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Thread: Big Bear or Little Bear?

  1. #1
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    Default Big Bear or Little Bear?

    We had a big discussion in moose camp this weekend about what type of bear would you rather shoot. A big one or a little one. The answer seems obvious to some, big, right? But recent experiences have made me re-think that a bit.

    I was hunting with a buddy this spring for black bears. We shot 2 blackies. One big (maybe 400 pounds) and one little (150 pounds). Both had great coats and will make fine rugs. The little bear is missing a bunch of his skull (375 Ruger) but the big bear will make an impressive skull mount. The real difference is the taste. The little bear was like veal and the big bear not so much. Both quite good, but a night and day difference. I much prefer the little bear in the freezer than the big bear on the wall.

    Fast forward to this weekend. The same hunting buddy and I spotted a little brown bear in a legal area to shoot and took it. Maybe 200 pounds. The coat has some neat blond coloring and the skull on a griz is impressive. This bear has not seen a fish all year I am sure because it tastes quite good. Again, a nice addition to the freezer. Most of little brown bear is cured and smoked like an Easter ham right now (cooked to 170 deg for to be safe). From what I hear, brown bear meat is not always so good.

    So the debate goes on. Would you rather have the bear in your freezer on on the wall? I am thinking the freezer. Maybe one day I will be able to pick what bear to shoot because I will have so many choices and will see the need to be selective. Right now, if it does not have a cub, well....

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Berry fed fall bears, black or brown are good eating IMO. It only takes a week for them to get the fish out of their system. If they are on fish then add lots and lots of garlic to your sausage mix...just sayin'
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I guess when it comes to bears I am pretty indiscriminate. I will do my best to harvest whatever size bear I can get into range of. For black bears in the area I hunt moose I will happily take a sow which I hope goes further toward reducing the overall population. It sure would be nice to see some cow moose up there with a calf or two in tow by the time fall comes around. The last couple years I have not seen a single cow/calf combo up there by the time Sept comes around! My buddy has seen a BB up there that he described as "septic tank" in size and he is no cheechako. He watched it excavate 1/2 the mountain one day trying to root out a ground squirrel. I would love to get a shot at that monster as well. but in the mean time I will just concentrate on filling all the tags me and my buddies have for that area.

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    I have taken many black bears - all fall hunts and fat with berries - I will say the bigger they are the tougher they seem. My last bear was a med sized sow - I passed two really big bears as I was looking for a blond rug. What has amazed me over the years is the number of hunters that left the meat - only wanting a cape - Many hunts I brought home xtra T Loins and roasts...
    I view all the animals I decide to take as "trophies" to me, and I have no problem taking a smaller animal for good eating and am proud to do so. Too many people get caught up in trophy hunting and just because an animal is the biggest, or has the best rack etc does not make it OK to kill it - it's life is just as important to it as the lesser animals life is. We get caught up trying to justify our reasons to kill sometimes and the value of the meat gets pushed aside...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Honestly Smokey, I think that is more of a southern thing. I have found very few "rack" hunters up here. If given the chance many will shoot the biggest moose they find but there are very few that will pass a legal one in the field. Perhaps in regard to bears there are a lot of people who are just hunting for a big one and they will never eat it. They are also likely to only take one or two in a lifetime. The resource can certainly support that so I don't have a problem with it.

  6. #6

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    The bigger the better! Hunting spring bears, we pick the biggest. Sometimes don't shoot dozens of 5' to 5 1/2' bears hoping that in a few years they will be bigger. In the fall, bears are bears. Doesn't matter on the size. Big grizz/little grizz, big black/little black!

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    Well, you are preachin to the choir. I am a small bear man now. At least for black bears for eating purposes. Like you I have harvested large bears and small bears and I like the small bears for eating. I am not sure if its the taste or that they are easier to pack which is the best part. I have no problem with trophy hunters, but when I am out looking for bear meat I like a nice small one. I call them suitcase bears cause you can pack the hide, skull and all the meat in one nice pack. Veal on the hoof!
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

  8. #8

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    When opportunity knocks......never pass up a legal bear.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Honestly Smokey, I think that is more of a southern thing. I have found very few "rack" hunters up here. If given the chance many will shoot the biggest moose they find but there are very few that will pass a legal one in the field. Perhaps in regard to bears there are a lot of people who are just hunting for a big one and they will never eat it. They are also likely to only take one or two in a lifetime. The resource can certainly support that so I don't have a problem with it.
    I have no problem with trophy hunters as long as the meat is respected and given to someone that could use it vs discarding it...
    I have passed several critters hoping for a "trophy" and some times went home without one - but I never killed something and wasted the meat if it was edible...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    It only takes a week for them to get the fish out of their system.
    That's good to know. I've often wondered how long the fishy taste lingers.

  11. #11

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    For the majority of my hunts, I don't discriminate. If I draw a Kodiak tag, well then I'm trophy hunting and I'll go for a big one. When I bowhunted brown bears in South East, I wanted to just get one with the bow, so I took the first opportunity I had. I'd really like to get a big rug and skull eventually, but that'll be a different challenge then just getting one on regular hunts. That being said, I'm also the type of guy that if a 6 footer and 7&1/2 footer are hanging out with each other, the 6 footer is more likely to survive the ordeal.

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    Member Bsj425's Avatar
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    How about just any bear? Everytime I have gone out for bear I have gotten skunked at this point I would be happy with anything that resembles a bear

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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    I'm coming up week after next with an unused Blk Bear tag from May. Wife and I are going to be hiking some of the trails on the Kenai. Any Blk Bear without cubs, and not a really young bear itself, is going to be in serious trouble if I get within shooting distance. The only bears I saw in the spring were either in an unaccessible (for me) or un-huntable area (saw one from Skilak Loop Rd - would have been easy shot/haul).

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Redlander, double check to make sure that tag is still good. As a resident, my tag expired on 30 June.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redlander View Post
    I'm coming up week after next with an unused Blk Bear tag from May. Wife and I are going to be hiking some of the trails on the Kenai. Any Blk Bear without cubs, and not a really young bear itself, is going to be in serious trouble if I get within shooting distance. The only bears I saw in the spring were either in an unaccessible (for me) or un-huntable area (saw one from Skilak Loop Rd - would have been easy shot/haul).
    Redlander, I hate to be the bearer of bad news (no pun intended) but your May tag probably expired in June.

  16. #16
    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Got my license out, and called the Licensing Dept. Both my out-of-state license, $85 + $225 tag, and the nice lady on the phone say "Expires December 31, 2010".

  17. #17
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    yeah I think it is different for non residents because they actually purchase a tag as to where we just go pick up a harvest ticket

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