Food Sources of the Black Bear

Black Bears have a keen sense of smell that enables them to locate food sources, including many that are not obvious to humans. They are Omnivores ( ie., they eat both plants and animals) but the bulk of their diet is plant material. Generally, bears are opportunists. Their preferred foods are most abundant in un-even aged mixed coniferous/deciduous forests that contain numerous shrub species. They consume a variety of food items as they become available throught the year.

Spring - In the spring bears feed upon willow catkins, grasses, dandelions, clover, and aspen leaves. Leaves and flowers are preferred when they are highest in protein content ( shotly after leaf burst or flowering) Important sources of protein in the spring may include winter killed or live adult deer or moose, spawning suckers, and newborn deer fawns or moose calves

Summer - In the summer, ant colonies and nests of bumblebees and wasps are excavated and eaten, providing major protein sources. Berries and other soft mast are eaten as they become available throughout the summer. These include fruits of various trees and plants, wild sarsaparilla, dogwoods, srawberries, raspberries, pin and chokecherries, and blueberries.

Fall - In the fall hazelnuts, mountain ash, acorns, and beechnuts are favoured foods. Black Bear will also prey upon livestock if available and are attracted to agricultural crops such as grains and orchards.