How to field judge black bears

Discussion in 'Bear Hunting' started by dukntz, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. dukntz

    dukntz Guest

    I know they can be one of the hardest animals to judge size of in the field, but what are some things to look for. I have a rug hanging on the wall from my first and only bear, a 13 year old sow, that weighed 278 hanging. I look at the distance between her ears and compare to what I see on hunting shows and her head looks enormous by comparison. I will be hunting over bait this year, and plan on setting up a few logs to help gauge the size.
    Are their any other features to look for?
  2. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Interesting subject. I caught a bear on my deer cam this summer and it's head was about 5.5 feet from the ground when standing. I would love to be able to guess the weight of this bear.

  3. The first wild bear I saw in Canada over 30 years ago on a spring hunt, I said to myself, "It is'nt any bigger than a dog" and having seen a lot of them over the years now that still is a gage for me. When I see a big bear it is wide and full looking, and I can be fooled I am sure, but if it looks like a german shepherd it is probably a small bear.
  4. Went bear hunting last fall in Ontario. the outfitter said that a good bear is bigger that the 55 gal bait drum. We got 3 bears, 340# was quite a bit bigger than the drum, 250# was slightly bigger than the drum and 160# about drum size. You could also tie a ribbon around some trees about 40" high. A good bear will have a sholders above the ribbon. They all look smaller from a tree stand. Good luck:idea:
  5. A mature bear will have small ears in comparison to the head. I have pictures of a adult boar that has ears that are almost non- existent. Also I have seen many bears over the years that friends have taken and they all said look for small ears.
  6. ear size

    I always look at the ear size and the shape of the head. If the head is more angled and the ears can be easily seen, that's a smaller bear. Big, blocky, square head, can hardly see the ears...BIG bear.

    But sometimes they all look big, no matter how much experience you've got. If you want to take a bigger bear, try to stay patient enough to get a really good look at as close a distance as you can before you take the shot.

    I know several people who shot yearlings that thought they had good sized bears on their hands...same thing with sows. It was not only disappointing for some of them, but they also felt badly.
  7. A bear can be real hard to judge no matter how many you have seen or harvested. Watchiing all the video you can will help, but it hard to tranfer tv to the wild.

    Barrels are a good indictor if legal to have around. A marker at 40" is a pretty good idea as well. Logs behind the bait will give you an indictor for length that will help make judging legal size easy.

    Big headed, belly dragging, lumbering around it's a big bear. The ear thing is good overall. Still I have seen some big ones with long ears. The distance between them is the best judge in that case.

    Big ole square noses are a good judge as well.

    Like all things expierence is the best teacher. SO try to get as much time in looking at them you can. Either way when a really big bear stands in front of you, you will know.
  8. Many here have already stated the best tactics for this. The fellas's covered it good.
    Game camerss will give you a very good picture of the bears hitting your baits. Anyone here remember the single pull string timer?
    (OHHH boy) it was hit last night at 6pm!
    The cameras may give you the time to examine the bears frequenting your bait most often from a computer screen where you can scrutinize its size. I actually became familiar with a few bears and reconize them imediately.
  9. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Yeah I remember those string timers. Sure have come a long way since then!
  10. Look for a bear that has a sagging belly, it's legs will look short and head will be blocky with a good bit of distance between the ears, also a deep crease down the forehead is a good indicator of age.
  11. Bear Size

    Take your first guess and divide it by two....

    Bears always look big when you first see them....just about twice as big as they really are!! I help at a bear registration station and we always try to guess the weight before they go on the scale. It always takes 5 - 10 bears before we start getting close with our guess, and the shooters will almost always guess 30 to 50 percent heavy!!

    Bears are just hard to judge without looking at a lot of them.
  12. Good description. Problem sometimes comes when a gun hunter harvests the bear before he or she can really evalutate the size. Always take a breath and take your time. MAke sure of your target, its a very long time till your next drawn tag in Wisconsin
  13. Thanks for the infromation! I've always been interested in hunting bear but I havent had the chance to yet.