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How To Field Judge Trophy Black Bears



With the spring black bear hunt quickly approaching in Idaho, it seems like a good time to briefly discuss field judging techniques.  I’m sure there are a lot of different opinions out there, but my most reliable cues to a bear’s size all revolve around one trait,  large head equals small bear, small head equals large bear.  Let me elaborate…..

A great way to judge a bear’s size is to imagine how many of his own heads will fit in the length of his body.  Most of the time a two year old bear’s head will look large, but when you compare it to his body you’ll find the body only equals  2 1/2  heads in length.  This is of course a small bear.  When a bear’s body equals 4 or more of it’s own head in length then you’re starting to talk about a big bear.

Other characteristics of the head size will tip you off as well.  Usually large ears belong to smaller bears.  My personal, can’t miss, characteristic of a large bear is they tend to have big, stove-pipe type neck that seems to be as big around and as long as the head itself.  In my experience, if you see this, you’ve got a monster bear without question!

Good luck in finding that monster bear this spring!


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