Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bear Claw Markings

I'll make this blog posting a short one about a tree that I know of.  Thanks to Mike and Ron for telling me about this tree and for giving me trail directions to it!

Who:  A black bear
Where:  Western Loudoun County, Virginia
What:  Beech tree marked by a black bear
Why:  To claim a territory or sharpen claws.
When:  Possibly 2-3 years ago.


  1. I've been involved with a bear marking study now for almost 3 years. This is a GREAT pic! I love seeing this kind of stuff. I do want to add a note that I am 100% sure that this is marking, not sharpening nails. Bears don't have that behavioral impulse, like a catch, to stretch, and scratch. I've seen our pet cats do it 1000 times on the arm of the couch, the doorway, my leg....but bears do it for marking. I wish I could see this site and investigate. This might be a great location for a cam- pointed right at this tree.

    1. Do you think the scent of a bear from years ago would still be on this tree? I've got a cam about 100 yards away, and at least 6 others within 3 square miles of the tree. If the scent from the bear that did this is no longer on the tree, would the markings alone attract another bear?

    2. Markings like that are both visual and chemical. If it appears to be old, the chemical (scent) is gone. But if there are beech trees about, I bet they'll be back. And someone will notice those scratched. Or you could try using a lure of black licorice (anise), maple syrup, vanilla, honey, etc. Man, I wish I could see this in real life. Look up the tree, between maybe 5-7 feet, there may be bites.

    3. By the way, my first comment should read *like a cat, not catch!

    4. Ah yes, I didn't even think to look higher in the tree for bite marks. I'm heading back to this site to check cams, so I'll look around more and take some measurements. I'll keep you posted.