Jennifer Hammer

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Hensley

Degree Award Date

Spring 1999


Black Bear, Bear Management, Eastern United States


Animal Sciences | Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Zoology


The black bear (Ursus americanus) is one of the most common bear species and one of the world's largest terrestrial carnivores (Witt 1998). They interact with other animal and plant species in ways that have yet to be identified (VDGIF 1993). A complete understanding of the biology of the black bear, along with the social issues behind its place in our culture, are necessary for making sound management decisions. If a resource is to be used by man, then laws are necessary to ensure the availability of the resource for future generations. No management effort to increase the abundance or health of one species can be performed without causing harm to another. And no management practice goes without controversy.

For this project I have researched the history, biology, and management of the black bear as they pertain to areas in the eastern United States. A number of past, present, and future research projects are discussed. In addition, some of the controversies surrounding hunting methods are covered, along with some widely-held misconceptions about the species.