Judging Black Bear Before You Shoot!



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Judging Black Bear I

There are many ways to judge the size of a black bear before you decide to shoot. First I would like say!

Forget trying to guess the weight of a bear.

Especially in the spring. During the spring bears will look much heavier than they really are. This is because an adult bear will be anywhere from 20 to 30 percent lighter at this time. Bears can lose up 35 percent of their body weight during hibernation. A bear will be the same size as far as body structure.



Judging Black Bear II

However the long thick winter body hair will disguise the weight lose. So I would advise against trying to guess the body weight, and look for other ways to judge a black bear's size.

When a bear appears you want to be patient, and literally look the bear over. If you want a bigger bear. If the bear really is 300 pounds, it will look big. There is no excuse for shooting a 100 pound bear. Then swearing on a bible that it looked 300 pounds. Because there is no comparison, and believe me this happens.

If you are hunting over bait, and the bait is in a 55 gallon barrel. Judge how big the bear is in comparison to the barrel. If the barrel is standing upright and the top of the bear's back reaches the second ring on the barrel. This is a nice size adult bear. If the barrel is down on its side, and there is space between the bears belly and barrel. This is also a very good size bear.


black bear judging, adult bear




Judging Black Bear III

If the bait is hanging from a tree you can judge by this as well. Take the time before climbing in the stand to stand by the bait to see how high it is. You know how tall you are, and you can judge the height of the bait this way. Bears are use to human sent, so this won't scare them off. As long as you use some caution. Then when the bear comes in, use this to judge the height of the top of the bears back. I suggest using the top of the bear's back. Because bears can stand on their hind legs, and stretch up quit a long way. Just about everyone has seen and knows what a yard stick is.

If the bears back is that high up the tree, and there is very little space between the bear's belly and the ground. You will want to prepare to shoot. Because it is definitely a shooter.

If the bear is facing you. Look for a deep groove from the eyes back to the ears on the top of the bear's head. This is very visible on adult male bears. Mature bears head and neck will flow evenly back to the shoulders. Not like young bears, who's head looks like a lolly pop on a stick.

Larger bear's ears will look small and round, more to the outside of the head. While young bears ears look tall and more rectangular.



Judging Black Bear IV

Last but not least. Look at the bears leg right above the front paw. If the leg flows evenly from the paw up to the chest, it is a good sign of a mature male. Females and young bears will be thin right above the front paw. To understand this. Make a fist and then look at the difference to your wrist. These are a few helpful ways to help you judge the size of a black bear before you shoot. Then you will go home with a trophy to be proud of.

By Ron Koch



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