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Thread: Brown Bears Eating Black Bears

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Brown Bears Eating Black Bears

    Interesting story from a friend of mine who is guiding brown bear hunters this spring. Seems one of his guides and a client took a brown bear yesterday or the day before. The brownie had sniffed out a black bear den, dug the black bear out, killed it and was eating it when they came on the scene. I didn't get the measurements on the brown bear, but the hide looks like it could be a nine-footer or so. Pretty interesting.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I've seen it in the Haines area where there are a lot of both. Then again they will also interbred.
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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Heard that story today. I have heard other similar stories of browns searching out black bear dens and paying a surprise visit. Seems like something that might be more common in low snow years, when moose aren't such easy prey for browns.
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    This is why I almost never see black bears near my cabin any more. Used to seldom see brownies, but saw countless blackies. Now the game camera and my eyeballs see mostly brownies. Also the moose numbers are way down, and seldom see calves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    This is why I almost never see black bears near my cabin any more.
    I'm curious as to why you think brownies actually killing and eating blackies is the reason you're not seeing blackies anymore? Have you actually seen it? If not, couldn't it be that there are just more brownies now that are running off the blackies? I've always heard that blackies won't stick around much where there are a lot of brownies.

    Just curious......
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    My game camera used during 8 years of bear baiting say that both will use the site. Blackies will come in less than 5 minutes after a brown leaves.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Juli, nothing scientific here, but I imagine that since bears generally show proficiencies in certain skills than others of the same species in the same area (some bears are very good at catching fish, while others are not), it's a safe bet that some bears have honed the ability to find denning black bears and kill them. Blackbeard and brown bears den in similar areas, where their habitats overlap, and it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that this hapless black bear was the first meal of the season. Wouldn't that make an interesting diorama for a brown bear mount?
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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Then again they will also interbred.
    I don't want to start anything, but from with my Forest Wildlife Biology background/education, I've never read or heard of this ever happening, at least in a natural setting. Grizzlies, brownies, et al will interbreed with polar bears as those species diverged much more recently than those of black bears.

    Grizzly depredation on black bears is commonly documented, just they will kill smaller grizzlies and just as wolves will depredate on coyotes.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Inthink it was in 84 or so around skwentna a hunter shot s nine foot black bear with a 26" skull. B&c said no way to entry. So they tested it and it was a hybrid. Pictures are amazing. Jet black with the white chevron and huge claws! I wish they'd do that more often.
    I have seen black bears run Grizzlies off on a couple occasions and had black bears walk up on me while skinning a grizz. Bears are goofy. All of them.
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    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    Then again they will also interbred
    I had never heard of that either. Quite the opposite actually..... Interesting....

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    Id like to find one of those Blackbeard dens.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    There was a brown/black cross taken in Haines in 94 I believe maybe 95. Looked like a huge black bear. The state wanted it to be a brownie and poached.Ended being dropped as far as I know with black bear look and both bears DNA
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    Inthink it was in 84 or so around skwentna a hunter shot s nine foot black bear with a 26" skull. B&c said no way to entry. So they tested it and it was a hybrid. Pictures are amazing. Jet black with the white chevron and huge claws!
    OK.. Now that would be just plain BAD***!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    Inthink it was in 84 or so around skwentna a hunter shot s nine foot black bear with a 26" skull. B&c said no way to entry. So they tested it and it was a hybrid. Pictures are amazing. Jet black with the white chevron and huge claws! I wish they'd do that more often.
    I have seen black bears run Grizzlies off on a couple occasions and had black bears walk up on me while skinning a grizz. Bears are goofy. All of them.
    Saw a large black bear clean a grizzly's clock in Yellowstone when I was a kid. It was in the days of open landfills, and we used to drive down in the evening and watch them fight over the good stuff.
    Have to agree about the 'goofy' part. I have seen bears do strange things over the years. Saw bears almost daily when logging the Quinault Rservation, and in SE Ak.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I remember when I lived in Southeast, people telling me that black and brown bears never occupied the same islands.
    I've never heard that they can interbreed. Are there any photographic examples? It is known that polar and browns can interbreed, and heck, they crossed a mountain sheep with a domestic sheep at U of A. So maybe.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Pictures I saw where in an article in bear hunting magazine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Juli, nothing scientific here, but I imagine that since bears generally show proficiencies in certain skills than others of the same species in the same area (some bears are very good at catching fish, while others are not), it's a safe bet that some bears have honed the ability to find denning black bears and kill them. Blackbeard and brown bears den in similar areas, where their habitats overlap, and it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that this hapless black bear was the first meal of the season. Wouldn't that make an interesting diorama for a brown bear mount?
    yep!that would be cool!
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Wrangell and Petersburg have both for sure and all the mainland has. May be able to look up story in Haines paper,I saw the bear hide and short vid before it was taken. Here is info from zoo's and a few bears so think how it could happen with hundreds together.
    http://messybeast.com/genetics/hybrid-bears.htm
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Blackbeard and brown bears den in similar areas, where their habitats overlap
    Did he give up piracy for the bruinish life?

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    Yep, back in '98 I was floating a trib of the upper Kobuk and floating by an otherwise solemn gravel bar when a roaring fight broke out behind the willow line. We stopped the raft and checked it out from the downwind side several hundred yards downstream. A semi-large blackie had treed a 2-3 y/o griz and was shaking the tree and bawling at the juvi-griz like mad. Ripping and shredding that spruce tree like a mad man. That black bear was insanely upset. Man what a scene. About 1/2-mile downstream we found a smaller black bear dead with its entrails spread out along the river and its face chewed on pretty badly. I surmised the blackie had been killed by another bear...quite possibly a griz...but could have been a larger territorial male black bear i reckon. Larger bear tracks near the kill scene with 3" claws from tip to pad, so my guess was a griz. Things happen more often than our studies highlight. I've thought a lot about that over the years, and nothing bears do surprises me as much anymore.

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