Proceedings of the Fourth Western Black Bear Workshop

Keay, J. A. (ed.) 1993. Proceedings of the fourth western black bear workshop. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resources Publication.

PREFACE: When asked to coordinate the Fourth Western Black Bear Workshop, I wanted to focus on topics that were little understood yet had important management implications. Also, as a National Park Service employee, I have long believed that one of the great values of our national parks is that they allow us to better understand the processes of natural regulation, which in turn will help us to better manage habitat and wildlife resources outside the parks. The natural regulation of black bear populations is of particular interest to me and seemed an appropriate topic for this workshop. My goal was to summarize our current understanding of natural regulation in black bears, identify important research needs, and help managers and researchers better appreciate how important such an understanding is in managing black bear populations. Bruce McLellan did an outstanding job coordinating that session of the workshop and accomplishing that goal. For the next few years this volume should serve as a springboard for furthering our understanding and for directing research efforts.

Monitoring black bear populations has been a great challenge for most management agencies. Biologists in the eastern United States and Canada felt they had beaten this issue to death. Biologists in the western states and provinces wanted to know more. Dave Garshelis not only has a tremendous understanding of the subject, but developed a valuable teaching technique that helped us learn by participating in data interpretation. The report on Dave’s workshop session and his paper published in the proceedings of the 10th Eastern Black Bear Workshop should serve as valuable references for beginning any black bear population work.

Black bear population management varies by location, human factors, and time. Terry Mansfield and Don Koch pulled together a useful session that focused on the various management issues of today. Comparisons between state and provincial management programs provide an interesting and useful perspective of the state of the art in black bear management and the many pressures affecting that management, including some new twists added through voter initiatives. This volume should help managers assess their programs and glean new ideas for improvements.