Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hunt, Kevin M.

Committee Member

Kouba, Andrew J.

Committee Member

Iglay, Raymond Bruce

Committee Member

Ayers, Christopher R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Historically, black bears occurred throughout Mississippi but by 1932, <12 bears remained. Repatriation in neighboring states and conservation efforts in Mississippi have led to the recolonization of at least 2 subspecies (U. a. luteolus and U. a. americanus) of black bears in the state. I compiled available data to provide a synthesis of the history, current status, and management of black bears in Mississippi. Additionally, I used global positioning data collected from radio collared bears to determine the influence of distance to source population, cover type, distance to roads, distance to water, wetland reserve program areas, and human population density on black bear resource selection at various spatial scales. I studied characteristics of space use and resource selection of recolonizing bears in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (Delta). I assessed the influence of environmental parameters at the female core annual home-range (using 50% kernel density estimator) and male and female seasonal and annual home-ranges (95% kernel density estimator). Distance to source population and distance to roads had significant influence at the core female home-range scale. I found a sex-based difference in annual and seasonal home-ranges. I also found that bears exhibited response to and selection for specific resources with an affinity toward hardwood stands, particularly young-aged hardwoods. My research illustrates the importance of analyzing resource selection at multiple scales to gain a full understanding of parameters that influence the recolonization of a bear population.