Bears as Predators ~ - Printable Version

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Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-01-2016

Bears as we all know are omnivores and part-time predators. Polar bears are of course the only full-time predator living today among bears. The topic here is the hunting skills and killing methods of bears. Also, the prey choices and prey limitations of bears. 
I do not wish to make a habit, or perhaps I should say continue with the bad habit of copying material from other sites, but some good information can be found here:   http://shaggygod.proboards.com/board/18/bovine-ungulates

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - GrizzlyClaws - 01-02-2016

The Brown bears were also hypercarnivores in the Pleistocene, but the radical climate change had forced them to switch their diet preference.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-02-2016

(01-02-2016, 01:38 AM)GrizzlyClaws Wrote: The Brown bears were also hypercarnivores in the Pleistocene, but the radical climate change had forced them to switch their diet preference.

Were the grizzlies of Pleistocene North America mostly hunters or foragers due to the presence of the giant short-faced bears?

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - GrizzlyClaws - 01-02-2016

@brotherbear, I heard that the Pleistocene Grizzlies were hypercarnivores, but they usually tried to avoid the interaction with the Giant Short-Faced bear.

However, to mess with the smaller American lions was a more favorable option to acquire more food sources by stealing their kills.

The Pleistocene Grizzlies were about the size of the modern Kodiak bears, although smaller than Arctodus simus, but still significantly heavier than Panthera atrox.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - GrizzlyClaws - 01-02-2016

That's the nature, the Pleistocene Grizzlies avoided other larger bears, but cherry picking on a smaller/weaker opponent.

When the big cats became smaller, they would get harassed/bullied by the bigger bears.

In many cases, we can see the scenario between the Amur tiger/Amur bear and Bengal tiger/Moon bear. The big cats need some considerably weight parity to hold the ground against the bears.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-02-2016

My idea of a big grizzly 
*This image is copyright of its original author

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - GrizzlyClaws - 01-02-2016

I guess it is from the movie "Into the Grizzly Maze", and some scenes were quite gruesome.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - Dr Panthera - 01-02-2016

Brown bears , especially males, get a good percentage of their diets from animal protein, while sacrificing agility and camouflage for strength and size bears are surprisingly fast and able to overtake young and injured ungulates and easily dispatching them: American and European bisons, elk, red deer, moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, rein deer, sika deer, roe deer, and wild boar are all taken, mountain dwelling ungulates as well.
Fish, especially salmon remains an excellent source of animal protein.
Bears are good scavengers and routinely dispossess other carnivores from their kills including at times formidable wolf packs and Amur tigers as well as leopards, cougars, coyotes, dholes, and jackals.
American black bears are important predators of deer fawns, Himalayan black bears occasionally kill ungulates.
Spectacled bears, sun bears, and giant pandas are mostly vegetarian and sloth bears are insectivores.
Polar bears remain the true carnivore bears.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-02-2016

I'm straying off topic here, but the bear pictured in post #6 is 'Little Bart' who is following in Bart the Bears footsteps. The original Bart was a 1500 pound Kodiak bear. Little Bart is an interior Alaskan grizzly. He stands 8 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 1100 pounds. He is the star of the movie, "Into the Grizzly Maze." 

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-03-2016

Grizzly Years by Doug peacock. 
The Bitter Creek Grizzly was the only bear I knew of in Yellowstone that regularly killed moose and bison. He attacked younger animals - ambushed them from nearby timber, then dragged them back into the trees, sometimes covering the carcasses with dirt and sticks. I had seen this too many times to believe that these animals had all conveniently died during the winter. His was not the usual pattern of predation for grizzlies. In 1977, when I first crossed paths with the Bitter Creek Griz, a biologist had found another grizzly who had passed up many carcasses for live elk: The bear liked to kill what he ate. A few bears learn to kill healthy adult elk during all seasons, and cow-struck bulls during the rut were especially stupid and approachable. Yellowstone grizzlies also prey on elk calves, as they do caribou calves in Alaska, and moose calves in both places. Adult moose were generally a match for a grizzly except when snows were deep and lightly crusted: grizzlies can walk lightly over a thin crust, distributing their weight evenly on their plantigrade feet, and they glide over the top of deep drifts in which moose wallow.

