Rubbing

on a Marking Tree

Ursus americanus


Watch a black bear rub its back on a small tree.



Black Bear Rubbing its Back on a Marking Tree

This large black bear regularly visits this tree in a small clearing. Bears maintain several marking trees throughout their territory. Both male and female bears do this. The trees are used frequently by male bears during the mating season. Female bears mark most frequently in the fall, most likely this is to refresh their marks after being away all winter in their dens. Male bears may be advertising their presence to the females in hope of finding a mate.

Bears require enough territory to feed themselves and their cubs, so maintaining these areas is important for their survival. A male bear may have a much larger range than a female bear because he roams in search of mates. Females require smaller territories (but those richer in resources) because they need to raise their cubs and protect them. Thus, females need trees for the cubs to climb for refuge, and plants and old logs, etc. to forage in for food. Access to water is also important.

Bears mark territory in several ways. They use trees like the one seen in this video. They will also straddle small saplings and shrubs and walk over them, sometimes urinating on them as they walk. This is called straddle marking. They will bite and claw on trees and telephone poles to leave their marks. They will also do what is called "stomp walking" where the bear puts its feet down with some force, using the same exact  placements each time. There was evidence of stomp walking next to the tree seen in this video. Bears use the same trails over and over, sometimes placing their feet in the exact same place each time. This creates worn areas that are easy for trackers to see.

All these marking activities provide ample opportunities for trackers to learn about black bear tracks and sign. Get outdoors and see what you can find! You may be pleasantly surprised at the variety of life in parks and wild areas near you.


Other Black Bear Pages on this site:
Go to the Black Bear Scat Page
or Black Bear Scat Page II
Go to the Black Bear Feeding Signs Page
or Black Bear Main Page

For more tracking videos, go back to the Black Bear Tracking Videos page



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Copyright 2012. Text, photos, videos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design

Page updated: Thursday, January 28, 2016.

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