HuntStand Hunting App
Judging bears
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
bghunter 25-Jan-20
Shug 25-Jan-20
bghunter 25-Jan-20
RT 25-Jan-20
Shug 25-Jan-20
BIG BEAR 25-Jan-20
Shug 25-Jan-20
BIG BEAR 25-Jan-20
Jaquomo 25-Jan-20
RT 25-Jan-20
Huntcell 25-Jan-20
Nick Muche 25-Jan-20
DanaC 25-Jan-20
JL 25-Jan-20
Buffalo1 25-Jan-20
bghunter 25-Jan-20
Salagi 25-Jan-20
BIG BEAR 25-Jan-20
Mike Ukrainetz 26-Jan-20
svrelk 26-Jan-20
svrelk 26-Jan-20
Mike Ukrainetz 26-Jan-20
svrelk 26-Jan-20
Mike Ukrainetz 26-Jan-20
SBH 26-Jan-20
Grey Ghost 26-Jan-20
svrelk 26-Jan-20
TREESTANDWOLF 26-Jan-20
svrelk 26-Jan-20
Ambush 26-Jan-20
WV Mountaineer 26-Jan-20
Ace 26-Jan-20
Tradmike 26-Jan-20
KleinVictor 26-Jan-20
map1 26-Jan-20
JL 27-Jan-20
Rob Nye 27-Jan-20
Ambush 27-Jan-20
Rob Nye 27-Jan-20
APauls 27-Jan-20
Rob Nye 27-Jan-20
Rob Nye 27-Jan-20
Shiras42 27-Jan-20
Shiras42 27-Jan-20
Ambush 27-Jan-20
Nick Muche 27-Jan-20
JL 27-Jan-20
Shug 27-Jan-20
woodguy65 28-Jan-20
JL 28-Jan-20
Shiras42 28-Jan-20
Fuzzy 28-Jan-20
newfi1946moose 28-Jan-20
svrelk 28-Jan-20
Rob Nye 28-Jan-20
Shiras42 28-Jan-20
Bou'bound 28-Jan-20
Rob Nye 28-Jan-20
Winklman 28-Jan-20
rattling_junkie 29-Jan-20
Mike Ukrainetz 29-Jan-20
Fuzzy 29-Jan-20
Rob Nye 29-Jan-20
Rob Nye 29-Jan-20
Rob Nye 29-Jan-20
JL 29-Jan-20
svrelk 30-Jan-20
Mike Ukrainetz 30-Jan-20
Matt 31-Jan-20
Fuzzy 31-Jan-20
SBH 31-Jan-20
arlone 31-Jan-20
Fuzzy 31-Jan-20
Ambush 31-Jan-20
Rob Nye 31-Jan-20
Fuzzy 03-Feb-20
Mike Ukrainetz 03-Feb-20
Shrewski 03-Feb-20
Nick Muche 03-Feb-20
welka 05-Feb-20
Rob Nye 06-Feb-20
Rob Nye 06-Feb-20
dnovo 06-Feb-20
welka 06-Feb-20
Teeton 08-Feb-20
rattling_junkie 08-Feb-20
Tobpitbull 09-Feb-20
Mike Ukrainetz 09-Feb-20
APauls 10-Feb-20
Charlie Rehor 10-Feb-20
Ace 10-Feb-20
carcus 11-Feb-20
bghunter 11-Feb-20
Shiras42 11-Feb-20
Hancock West 12-Feb-20
Rob Nye 12-Feb-20
flip 25-Feb-20
Mike Ukrainetz 28-Feb-20
Drop Tine 29-Feb-20
Mr.C 04-Mar-20
Shug 04-Mar-20
Jerry Leblanc 09-Mar-20
From: bghunter
25-Jan-20
Well since I drew my WI bear tag, looking for some suggestions on reading material etc for judging black bears.

Hunted them once before and passed small bears. Hoping to take a nice one as this I think will be my only bear hunt.

From: Shug
25-Jan-20
I think the biggest reason for miss- judging bears is because they weren’t judged in the first place. ( or any other animal) One good thing about baiting is “it should” give you enough time to look over the bear.

Long wide and tall make the biggest bears so have something that allows you to know how long and tall the bear is.

