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Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 632
Marked Trail

I was out bird hunting today and ran into a marked trail. About 12 ft long, and stunk some bad of urine. You could see where he really layed in with one paw. The coolest (scarier too) part was he was still there. Snapped a few branches and clicked his jaw. His jaw clicking was extremely fast I thought. Anyways, I clicked back by cycling in a slug I was carrying and continued on my way slowly. I just thought it was cool to see a marked trail. That's not the same as a ritual trail right? I'll be going back with my rifle and a hunting partner.

ADKBEAR's picture
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Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
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Marked Trail

Ok Frenchy
I give. What the heck is a "marked trail"?

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 471
Marked Trail
ADKBEAR wrote:
Ok Frenchy
I give. What the heck is a "marked trail"?

Was wondering the same thing.

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Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 632
Marked Trail

Sorry. This particular one was about a 12ft long (approx. 2 1/2' wide) stretch that had been completely raked to the ground like a scrape. The bear had definely pressed and turned it's paws into the trail so the print was very visible. A ritual trail is kind of like this (can sometimes be very long), and is used by many bears that walk through the area. On a ritual trail, the bears will place there paws into the same spot as the last bear every time they walk through. I think I read somewhere that a ritual trail can be very old (many generations?). The marked trail is the same thing (I believe), but is used by a dominant bear and I believe is only meant for the one. I've heard that marked trails are shorter 10-15ft or so. Biologist don't understand why bears do either of these activities, but believe that a marked trail is a way of expressing aggression or dominancy. (That last part I had read the other night while doing some research). The marked area I ran into had a tree next to it that had been back rubbed, and the trail was urinated on (which I read are done on a marked trail). Just some quick observations I made before the bruin broke the first branch letting me know he was next to me. I think it is amazing how bears have such unique social behaviors. I'm very glad that he was just passive aggressive, but I think I'll carry some bear spray and more than one slug for now on. Just in case I ever run into one with a meaner disposition.

Anyways, I hope this made sense, and I answered my own question by reading the other night. The two trails are simular, but used for different purposes and in different ways.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 471
Marked Trail

Made lots of sense. I have never come across the term or the sign either in life or in print. Never too old to learn.

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Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 632
Marked Trail

I guess it's a rare thing to come across, so I'm lucky. Though I'm starting to think it is not rare, just something you really need to look for.

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Location: Puyallup, WA / Grand Rapids, MI
Joined: 10/24/2007
Posts: 96
Marked Trail

I've heard about the ritual trails, but never found one.
I usually hunt timberland in Washington state so I figured that if an area is logged every 60 years the bears' trails would be destroyed and they'd have to form new ones. So no ritual trails.

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Joined: 07/31/2007
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Marked Trail

Hey! Welcome to the site.

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