One way bears leave scent is by straddling saplings and bushes as they walk, urinating on the vegetation as it passes beneath them. This is done by bears of both sexes throughout the spring-summer-fall but is done most frequently by mature males in May and June.
If saplings are in leaf when straddled, the leaves may be creased or torn. Leaf creases turn brown and are evidence the trail was used after spring green-up. Trees along regular travel corridors may be repeatedly straddled and marked in this way. Branches of these straddle trees may be twisted and torn by the repeated straddling, and hairs are often caught in the breaks. Bears frequently mark straddled trees by ‘painting’ them with urine as they pass over.
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