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Brown Bear Mortality during 1946-85 in Gorski Kotar, Yugoslavia

Alojzije Frkovic, Robert L. Ruff, Lidija Cicnjak and Djuro Huber
Bears: Their Biology and Management
Vol. 7, A Selection of Papers from the Seventh International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, and Plitvice Lakes, Yugoslavia, February and March 1986 (1987), pp. 87-92
DOI: 10.2307/3872612
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3872612
Page Count: 6
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Brown Bear Mortality during 1946-85 in Gorski Kotar, Yugoslavia
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Abstract

The official records of forestry and hunting organizations were examined for data pertaining to the legal and illegal harvest of brown bears (Ursus arctos) during 1946-85 in Gorski Kotar, Yugoslavia. During the 40-year period, 281 brown bears (191 males, 57 females, and 33 of unknown sex) were killed in Gorski Kotar. Total annual mortality ranged from 0 to 20. Bear mortalities consisted of 205 (73%) by hunting, 26 (9%) by poisoning, 31 (11%) by traffic (trains and motor vehicles), and 19 (7%) by unknown causes. Legal hunting accounted for 169 (60%) of all losses, illegal shooting took 36 (13%), and deaths from other causes totalled 76 (27%). The estimated ages of bears killed were 25 bears <1 year (9%), 105 bears 1-4 years (37%), and 151 bears >4 years of age (54%). Of bears killed, 105 (37%) weighed <100 kg, 80 (29%) weighed 100-150 kg, and 96 (34%) weighed > 150 kg. Legal hunting, accomplished by shooting from elevated stands over baits, tended to select adult males. About one-half of the illegally shot bears were taken in the same fashion and those also favored adult males. The most successful hunting occurred in spring (Mar-May) when 142 (69%) of 205 legally and illegally harvested bears were taken. The greater spring hunting success compared to other seasons was attributed to a number of factors including greater bear use of baiting sites because of the lack of natural foods and increased hunting effort because of pelt primeness.

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