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Big Game Monitoring

Biological Specimen Collection

Manitoba Conservation requires information generated from home-grown data on which to make informed management decisions. Due to the secretive nature of bears, traditional monitoring techniques are not effective and therefore we have had to rely on you the hunter to provide us with the information we need. We are asking for your increased participation in our black bear sample collection program.

For your submission of a pre-molar tooth, you will receive a management cooperator crest and will be advised of the animal's age. Though it is legal to kill females without cubs, we encourage females not to be taken as they are critical to maintaining a healthy population. In the event a female is taken and a complete reproductive tract is submitted, you will receive a brass belt buckle and will be informed of the animal's reproductive status. To be complete, the reproductive tract must contain both uterine horns with attached ovaries as well as a corresponding pre-molar for which an age can be determined. 

Should you take an animal in the future, please collect the following samples:

Pre-molar which provides us with the means to determine an animal's age as well as the reproductive history of a female bear. To remove (as shown in the diagram below), cut the gum tissue around the entire small tooth immediately behind the upper canine (A). Then by using the tip of a field knife, pry the tooth out with the root intact (B). Please do not use pliers to pull or twist the tooth out. This action will typically break off the root tip - the portion of the tooth where an age determination is made. 

bear_tooth_removal.gif (9526 bytes)

Reproductive tract which enables us to determine the reproductive status of a female as well as determine an average litter size for an age class in a specific geographic region. The ovaries indicate whether a female has ovulated.

  1. With the bear on its back, make a cut along the midline as you do to field-dress a bear.
  2. Locate the urinary bladder, and pinch it off tightly at the neck. Cut it off well back from where you are holding it, but be careful not to cut the uterus which lies directly below the bladder.
  3. Pinch the neck of the uterus and cut it off a couple of inches below the "Y" branch (see photos below).
  4. Trim away membranes attached to the reproductive tract, being careful not to cut the kidney-shaped lumps (ovaries) at the end of each branch of the "Y"-shaped tract.
  5. Place your sample in a plastic bag and freeze immediately. If possible also remove a second pre-molar as described above.

Please submit your sample(s) at the nearest Manitoba Conservation office and be prepared to provide the following information: your complete mailing address, the Game Hunting Area the animal was killed, the section-township-range, the date of kill, the sex of the animal and whether the sow was dry or lactating. Typically, there is one annual mailing of rewards: May/June for samples received by December 1st. 

Thank you in advance for your anticipated participation in this important wildlife monitoring project. Remember, it's your resource, get involved.

Bear ovaries       Removal of reproductive tract on female bear