Spring Brown Bear Hide Question
Last spring, I shot a beautiful 9+ ft. brownie near Dillingham on April 26th. During my quest for this Bear (it took a couple of trips and several tough snow shoe stalks) I have become very interested in learning about the life cycles of these magnificant creatures and how different individuals look. One question I have for you all, is the hair on my Bear is very uniform (thick) across its back (kind of short and almost like wool), light colored with no areas which look like rub marks to me . However, the hair on its legs are very long and dark colored. I have read a lot about the differences in hide quality from spring to fall. One issue with spring hides is that the Bear tends to rub its long hair off while sleeping in the den. Based on what I have described, is that the reason my Bear has short, light colored (very thick and uniformed) hair on its back with long haired dark colored legs or is there some other reason. Just curious!
Spring brown bears...they are all different. Those spring bears just seem to all be individuals. Some come out of the den completely rubbed with only "buffalo hair" remaining. Some emerg from dens without a hair rubbed off anywhere. IF their legs have short hair it is often due to traveling through crusty snow and physically breaking off the hairs after emerging from the den. Others rub while in the den. Like people, some bears are appparently "itchy" guys and rub and scratch while asleep. My largest client-hunter brown bear was a 10'6" monster with surprisingly long and lush dark unrubbed hair. And one time, against my urging, a client-hunter shot a 9'2" spring brown bear that was completely rubbed down to the "wool" or "buffalo hair" except for his feet!
I have also been in on bear kills that looked fine in the field, but came back from the tannery without much of the long guard hair. As explained to me, these bears were ready to shed the long guard hairs and it came out during the tanning or combing process. I think your bear rubbed while in the den, resulting in the "wool like" appearance of the body hair/pelt.
Congratulation on your brown bear kill. It sounds like you hunted hard and persistent, worked for it, and earned it. And regardless of the pelt condition, I believe you will remember the thrill of the hunt for the rest of your life.
So...you posed an interesting question in this thread, with spring finally here and many of us will be going out after spring bears. It should generate some discussion from hunters, guides, and taxidermists. I'm sure other forum members will offer up some interesting observations and opinions.
But....them spring bears are all different....