I thought that grizzly predation was not as common here as it had been a decade or more ago. The predatory segment of the population had probably been killed off selectively, and continues to be culled as they were born into it, because predatory bears are bolder and more visible. The Bitter Creek Griz was a holdover from the days when bears could afford to be bold and aggressive. Which served, as it always had, an important ecological function vital to survival of the species.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - Pckts - 01-03-2016

Bull elk are quite an impressive kill, moose in my opinion are to large for 99% of bears, healthy adult moose that is, but I'm sure some battles between the two have ended in a bear victory, but I don't think it's a risk most bears want to take.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-04-2016

(01-03-2016, 10:00 PM)Pckts Wrote: Bull elk are quite an impressive kill, moose in my opinion are to large for 99% of bears, healthy adult moose that is, but I'm sure some battles between the two have ended in a bear victory, but I don't think it's a risk most bears want to take.

http://shaggygod.proboards.com/board/18/bovine-ungulates   Both mature bison and mature moose are sometimes brought down by a grizzly. But yes, the bears far more often kill calves. Fights between bull moose and bull bison against a grizzly have been witnessed ( historically ). The grizzly it seems is victorious perhaps about as often as his powerful opponent. I will add to this that each year ( speaking primarily of the Yellowstone region ) in early spring, grizzlies are seen feeding on bison carcasses of those bovine which did not survive the harsh winter. He often must displace wolves from that carcass. Now, because of the nature of each individual beast, when a tiger is found feeding on a carcass, it is normally assumed that the tiger killed that which he is eating. When a grizzly is found feeding upon the carcass of a bison, it is naturally assumed that he simply found the dead animal. In the majority of cases, I'm sure this assumption is correct. But, it just might be that sometimes, the bear is feeding on his own kill. Casey Anderson found that grizzlies are very active at night. I have watched very little film footage of grizzly bears after dark.   

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-13-2016

The Grizzly Almanac by Robert H. Busch.

Males will also fight with other males over females, and many old male grizzlies have deep scars on their muzzles from such encounters. When challenging another male, grizzlies often use what has been termed a "cowboy walk," in which they walk on stiff bowlegs toward each other with lowered head and angry intentions. The posing often deters a fight before it begins, but when an actual tussle occurs, serious injuries can occur.
Occasionally, the fights are fatal. The autopsy of one such unfortunate bear, who obviously lost in his fight, revealed 89 puncture wounds, a wide hole in the chest, broken ribs, a broken shoulder, a broken nose, a dislocated neck, and a broken skull. Those males who survive such battles pass on their genes to the next generation.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-13-2016

The Bear Almanac by Gary Brown.

In an attack, bears charge on all four legs, some in great, leaping bounds. They do not stand bipedal in an attack, unless in a final, close-quarters "reaching" action. They do not "bear hug" but strike, claw, and bite. The most effective method of attack is with a crushing blow of a forepaw; they have incredible forepaw speed; a single strike is so powerful that it can kill an adult elk, caribou, or moose. The bear "... strikes around with its paws," according to Frederick Drimmer in 'The Animal Kingdom. "The terrific strength of its weighty arms drives the claws deep into the body of its victims."
"When hunting large game, bears may stalk catlike, then run the prey down with a sudden spurt and kill it with blows of the forepaws and bites through the neck," describes Paul Shepard and Barry Sanders in 'The sacred Paw'.
Scientists, victims, and other observers describe various actions of the species: Brown bear: uses speed to run down prey; charges in great bounds ( while uttering a deep roar ); rears up in fight to grasp head or neck with teeth; swings powerful forepaws, with enormous body strength behind them.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-14-2016

The Grizzly Almanac by Robert H. Busch.

Almost all bears love carrion, but individual bears sometimes develop highly individual food preferences. One Yellowstone grizzly preferred to kill live elk, distaining the numerous elk carcasses available to it.

Another grizzly's kill was once witnessed by a Yellowstone park ranger. The bear had surprised a herd of elk crossing the Madison River and killed one of the cows with a single mighty blow to its head with a front paw. The adult elk was killed instantly, the ranger said, in "an explosion of brains, blood, and bone fragments." Young fawns and calves are more common grizzly fare.

However, biologist Charles Jonkel, who studied black bears, polar bears, and grizzlies, and has extensive experience comparing the three bruins, says that grizzlies are not adept at hunting. "Most grizzly bears don't even know how to catch elk, deer, and such. They can become very good predators of those animals, but most of them don't have the foggiest idea how to do it," Jonkel says ( quoted in Hummel, 1991 ).