Black Bear Vs. Boar.
It sounds like a Bad SyFy Network movie that would sit perfectly with Boa Vs. Python and Sharknado but there’s a big difference.
This once-in-a-lifetime video filmed near Gatlinburg, TN by Phillip Talbot of Old Skull Outdoors shows a rare look at black bear predation on an unlikely prey-a feral hog close to its own size.
“As an avid hunter, it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed,” Talbot said.
A member Order carnivora, black bears are technically omnivores equally at home eating plant material and meat. Their abilities as actual predators however is highly overlooked.
The USDA’s feralhogs.extension.org information site lists numerous potential hog predators. Their take on bear predation was interesting.
The black bear is known to prey on feral hogs of all ages; however, the impact of predation by this bear on feral hog populations is not known. Some researchers have speculated that black bears probably kill few if any feral hogs, especially given that an adult hog would represent a formidable adversary for a black bear. In fact, in the 1920s a feral boar in the Okefenokee Swamp was reported to have killed a black bear in a fight between the two animals. Similar accounts of feral boars killing bears during fights in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas were reported in the 1880s.
They continued by noting that being opportunistic, black bears have been reported to raid nylon net live traps used for feral hog control at high elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to obtain any trapped hogs contained within these devices.
This is an interesting notation because there is evidence in some studies that black bears can become specialists at preying on particular species such as research conducted related to black bear-caribou predation in Newfoundland.
Gatlinburg is the Smoky Mountains region where USDA officials have noted them raiding hog traps. Since this area was one of the first to have large hog populations of feral hogs, have hogs there adapted them as a regular part of their diet?
Other animals are certainly on the black bear’s menu.
A study by researchers Quitana and Tatman probing bear predation on elk showed serious impact on young in certain areas.
The primary cause of death for calves across all years was black bear predation (57 of 140 non-anthropogenic mortalities). Predation was the primary cause of death for juveniles during their first 3 weeks of life, resulting in 84 of 92 non-anthropogenic mortalities. During this time, black bears were the primary predator but coyotes and mountain lions were also predators.
The Billings Gazette reported on an interagency study of elk-calf mortality in the Garnet Mountains of Montana.
Over the five years of the study, 221 calves were captured for monitoring. In that group, 41 deaths were documented. Bears accounted for almost 27 percent of elk calf deaths. Malnutrition and disease were the second-largest threat while mountain lions ranked third, blamed for about 17 percent of elk calf deaths.
We’re glad Talbot was in the right place at the right time and was happy to share his video with the world.
I don’t know what side you’re on in this battle but I say, “Go bear!”
With feral hog populations exploding and causing damage to native wildlife and habitat, it’s good to see something take a bite out of them.
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