A fat bear is just that fat. It doesn’t mean big you can have a young boar or old sow that have a low hanging belly and at first glance without sizing the bear up be fooled...

My tip I guess is take your time size up the bear so you’re not surprised when you walk up on it... no matter the size you’re actually looking for. Then all all the other stuff regularly said... big space between ears large front end etc etc...

Good luck

From: bghunter
25-Jan-20
When you say large front end are you talking big chest?

From: RT
25-Jan-20
The small ears relative to the head size is reliable.

Other basics, study shot placement carefully, the hide soaks up a lot of blood, fat plugs the holes, and do not cut yourself while working on the animal. Cook well done.

I think black bear meat is among the best.

From: Shug
25-Jan-20

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
BG I’m speaking of size and shape of legs shoulders and neck area...

From: BIG BEAR
25-Jan-20
You guys already had your drawing for 2020 bear ?? Do you have a spring hunt or is that for the fall ?? Our drawing isn’t until May/June for the fall hunt. Good luck !!!!

From: Shug
25-Jan-20

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
I think these two pics are a great example of the difference / similarities between a good bear and great bear. Both appear roughly the same build... but little differences jump out when looked at side by side showing the bottom bear is the bigger one.

From: BIG BEAR
25-Jan-20
They’re both big.....:-)

From: Jaquomo
25-Jan-20
My three categories are small, average, and Holy Crap!

From: RT
25-Jan-20
Arrow en route on the bears shown for sure.

From: Huntcell
25-Jan-20
Google Bowsite sponsor Mike’s Outfitting, he usually has an annual bear thread and covers how to judge black bears and how to use log length and marked post at the bait site.

His clients have Killed an impressive amount of big bears over the years.

From: Nick Muche
25-Jan-20
One of the hardest animals out there to judge. I’ve taken a handful of really nice, 6’6”+ boars that have missed P&Y. So this past season I made a plan to judge bears in my area to be 7’ or better. The two 7’+ bears I took were both P&Y. Bears skull size in relation to age and body size vary drastically across their range. Good luck with your WI permit!

From: DanaC
25-Jan-20
Watch some bear videos on youtube.

From: JL
25-Jan-20
Bigger ones: Small ears Beady eyes Crease down the forehead Saggy belly Small looking butt Squatty legs Slight to noticeable waddle Walks in like he owns the place

Smaller ones: Larger ears for the head size No head crease A face/muzzle like a German Shepard Definitive legs No belly sag Lean looking Can be nervous when approaching, especially if bigger bears are around

Google pics and vids of bears and study them

From: Buffalo1
25-Jan-20
Good pointers JL

From: bghunter
25-Jan-20
Thanks for all the advice. I have plenty of time to research and follow the great pointers here.

Big bear, Yes draw is for fall season,which is only season. WI has. It usually takes about 7 years give or take to draw.

From: Salagi
25-Jan-20

Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Salagi's embedded Photo
Different angle.
Salagi's embedded Photo
Different angle.
I realize these are not P&Y bears, but maybe some of you experts can give us an idea of the size. Never mind the date stamp, these were last fall in Arkansas.

From: BIG BEAR
25-Jan-20
I’m no expert.... But that one who’s back is above the top of the barrel is a big one..... the others not so much.....

Anyways..... good luck Shawn !!!!

26-Jan-20
Shoulder height and body length are everything to judging a big male bear. Especially for a beginner bear hunter. Everything else is subjective and confusing and can lead you to killing a big sow! I promise you.

For us in Alberta a big boar will be 34 inches high at the shoulder and 5 feet from nose to tail. From a ground blind a stake 34 inches tall to show shoulder height works best. From a tree stand a log cut 5 ft long on the ground works best. No sow will ever reach those measurements or if she looks close she will appear to be fat, a male bear who is close to those measurements will be long and lean. He will only fill out and appear fat after he reaches or exceeds those 2 measurements. (The 5 ft log is compared to a bear standing on all fours, head in a normal position, nose to butt.)

Thanks for the shoutout huntcell!

From: svrelk
26-Jan-20

svrelk's embedded Photo
We call him, "Marshmallow."
svrelk's embedded Photo
We call him, "Marshmallow."
So ..... Size this one for me...

