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Thread: How small is too small.

  1. #1
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    Default How small is too small.

    Let me establish that I have no hunting experience and was trying my hand at black bear hunting in unit 7. I am hunting to fill the freezer and have no interest in mounts or rugs at this stage in the game.

    I read the regs a dozen times and studied enough to feel I was ready to do this. The regs say that you can't shoot a 1st year black bear. How do you tell what that is. Will it still be with mama?

    I have been hunting for quite a while and had not seen anything yet. To the point my wife was starting to tell me I had been gone enough. Well, this morning I shot a black bear at a little over 100 yards. It looked to me (remember I have no experience to draw from) to be an average size black bear. I saw no other bears around and actually took a second to look at it before shooting it. Well it was a clean lung / heart shot and it fell without a step.

    When I got to it, it was smaller than I thought it was. I'm pretty sure it's beg enough but I was starting to worry. I was hoping you guys could tell me how small is too small?

    5', 4' ? Where can you tell if it's a 1st year or not.

    I hate for this to be my first post here and my first harvest, but I intend to eat it none the less.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your first harvest, Nube. It sounds like you studied and worked for it, and eventually connected. That's great!

    As for size, a first year bear will be very small, and will almost certainly be with its mother. If there was no sow present, you're probably fine. A second year bear will be well under 5', and I'm not sure that they'd even be 4' - someone with more experience can chime in here. I have a friend who took one last year that had quarters that were very small - very small - but it was legal and very tasty. You did the right thing by salvaging it, now enjoy it. You're probably fine legally and this will give you something to judge against when you go out again this fall.

  3. #3

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    Ground shrinkage gets a lot of guys. Congrats on your first kill.

    I've seen some tourists with some really small bears.. And they didn't get cited. You should be fine.

  4. #4
    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    I shot a small blackie this year that squared 5'6", fish and game pulled the tooth and told me it was a 3 year old.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Bears are about as hard to judge as anything out there.You always know when you see a big bear but untill you have seen alot of bears its hard judging.Get its tooth pulled and find out and learn from it. Small ones eat good and you can make a nice pillow case cover with the hide. I have taken a 125# live weight that was three.
    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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    If it's breath smells like milk you are in trouble

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    If it's breath smells like milk you are in trouble
    So what does bear milk smell like?

    I think you are fine as long as it is not with its mother.

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    Got fat? Then you know you have done fine, seeing as it is that you wanna eat it.

    A nice ammount of fat will make it a great tasteing feed.

    I like small Black Bears for eating, though its been awhile and my last two were full grown, I wouldnt pass up a small single Black, as long as he was round and soft looking

    BlackBear is the only meat that tastes BETTER than Caribou........and I never tire of Caribou

    Sometimes a Bear dosent get that fat when they are young and learning how to get by without mama, but I just let 'em alone. You want a nice round "ball" when they are walking away or a healthy looking guy seeing him from the side, you dont want to see ribs or a sucked in gut and shoot.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  9. #9
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    At 2 years of age they are normally 4-4.5 feet squared. If mom is around they are too young too shoot. Sounds like you are good to go and made a nice shot at that, good job!!!
    http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o...0junk/reag.jpg

    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

    Before taking any of my advice for granted on here research the legal ramifications thoroughly I am not the Troopers nor am I the Judge that will be presiding over your case/hearing. Please read the hunting and sportfishing regulations and feel free to interpret their meaning on your own.

  10. #10
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Congrats Nube!

    Ya did just fine - bears are really a challenge to size up.
    About 15 yrs ago a group of 7 of us went to Manitoba, Ca. for fall black bears. One chap was determined to take a nice one with his bow - sat first night and video taped several over bait - showed us back at outfitters house the video - one walked in and the outfitter and I looked at ea other with that "Oh my God" look - this one was HUGE - easily well over 500 lbs - a real monster!
    We told Shaun next night to shoot this one for sure. Well, it came in and fed - he watched it come & go twice - kept calm, readied his bow and here it came a third trip ( all on video again ) he made a great dbl lung shot - bear died 50 yards away! Warhoop on tape - he was pumped! Called guide on radio - when they went to get it a 125 lb bear lay there!
    Yep, in that amount of time he mistook that young bear for the huge one he had watched 2 days in a row and had tons of video on!!!
    So, it just goes to show how tough it is to judge them.
    You did very good - clean kill - be proud!

