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#215021 - 09/04/01 08:28 PM Estimating LIVE black bears
Locator Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 98
Loc: MI.
Is there anyone out there that has a good way of estimating black bear size?
Locator

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#215022 - 09/04/01 10:18 PM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
Bo Offline
New Member

Registered: 09/03/01
Posts: 3
Loc: S.W. Pa
While I am definitely no expert on the subject, I can tell you if you have seen more than a couple you know the difference between a real "hawg" and a young bear. A young one, say up to 150 pounder looks slim at a quick glance. A bear somewhat over that appears to be "a normal bear" 300 lb up appears "rotund". The ears are the first thing I notice on a large bear. They appear very small in proportion to the bears head on a large one. Seems like not alot to go on, but look at pictures of bear where the size is given. You will see what I mean. When you see big'uns in person you know it! As far as judging for book status, I don't have the experience to tell a good bear from a contender but from the bears Ive had experience with, theres no mistaking for a young bear or smaller sow, I do know of some pretty good size older sows taken though. Usually if you have the benefit of scrutinizing, the older boars have a wider head with wide set small appearing eyes. However, its head actually appears quite small in relation to its body size. A young one appears to be skinny with a big head (long) with large ears.

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#215023 - 09/05/01 01:23 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
BobR Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 180
Loc: Walla Walla, WA USA
The quickest was to judge bear size is this:

Large bears appear to have short legs and no neck. The closer to the ground the belly is, the larger the bear.

Small bears have long necks and long legs

I got this bear on video Friday. It was 600 yards away. As soon as I got it in the viewfinder, I knew it was a good bear.
Bob

http://images.prosperpoint.com/145/8296-156.jpg
http://images.prosperpoint.com/145/8296-157.jpg

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#215024 - 09/05/01 09:55 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
Curt Barrett Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 5144
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Great pics Bob! Kinda looks like a belly-dragger to me!

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#215025 - 09/05/01 11:40 PM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
BadMedicine Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 08/07/01
Posts: 442
Loc: Anchorage, AK, USA
Rule of thumb: Don't shoot a dog-bear. Dog-bears have long pointy ears, long legs, are slender, and a noticeable neck. The bear you want will have small, round ears, short fat limbs, a short square snout and a big round body.

Of course, there are in-between sizes, which are prolly 150-250, and these are probably legal too, not cubs, but if you're only allowed one bear a year, you may want to hold out for a round one

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#215026 - 09/06/01 12:31 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
BobR Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 180
Loc: Walla Walla, WA USA
Curt, I saw a bear Tuesday evening that was bigger than the one in the above photo. It was a large blonde boar that I have been watching for six years. i have never been able to figure out this bears routine in the fall. But if I can ever draw a spring bear tag, he's history. I have got him on video several times. We spotted him sneaking down a ridge three years ago in June. When he closed in on a pocket of buck brush, A cow elk ran out thirty yards into the open. She started barking at the bear and trying to get him to chase her. The big boar ingored her and remained focused on the buck brush as it slowly moved forward with the stealth of a cat. Then we saw a frightened calf jump to its feet. One swipe from that massive front paw sent the calf flying through the air like a wet rag.
It was a helpless feeling I had as I watched the bear carry the calf into the timber. I have seen that bear three times this year. Someday.......
Bob

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#215027 - 09/06/01 07:43 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
Curt Barrett Offline
PM senior

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 5144
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Man, talk about "Wild Kingdom". lol Not very many people can say they witnessed something like that. Your a lucky dude.

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#215028 - 09/06/01 08:43 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
BobR Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 180
Loc: Walla Walla, WA USA
Curt, If you can come over the first two weeks of June next year, we will take you to a place we call the elk calving grounds. That is the best time to see large bears and cougars. Elk calves are not able to keep up with the herds the first 10 days of their lives. So the cows stash them in the two foot buck brush and go to them only at feeding times. You can see the bears and cougars working the buck brush, and it is not hard to figure out what they are looking for.
Bob

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#215029 - 09/06/01 08:28 PM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
Locator Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 98
Loc: MI.
Thanks for the reply from all of you.
I have not seen the bear inquestion yet but he is on video up to my uncle's place.
Bob R and Bo, thanks and now i have a few more things for the uncle to check out on the video he made. He also measured to the top of his shoulder when the bruin leaned against the siding on the shed (later on)
but i don't know if measuring at the shoulder is reliable dont sound like it would be.
Locator

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#215030 - 09/06/01 09:50 PM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
jerry malbeck Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 1969
Loc: northwest
Bob , How about you come live in my house for a few months , and ill move up there ? he . he . I would love to see some of the sights you and Wade have had the pleasure of seeing . You two are truly lucky to live in such a target rich enviroment .Was that bear in the pic close to where we called in the other? Jerry .

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#215031 - 09/07/01 12:08 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
BobR Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 180
Loc: Walla Walla, WA USA
Jerry, I will show you and Curt where we saw that bear tomorrow evening. That bear was out by the main road. Bear hunters have been cruising this road every evening since Tuesday. Most of these guys could not find a bear if it was riding in the back of their truck. We will not be bothered by other hunters where we are going.
Bob

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#215032 - 09/08/01 12:45 AM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
andrew Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 04/25/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
That was a huge bear and they are not "too" hard to judge while on the ground but how do you judge their size while they are 20ft. up a tree?

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#215033 - 09/08/01 04:36 PM Re: Estimating LIVE black bears
Locator Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 98
Loc: MI.
Next question, I have been told a good way to
judge them is by their head width. Using a five gallon bucket for a bait container.
Now correct me if i'm wrong but, wouldnt a 400 to 500 pound blackie have a difficult if not impossible time to jam his 13" to 15" wide head into it? I'm arguing left and right with my uncle and its just like hitting a bear in the head with your fist!
Your not gonna impress much on him.
My sister in law gets in the middle of it and claims his head is all of 16" wide, well now i think thats a big damn black bear. He does measure between 45 to 48 inches at the shoulder.
Locator

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