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Bears in the woods, how tough to tell?

 
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  #1  
Old 10-30-2007, 10:04 AM
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Bears in the woods, how tough to tell?

How tough is it to tell the difference between a grizzly and a big black bear in brown color variant? I can tell them apart easily in the zoo, but have never seen a grizzly in the wild.

Three local hunters were up in the Selkirks recently and took a bear they believed to be a big black bear in brown variant.

On the way out, some other hunters commented on the nice grizzly they had taken. (Grizzlies still being protected in the lower 48, this caused them some consternation!)

It was indeed a grizzly, and they are in deep kimchi.

I have a hard time believing that they couldn't tell the difference, but thinking about it, in rough terrain, with cover, I guess I can almost understand the error.

It goes along with the "don't shoot what you aren't absolutely sure about" lesson, the shot was supposedly at about 250 yards, and the 3 guys are relatively experienced hunters, although none had ever taken a bear.

So how hard is it to tell them apart?

Bill
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2007, 10:27 AM
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Check out this link:Home - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks That is the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks site and it has a test you must be able to pass in order to get a bear tag in Montana. Even though I feel I can fairly easily distinguish the difference, I'm not sure I could do it at 250 yds. Especially if I was wanting it to be a black bear and a bit excited.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2007, 11:39 AM
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Thanks, I passed, but none of those bears are in thick cover, and I did get one wrong, though it was a non-shooter either way, with a cub.

Anyone else?
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2007, 12:39 PM
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Simple, if it's in thick cover and you are not 100% sure of your target, don't shoot. That's one of the very basic rules in Hunter's Safety...BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND!

Now how those hunters could walk up too, field dress, and start hauling a bear out and not know it was a grizzly bear is beyond me. You'd think the four inch or longer claws would give them just the slighest of clues.
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2007, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Sky View Post
Simple, if it's in thick cover and you are not 100% sure of your target, don't shoot. That's one of the very basic rules in Hunter's Safety...BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND!

Now how those hunters could walk up too, field dress, and start hauling a bear out and not know it was a grizzly bear is beyond me. You'd think the four inch or longer claws would give them just the slighest of clues.
Yeah, but at that point he was already dead! And they just tossed him in the truck and drove away, he was close enough to a road to get a truck in to him, evidently.

I agree on the first point, but after listening to guys talk about shooting at the sound of a deer, I'm not convinced that all hunters feel that way.

I have seen deer taken where all that was visible was the rack and the chest, though, and that always bothered me.

Evidently, this area has lots of black bears, and rumors of grizzlies, but no for sure documented grizzlies years. I'm not a hunter, just a shooter, so I would probably just take pictures anyway.

I will say I have learned more about long range shooting here than on any of the shooting boards.

Seems like hunters are more willing to help than guys who compete!!

Bill
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The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

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  #6  
Old 10-30-2007, 09:55 PM
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Living here in B.C. we run into this situation quite often. As simple as it may sound you just can't shoot until you are positive.
I think the biggest problem facing hunters in the lower 48 states is that a guy could hunt his entire life and never see a grizzly much less shoot one….Inexperience.

That said a grizzly is a completely different animal and hard to mistake in the wild. Pictures don’t do a grizzly justice. While a bear in thick bush it might take a few seconds to identify that is not all there is to shooting a bear. A hunter needs to determine whether the bear in question is a sow with cubs or not. I have watched bears in thick bush for an hour or so before the cubs came into the open. If ever there was an argument for a methodical long range shot this is it.

In my mind shooting a black bear sow with cubs would be a disgrace…. Miss-shooting a grizzly is a moron manoeuvre that I hope carries as big a fine in the lower 48 as it does here in Canada.
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2007, 10:47 PM
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The fine is up to $50,000 and a year in jail, and all three are in for the full ride.

I agree 100% on the issue, and when I first heard the story I was incredulous about them not believing that it was or could be a grizzly, but after looking at lots of pictures over the last few days, I can at least see that it wasn't as cut and dried as I initially would have believed.

Bill
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The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

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http://waitesandbalances.blogspot.com/
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