From: svrelk
26-Jan-20

svrelk's embedded Photo
Marshmallow
svrelk's embedded Photo
Marshmallow
Same bear previous year.

26-Jan-20
Looks like a shooter to me!

From: svrelk
26-Jan-20
Mike, for certain.... Just curious if y'all think he will break 7'? Our area gets a lot of pressure and a bear of this caliber is rare...

26-Jan-20
Svrelk, great question and this is where it gets tricky and subjective and area specific, much easier with shoulder height and body length to tell sows and boars apart and a minimum 300+ lb boar but it gets really tough to judge say a 320 lb boar and a 400 lb boar apart. Same with hide size, is he 6 ft 8 inches or 7 ft 4 in? It depends so much on the genetics of the area and the individual bear. Since it says a May, June pic in our area absolutely that bear would be a 7+ ft square hide bear (hide measured tip of nose to tip of tail and tip of claw to tip of claw across the front paws, the average of those 2 measurements, skull and paws taken out) because a 7 ft+ bear for us is common. Almost all of our 300+ lb, 19+ inch skull bears will be 7 ft, mostly because of long legs and long bodies. In other areas a 7+ ft bear is super rare even on bears with 20 inch skulls and well over 300 lbs.

If those pics were a bear in our area he looks ridiculously fat, like a 450 lb bear or more but not big framed, he doesn’t look right for one of our bears. I would want to see him standing on all fours compared to the barrel, a 34 inch stake or a log on the ground. There is a small chance he/she is a huge sow. 34 inch shoulder height or a 5 ft log would sort that out quick though. We killed one sow that weighed 300 lbs in the spring, squared 6 ft 10 inches, 18 3/4 skull and had a 50 inch chest girth so as they say there are exceptions to every rule. For how fat the bear is it doesn’t dwarf the barrel which is strange.

From: SBH
26-Jan-20
Jim- we should know soon. lance is gonna kill marshmallow in a few months and I’m gonna be there to run the tape with you!

From: Grey Ghost
26-Jan-20
The small ears and seemingly narrow width between the eyes, relative to their head size, is what I notice most on the bigger ones. Shugs pics demonstrate what I'm talking about, well.

Matt

From: svrelk
26-Jan-20
I'm certain Marsh is a boar, somewhere I have pics of him courting/breeding a known sow.... I need to sort thru our pics... I killed a chocolate boar off this bait that measured 6' 3"... Weighed in around 280 to 3 I believe... Let me dig a little

26-Jan-20
Like others have said, I’m no expert either but two things really helped me.

One was to look up and follow Mikes Outfitting like others have said. When you pull up the threads on Mike, look at all the photos and really study them. Look them over really good. The “ Crib” that they construct at the bait puts a lot into perspective.

The other thing is the way a big boar acts. He sways back and forth when he walks, not so much one foot in front of the other.

Last year, I was pretty surprised when I hunted Idaho and the outfitter said a 300lb Bear was a very good bear. After hunting New Brunswick 6 times, and seeing some very big bears, that was a bit of a surprise. Why, I’m not sure, but they are smaller.

Have a blast, good luck to you.

From: svrelk
26-Jan-20

svrelk's embedded Photo
svrelk's embedded Photo
svrelk's embedded Photo
svrelk's embedded Photo
svrelk's embedded Photo
svrelk's embedded Photo
Another couple pics of Marsh

From: Ambush
26-Jan-20
When I judge bears, I pretty much find them all guilty.

We don’t bait in BC so we have to rely on just the physical cues on the particular bear. And it’s easy to get fooled sometimes, both ways. Standing broadside is a good first look, but a face on is important too, especially if he’s walking right at you. We look for a long thick neck, big shoulders, especially thick wrists and turned in paws. More shoulder than ass is a good sign. But even our really big spring bears don’t go much over three hundred pounds. We also have short muzzled bears in the north. The width is good but we seem to be missing an inch on length. Lots of nineteens but twenty is rare.

The opportunity to compare a lot of bears at a bait site would be very educational and most new hunters would be wise to leave the bow in camp for a couple days, if they really want a well above average bear.

