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How To Judge Trophy Black Bears - Hunting Black Bears



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Hi I'm Dan Brooks from Crystal Lake Resort

I'm a licensed outfitter here in British Columbia and we do an awful lot of

spring black bear hunting one of the biggest questions clients ask me when

they come up hunting with me is how do you judge a trophy black bear I believe

that is a very important question one of the things that make or break a trophy

and quality hunt here in British Columbia one of the most important

things when judging black bears is to determine the sex of the bear obviously

the biggest bears are going to be your boars black bears

start rutting about the 1st of June to the middle of June and that is the key

time to hunt black bears during this timeframe it's not uncommon to find big

boars cruising for sows and in an ideal situation finding a big boar with a sow

as a breeding pair the breeding pair is a gimme the biggest bear is going to be

the boar and that's obviously going to be the one you want to harvest one of

the key features to determining whether it's a boar or not it's looking at the

girth the big front end on boars is a real determining factor they have big

shoulders in the front end that make them look bigger in the front than they

do in the back boars have narrow hips which looks like a horseshoe when viewed

from behind when walking boars often waddle they walk pigeon-toed their heads

are square and blocky Sows have a much smaller girth their rear end will

look bigger than their front the butt appears higher than the front when viewed

from the side their hips are wider now almost in a heart shape when viewed from

behind and they tend to waddle in the rear when walking and their head

features are soft and rounded now that we've determined the sexes of the bear

we have to decide whether it's a shooter or not what we're really looking for is

bears in the 18 plus category an 18 inch bear is going to be a good mature boar

but a nineteen to twenty inch bear is going to be an exceptional bear and once

you get over 20 you're into the ridiculous category those are great

spectacular bears there's three things we're going to look at determine the

size of a boar to decide whether or not we want to harvest it that's the head

the neck and the body shape when looking at the head of a bear the

biggest feature you're going to look for is ears that appear small and on the

side of the head that's a good sign of a big bear but bears also tend to grow a

lot of meat on top of their skulls and when that happens they create a crease

in the middle ear forehead that is very distinct when you find a crease bear

that's a good bear the heads should appear square and not triangular if it

appears fox-like that's a small bear the square features include a nose that

appears short and attaches to the face at right angles the nose should not

appear to flow into the cheekbones as it comes up the face and the eyes should

appear small and beady the next thing we look at is the neck a big bear should

look as though it has no neck at all in fact the neck will almost appear bigger

than the head itself if you can see a small neck behind the jawline that's a

small bear there should be no distinct size difference between the neck and the

head behind the ears last thing we're going to look at is the general body

shape and legs on a big bear legs should appear short the belly should hang low

to the ground if a bear appears to have long legs that's usually a sign of a

small bear big bears have big front ends the chest should appear quite large

almost bigger than the back end of the bear big bears have big barreled chests

occasionally very big bears appear to have a swayback behind the shoulder hump

when possible compare the general body size to an object nearby that you

already know the size of well here we are folks an Adam bender just killed

this monster black bear and while we've got it here I want to show you some of

the features that enabled us to judge this bear to know the quality and that

we wanted to take this bear and let's start with the head if you'll just look

at these features see how far apart these ears are I can put my whole hand

in between his ears quite easily tip to tip those ears are well over 12 inches

probably more like 15 to tip key feature on this head is this

crease and also I want you to notice how this nose engages into the cheekbones

the nose does not flow smoothly in it comes up and then it's like a sharp

blocky angle out the head is not rounded or triangular it is blocky some of the

other things that you're going to be looking for is the next size just the

massive next size in this bear this neck is bigger than his head that is really

important it almost looks like he has no neck up here on the top he actually does

have a bit of that hump action going on and a small amount of that swayback the

girth on this bear it's another key feature just the size of his chest and I

want to do this with let's pick up this head a little bit you can just see the

bulk of the neck there just look at the bulk of that neck that's a huge neck and

engages into this great big front end so when you start asking yourself just how

much does a bear like this way we have a formula that we use to calculate this in

the field we're gonna calculate it right now here in the field so Adam if you'll

help me what we've got to do is we've got to measure his girth

so we'll stretch this tape measure around him and his girth is 41 inches

the formula we use when determining the weight of a bear is we take the girth

around the chest just behind the arms - 26

so 41 minus 26 gives us 15 multiply that by 14

what's our weight 210 pounds so let's set 210 pound black bear this is a big

mature boar congratulation Adam has a trophy of a lifetime for sure many

people will hunt their whole lives and never kill a trophy bear this big if

you're looking for sign for bears there's another couple things that you

can look at that will help you determine the size of a bear if you can find some

bear tracks and that track is bigger than five inches that's going to be a

big bear the general rule of thumb is you take the width of the pad add an

inch that's how long your bear is there's also one other thing you can

look at and that's the piles of bear scat

the bigger the boar the big the borer most importantly after you've

done judging up a bear make sure it's the bear that you want many bears look

good from far but are far from good and if you have to talk yourself into

shooting it you probably shouldn't shoot good luck and good hunting

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