Which bears are captured and marked?

Adult radio-tagged bears are captured when their transmitter or receiver needs to be replaced. Females with cubs of the year are not captured. The bear can carry a regular VHF radio-collar for 3-4 years before the batteries run low and the collar must be replaced. How soon a GPS-collar needs replacing depends mainly on the number of positions it has taken. Generally GPS-collars are replaced every 1-3 years. As the GPS-collars are technically complex and not as robust as radio-collars, we often have to replace them sooner if they stop functioning. Young bears that have been equipped with collars must be captured each year while they are still growing to receive a larger collar.

The collar belts are fitted with a break-away zone, a strap of cotton fabric, that rots and weakens over time. This ensures that the collar will eventually fall off the bear, should we loose contact with it.

During the spring, we capture the entire family of a radio-tagged female with yearlings. The female yearlings are equipped with a transmitter (since 1998 these young bears have also received an implant, see above), so we can continue to follow them. The male yearlings are only ID marked with an eartag, ID tattoo, and microchip. Thus, even marked male bears can be identified later if they are found, for example if they are shot during the bear hunt or if we capture them later as adult bears.