26-Jan-20
Good advice on this thread

From: Ace
26-Jan-20
All great points offered here so far. Remember that you can’t kill a 400 pound bear if the biggest bear on the bait is 250. Sounds obvious, BUT if a bear comes in and has not 1 care in the world, doesn’t even act as if he cares what other bears come to the bait, then he’s probably the dominant bear on that bait. If you pass on him, it’s unlikely you’ll see one bigger. Of course during the rut (June where I hunt) a traveling boar might happen by, but the logic is sound. The way Mike U does it is as close to perfect as I have ever heard about, the man is a bear whisperer.

Multiple baits and some cameras can give you some clues as to what’s around. Smaller (sub dominant) bears on the bait will be nervous and looking around a lot. They may grab a bite and run off to eat it. Often coming back time and again.

Also, decide what big means to you. Is it weight or skull size? And try to be realistic, holding out for a 400 pounder where they seldom occur makes little sense if you really want to tag a bear. Some places a 250 pound spring boar has an 18” skull, other places a 400 pound plus fattie has a small head. Learn what’s realistic in your area.

Remember too, the big one often come in late. When a small bear on the bait bolts, get ready.

I’d suggest that you watch tons of videos. As you get a feel for size decide “that one is too small, that one is big enough”. Then when you’re hunting the decision will be easier, take a high percentage shot and kill a bear that you’ll be happy with. Sometimes an interesting color bear, or one with a nice blaze might come along and tempt you. Shoot what makes you happy, and be happy with what you shoot. Despite what some think, bears on bait is not a guaranteed hunt.

Get the meat chilled down quick, get the hide off, especially if it’s warm. The meat is great, one Of my favorites.

Take a lot of pics, and HAVE FUN!

From: Tradmike
26-Jan-20
Get Richard P Smith book on hunting bears. Big bears have small looking ears that hang off to the side. Also visualize a triangle with straight lines from nose to eats and a line between the ears. If these lines appear to be equal you are looking at a mature bear.

From: KleinVictor
26-Jan-20
I'm more accustomed to smaller game, honestly. These bears here are quite impressive, scary stuff.

From: map1
26-Jan-20
A 34 inch stake next to barrel is great advice. If Wisconsin doesn’t allow barrels put a stake up or at least mark a nearby tree. This is the shoulder height of a really big bear. Been on a few outfitted hunts where a bear shows up and knocks barrel over so now you have no point of reference so I myself would create a marker.

From: JL
27-Jan-20

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
The stake is a good idea if you are in a stand/blind. If you're spot and stalk you'll need to be able to determine size from looks and maybe behavior. IMO studying pics and vids of different size bears helps immensely whether staking or stalking. I would also suggest to study a pic of where the vitals are located. I did that with both ideas and it helped alot with the shots. The only issue I had with one was in a lower light situation and trying to verify where the front leg was on a broadside ML shot. The bear was hairy and standing in some ferns. I was wanting to put the shot tight behind the shoulder. I didn't want to guess the approx area and risk wounding the bear so I waited a bit to verify where the front leg came down from the body.

From: Rob Nye
27-Jan-20

From: Ambush
27-Jan-20
I find about ninety percent of those bear vital illustrations quite inaccurate. Most showing the lungs much smaller and not far enough back. IMO, if it’s a bow hunt, stay safely away from that big boned front leg. Or wait for the quartering away shot.

I’ve killed a few bears.

From: Rob Nye
27-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Have always said that if you are wondering if it is huge it likely is not. Clients and friends who have killed giant bears all reported that the instant they saw the bear they definitely knew it was a jumbo - no question.

From: APauls
27-Jan-20
^^^^^^This. The age old bear judging adage on barrels, is if you could toss the bear inside the barrel it is small, if it looks like you'd have to ram him in there but could, the bear is OK to good, if the bear dwarfs the barrel you shoot. Just make sure you're hunting over full size barrels, not one of these 35 gallon deals some guys use! lol.

From: Rob Nye
27-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo

From: Rob Nye
27-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo

From: Shiras42
27-Jan-20
JL, I hear some conflicting information on the shot placement chart you posted above. Of course most have heard the "middle of the middle" which I think is hogwash, but I do think the vitals and heart are further back on a bear than what those pictures depict.

I would like to hear Mike, Rob or any other pros weigh in on that.

