DNR Bear Population Study

The Wisconsin DNR approached Central Wisconsin Fur, Fin & Feather to assist with a bear population study conducted by DNR biologists. We were asked to hang bait boxes throughout western Clark county during the month of May and record their activity.

Jeff and Don Hang Bear Bait BoxEach bait box contains basically a peanut butter sandwich that consists of nine marshmallows with a tetracycline pill stuffed into each marshmallow. One bait box was to be set in each section of the township on a sturdy, soft-bark tree at about seven feet off the ground. The idea, is that the bear will knock the box out of the tree and eat the contents. The tetracycline pills, which are not harmful to the bears, will dye the bones a yellow tinge and can be differentiated once a rib sample in sent in after the bear is harvested or hit on the road with bear that haven’t eaten the contents of one of these bait boxes.

The premise of the study was to set a single bait box in every section within a township for a month’s period of time. Once a month had passed, each bait box needed to be collected and a number of data points were recorded, such as whether or not the bait was hit, what type of animal hit the bait, how much of the bait was eaten, and the coordinates where the bait was set. The correlation with the number of baits hit and the number of bear harvested with yellow-tinged bones will give biologists a better sense of the bear population in Wisconsin.

The F3 guys enjoyed being out in the brush in the off season, helping with a worthwhile cause. In our opinion, better stats leads to more and quicker kill tags—so we were glad to help.

Learn more about the DNR’s bear population model.