What do bear tracks look like? What are the field signs which show that black bears are in an area?

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Black bears have 5 toes on each foot. Their "big toe" is on the outer side, not the inner side as on human feet. The little toe does not always show in tracks. Claw marks may register ahead of the toes and are not always evident. The large rear heel pad shows up in tracks more often than the smaller front one does. Track patterns may vary; in a typical walking pattern the hind foot will overstep the forefoot. Bear scat may be evident where bears are feeding. The composition and consistency of the scat varies depending on the food items. Black bears often make well-worn trails and use the same crossings at roads, paths, or entering fields. The animals will often step in the tracks of the bear that preceded them. Bear trails may be apparent where the animals enter concentrated food sources, such as corn fields, dumps, or landfills. In historic times, some trails extended for miles and were used by generations of bears. Black bear "mark trees", "sign posts", or "scratching posts" are ... more
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