From: Shiras42
27-Jan-20

Shiras42's embedded Photo
Shiras42's embedded Photo

From: Ambush
27-Jan-20
If you are forward of the diaphragm, you are where life lives. If you hit an arm or shoulder attempting to “tuck it in tight” you will almost certainly not be skinning that bear.

If you are being guided, just get the guy to put an X on a picture for you. They don’t like to see wounded bears and unhappy clients.

From: Nick Muche
27-Jan-20
Why is the "middle of the middle" considered to be "hogwash" when it certainly works very, very well?

From: JL
27-Jan-20
Shiras....those diagrams are from the IBEP and NBEF. I suppose they could be subjective to the shooter. IMO...the vitals tended to be a touch higher and a touch further forward if comparing to a deer. The shoulder is the major obstacle ya have to work around if you're trying to place an arrow. All based on my limited experience studying and shooting them.

From: Shug
27-Jan-20

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Sometimes you don’t have to judge and just shoot.... all New Jersey bears...

From: woodguy65
28-Jan-20
Those Jersey bears gets so fat they don’t really look like bears.

From: JL
28-Jan-20
I have seen this vid before. These are well fed, fat (obese) bears. Even the sow w/cubs is fat. The boars are 700+ and 800lbs.

From: Shiras42
28-Jan-20
Nick, I am not saying that it won't kill a bear and not even that it would be vitals, but if your shot is off a little you are in guts. Tell me I am wrong if I am because I know you have killed a lot more bears than I have. :)

From: Fuzzy
28-Jan-20

Fuzzy's embedded Photo
Fuzzy's embedded Photo
remember it goes both ways.....

28-Jan-20
The second black bear I had the opportunity (spring) was a monster and you knew it when it appeared on the bait...unable to weigh it as was way over the 400# scales in camp. I like using the 'ears' and height w/relation to a barrel.

From: svrelk
28-Jan-20
12 bears in 2 years, all middle of the middle... Dead.... We'll stick with it..

28-Jan-20
I am the worst at this, they all look big to me when I am in stand. LOL. Hopefully I can change that this year.

From: Rob Nye
28-Jan-20
As the originator of the hogwash on Bowsite bear forums I will congratulate srvelk on your success. I have proven MOTM works hundreds of times to clients - many of whom thought it was a dumb idea but did what their guide told them - and it never took long to find their very dead bears.

From: Shiras42
28-Jan-20
Hogwash recanted. ;)

I am always open for learning and if guys with your experience tell me it works, then I'm buying what your selling.

From: Bou'bound
28-Jan-20
Rob what do you think about the over the hip shot that some advocated for here 10-15 years ago.

From: Rob Nye
28-Jan-20
Boubound; The OTH advocate you referred to was a highly successful guide and I have no doubt that a sharp broadhead travelling through several of the internal organs as well as puncturing the daphragm would be deadly. But I see a high risk of spine shots and while often effective they are far from ideal. Our goal is to kill quickly and cleanly and broadside or QA shots give an archer the best chance to do that IMO.

From: Winklman
28-Jan-20
if you have a 55 gal drum on end and the bear walks by and its back is above the second ring,SHOOT

29-Jan-20
^^^^DO NOT DO THAT!!! I took that advice on my first ever bear, and I was shocked at how small it was. A bear whose back is above the second ring of the barrel will be lucky to be over 150 lbs. When a barrel is standing upright I want the back to be above the barrel. If you are looking for a good representative then the back can be just below.

29-Jan-20

Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
Little ears on the side of the head? Not really. Crease in the forehead, nope. But it’s a 440 lb, 7 ft 6 in, 20 3/4 skull bear. Just an inch or two higher than the 34 inch white topped post, all you need to know...
Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
Little ears on the side of the head? Not really. Crease in the forehead, nope. But it’s a 440 lb, 7 ft 6 in, 20 3/4 skull bear. Just an inch or two higher than the 34 inch white topped post, all you need to know...
Barrels can be different heights, 32 to 36 inches. For us 34 is the absolute sweet spot, no sow will ever be as tall as that, 32 inch max for her. Only a big 300+ lb bear, 18 3/4+ skull, 6 ft 8 in square or better hide will be 34 inches to the shoulder. A giant may be no taller but just more filled out.