  11. #11
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    Congrats on the first bear! Two years ago my brother took a bear that turned out as 4'10". Of course it was in our spare tent we use for equipment, trying hard to turn it into shreads so he claimed self defense of the tent. Another friend did exactly what you did, with the same result, small bear we named Booboo

  12. #12
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Small Bear

    Years ago I guided a Wyoming guide for Sheep and Moose.
    While spending all these nights in the tent we told stories.
    His best, the time this New Yorker came out for a spring Black Bear hunt. As was his custom, he had bought this old mare and walked her in some distance then killed the horse.
    Days went by and finally the last night came. This small Bear came in. So, to stay 100 % he told hid Dude to shoot it. Well, upon getting close to the Bear, the hunter exclaimed he's seen Labrador's bigger than that.
    The guide tried his best to make him feel good about this Bear.
    First, it was how shiny his coat was. Next, look at those claws. Finally he roped it and said "you shot it, you drag it "
    Well, that did it. "You know that's one big Bear " the hunter said.
    So, it all depends how you word stuff!!!

  13. #13

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    Congrats on your first bear. They are really hard to judge unless you have seen a ton of them. If momma was not around...then you are good. Enjoy the tasty meat and get another one for a pair of slippers.
    "Shoot straight and keep your powder dry"

  14. #14
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    "Ground shrinkage" is a great turn of phrase. I read a story once about a guy who tore into camp shouting about the monster bear he'd shot - rousing his buddies to come help him with the huge black bear. When they found a gangly 125 - lb bruin on the ground, he insisted it wasn't the bear he'd shot. The one in his scope was a giant.

    The June cubs I've seen are about the size of a bulldog, and never far from mom.

    I'm not a bear hunter, but your description sounds like you're fine by the law.

  15. #15
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 Mauser View Post
    "Ground shrinkage" is a great turn of phrase. I read a story once about a guy who tore into camp shouting about the monster bear he'd shot - rousing his buddies to come help him with the huge black bear. When they found a gangly 125 - lb bruin on the ground, he insisted it wasn't the bear he'd shot. The one in his scope was a giant.

    The June cubs I've seen are about the size of a bulldog, and never far from mom.

    I'm not a bear hunter, but your description sounds like you're fine by the law.
    LOL i was with a guy that went after a huge bear once..... he went up the hill shot it three times... and carried it down buy the scruff of the neck. the ole boy was 6'5" over 300 lbs and that huge spring bear was maybe 75 lbs...

    first ones are often small but they are the ones you will remember the longest! congrats on making it happen! those young ones make GREAT HAM!!! yummy!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  16. #16
    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Nube you got to change your screen name now. Can't have an AK bear, work that hard and still be a cherry.

  17. #17

    Default When

    the sheep horns have to be tilted up and angled back, or, whoever, shoots the bear has to set way in back of the animal to exaggerate the actual size. If it is the "experience" that really matters - how it looks (size), size-wise shouldn't matter.
    Joe (Ak)

  18. #18
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    Im wondering Wantj., how is it best to "pose" by a Bear and not try to exaggerate its size?
    Seems that sitting at its rear makes a person look smaller, but 99% of the photos I see are that way.

    maby this is the "True Trophy?"......couple slices of Fat Tenderloin with some Garlic and Pepparica......



    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  19. #19
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Now that smells good
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  20. #20
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Stranger,
    I think you are onto something!
    Nicely done!
    I just finished a deer roast, taters, carrots and a big soda!

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