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Demographic Response of Black Bears at Cold Lake,
Alberta, to the Removal of Adult Males

Study Area


The 218-km² Cold Lake bear study area (CLSA) was located along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, 240 km northeast of Edmonton, Alberta (Fig.1). Boundaries of the CLSA were defined by Cold Lake and the province of Saskatchewan to the east, the Medley River and Marie Lake to the west, the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range to the north, and by agricultural lands to the south. The CLSA was closed to sport hunting, but bears could be taken by native people. Some bears that used the CLSA also used areas where they could be killed by hunters or to control depredations.

Figure 1: Map of Cold Lake bear study area
Fig. 1.  The Cold Lake bear study area (CLSA). Reproduced with permission from The Journal of Wildlife Management (Tietje and Ruff 1980).

Topography of the CLSA was generally flat except near the Medley and Martineau rivers. Elevation ranged from 535 to 702 m. Vegetation was dominated by aspen (Populus tremuloides) and mixed stands of aspen and spruce (Picea glauca), which occupied 66% of the landscape. Dominant understory plants in these areas included alder (Alnus spp.), rose (Rosa spp.), and lowbrush cranberry (Viburnum edule). The remaining third of the area consisted primarily of muskeg (24%) and spruce (6%), habitats that also dominated the landscape to the east and west of the CLSA. The climate was northern continental, with average monthly temperatures ranging from -19C in January to 17C in July. Annual snowfall averaged 138 cm, and snow cover usually persisted from late October to early April. More detailed descriptions of the study area have been presented by Kemp (1972, 1976), Tietje and Ruff (1980, 1983), Young and Ruff (1982), and Pelchat and Ruff (1986).


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