From: Fuzzy
29-Jan-20
I'm learning lots on this thread, thanks everyone!

From: Rob Nye
29-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Average bear.

From: Rob Nye
29-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Big bear.

From: Rob Nye
29-Jan-20

Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Rob Nye's embedded Photo
Like Mike said there are exceptions when judging but this one exhibits the classic smallish ears, noggin crease and beefy shoulders.

From: JL
29-Jan-20
^that one has a real nice coat.

From: svrelk
30-Jan-20
I got quit looking at this thread, I'm smack middle of cat season and I'm getting bear fever!

30-Jan-20

Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
32 inch tall barrel, a big sow will look just like this 305 lb boar but without the shoulder height or body length of this guy. Not a giant just a good solid bear that most guys would not want to pass
Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
32 inch tall barrel, a big sow will look just like this 305 lb boar but without the shoulder height or body length of this guy. Not a giant just a good solid bear that most guys would not want to pass
To me the greatest challenge in judging bears over bait is telling the difference between a big, fat 250 lb mature sow and a big enough 250-300 lb solid Pope and Young boar. If you go by subjective things like small ears, a crease in the head, turned in toes, waddle when they walk etc and a big ole sow comes walking in and all the other bears clear out you’ll probably kill her. Go by objective measurements like a 34 inch tall post or a 5 ft long log and you’ll never make that mistake!

From: Matt
31-Jan-20
Rob Nye, could you post a pic of shot placement on the middle of the middle on a broadside bear? Thx

From: Fuzzy
31-Jan-20

From: SBH
31-Jan-20
Know your area and know what is "big" for your area. I think that's key. Otherwise you may be hunting a bear that doesn't exist OR you will shoot a smaller one when you have bigger bears around. Its easy to mess up on a 50/50 bear but when you see a BIG one....you know. They are just different in every way.

From: arlone
31-Jan-20
I think you have to realize what kind of bears are in your area, just like "giant bucks", you have to have "giant bears" to hunt in order to kill a giant. I think Mike and Rob have more "big" bears than Wisconsin? There are big ones, but I would think not as many? Lots of good advice and good luck this fall. Guess I'd put out a camera at each bait and try to see what's coming in and you can kind of "pre-judge" by the photos.

From: Fuzzy
31-Jan-20

Fuzzy's embedded Photo
Fuzzy's embedded Photo
is this "MOM?

From: Ambush
31-Jan-20
Fuzzy, for me, that's perfect shot placement. I also use a 1 1/2" three blade mechanical.

I should add that I've only ever shot bears from the ground. If I was up a tree, I might aim a bit higher.

From: Rob Nye
31-Jan-20
Fuzzy; good location. You can still hit 2-3” further back and same result: the bear will go down quick.

From: Fuzzy
03-Feb-20
I've only ever shot one (small) bear with bow, and the spot I show was my aiming point, my actual shot was (as Rob Nye says) about 2" further back . (which is "more" on a <5 foot bear than it is on a >6' bear ) my bear barely made it out of sight (in heavy cover. My son on the same trip, shot a similar bear in the same spot with similiar results. Two bears isn't "experience" but I like to think it's "supporting data".

03-Feb-20
Just to add another thing to this thread, a big mechanical head is the absolute best way to kill a bear over bait! Shoot the bear from behind the front leg all the way to the back leg staying mid body top to bottom, and it’s dead within 100, maybe 200 yds. And dead within minutes usually not hours. This is from shooting hundreds of bears with fixed and mechanical heads. A bear shot in the guts with a fixed blade head is a 50/50 recovery in our jungly woods without a dog assist. Big mechanicals in the guts are 100% recovery.

And I’m not a total mechanical head fan! I shoot fixed blade heads for my fall hunting because I feel they are more diverse for a range of shot opportunities and hunting conditions on different sized animals.

From: Shrewski
03-Feb-20
I did not read all the replies.

Until you look at a lot of bears they all look big. If you have a 55 gal drum that is great. A big bear will not fit at all in a 55 gal drum so picture that. They will also have a back taller than the barrel standing on end.

