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Setting Up a Bear Hair Trap

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Greater Glacier and Northern Divide Bear Project Bear Hair Trap Setup

map graphic showing bear hair trap locations within a grid cell
Within the appropriate grid cell, snag sites were selected based on abundance of bear foods, proximity to game trails, and arrangement of trees for attaching barbed wire.
field crew installing the barbed wire for a bear hair trap
After selecting a site for the hair snag station, a single 80' length of barbed wire is set up 50cm above the ground and wrapped around three or more trees to create a corral. Site vegetation data, location, and other snag site characteristics are also collected.
field crew pouring lure for a bear hair trap
At the center of the barbed wire corral a pile of rotten wood is made and a non-rewarding liquid lure (aged cattle blood and rendered fish oil) is poured on to it. To learn more about the lure visit our scent lure page.
field crew hanging secondary lure for a bear hair trap
In addition to the lure a film canister containing a "love scent" is hung from a tree approximately 15 feet from the ground (film canisters also contain wool to hold the liquid). "Love scent" is a liquid substance (such as rotten egg or skunk essence) that is changed with each snagging session so that a bear will be interested in the smell even if it has already been to a previous hair snag. (Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project ONLY)
grizzly bear rolling in a bear hair trap lure pile
Hopefully, within the next two weeks a bear wandering by will pick up the scents from the hair snag station and come to investigate. This bear has crossed the barbed wire and is rubbing in the pile of rotten wood with the lure. By crossing the barbed wire the bear will snag some of its hair leaving a sample behind. View other photographs and video of bears at bear hair traps.
field crew collecting bear hair from barbed wire
After 14 days the field crew returns to the hair snag station to collect any hair samples left behind. A hair sample is collected using rubber gloves and sterile tweezers. It is placed in a paper coin envelope and the barb is torched with a lighter to destroy and remnant DNA left on the barb. The hair snag station is dismantled and all materials are taken with the field crew to use elsewhere. All hair samples are given to the field lab/data coordinator who enters the data in a database and sends them to the genetics lab for processing and DNA analysis.

 

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