From: Nick Muche
03-Feb-20
I've watched bears shot with a Rage Extreme die within feet of arrow impact. Incredible devastation on bears. Every bear I've shot or seen shot with a mechanical has died far quicker and closer than the ones I've shot with a fixed head. Of the 11 bears I've taken with a fixed head, not a single one has died in sight. It's very thick where I hunt bears and they all die within sight when shot with a Mech.

From: welka
05-Feb-20
Rob - Hope all is well. I know I have asked you this before (probably several times!), but might be good for all to hear what MOTM means (i.e nose to tail or leg to leg). Thanks

From: Rob Nye
06-Feb-20
welka; life is good but wish it was April. Even though SK is experiencing an amazingly easy winter I am ready to get on the bear trails! The answer is leg to leg center of the trunk of the body. Perfect shot is illustrated in Fuzzy’s post above but a few inches back or forward from that spot still quickly deadly. MOTM takes advantage of margin for error and the error factor goes up with bears, especially with inexperienced hunters. Most have a tendency to shoot high - especially from stands - and crowd the front end which is usually all bad.

From: Rob Nye
06-Feb-20
PS agree with Mike and others on mechanicals black bears have wimpy little ribs like pencils and a big hole is ideal. But Super Sharp is most important.

From: dnovo
06-Feb-20
I’ve killed 3 bears with the longbow. First one was your average 150-170# bear on the last night of my 2nd hunt in Manitoba. The 2nd one was about the same size killed spot and stalk at 8 yards in Alaska. The 3rd one was about 5 years ago in Ontario. I told my guide I wasn’t going to shoot another average bear. I was ok with going home with my tag. The first 2 nights I didn’t see anything. I moved to another stand and saw 5 or 6 bears each evening about 125 to 150 #. Then they started acting skittish. When this last one walked in there was no hesitation in deciding whether or not to shoot. This was an “Oh S**t let me grab my bow” moment. That’s how you know whether he’s big enough. Mine weighed 410# and scored 19 1/2”.

From: welka
06-Feb-20
Thanks Rob. Love the recommendation on mechanicals. Wish it were the same for elk!

From: Teeton
08-Feb-20

Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
Teeton's embedded Photo
Here's a couple of large NE PA bear. These are screen shots off my phone of pics that were sent to me.

08-Feb-20
Top one is an absolute bruiser. That bottom one looks short and fat with a taper from the shoulder to hind leg. Makes me think sow, but the head looks blocky.

09-Feb-20
Listen to your guide. He will tell you best thing you can do.

09-Feb-20
And it’s not that a fixed blade head can’t kill one perfectly fine too. It’s just that the mechanical gives you more margin for error in the large gut section. And you can get your mechanical head all set up perfect hanging beside you, not have the dang thing flop open all the time like they do on a spot and stalk hunt!

From: APauls
10-Feb-20
Shoot it like it's a whitetail and you're fine. Shoot it a little back of how you'd shoot a whitetail and you're still fine. There's just no reason to hug the shoulder on a bear.

10-Feb-20

Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Pencil ribs
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Pencil ribs
Pencil ribs as Rob described

From: Ace
10-Feb-20
Charlie is it true that the drunk ones are harder to kill?

From: carcus
11-Feb-20
I've shot all my bears with mechs, I wouldn't use anything else, they are superior for deer too, anything bigger I use a fixed.

From: bghunter
11-Feb-20
Sorry havent been on this thread in awhile. Thank you for the wealth of information. This is going to help tremendously with preparation for my 2020 WI bear hunt. I have learned a ton from this.

From: Shiras42
11-Feb-20
Bghunter, same here for learning from this thread. So, thanks to those who have contributed and again, sorry for the hogwashing MOM. :)

From: Hancock West
12-Feb-20
So assuming we say the bear meets Mike's threshold of 5ft from nose to tail. If I aim 4 inches back from the front shoulder how many inches back can I be off and still hit the lungs and or liver? I'm sure it varies by bear but is it a 8", 12" or more?

From: Rob Nye
12-Feb-20
Fuzzy’s picture above is Ideal imo if you hit a bit forward or rearward it is a dead bear every time. Right on the crease is deadly but going farther back avoids the shoulder on a higher shot than intended. MOTM is all about margin for error.

From: flip
25-Feb-20
ive been fortunate enough to kill 10 bear with bow , only one loss.The one loss was your once in a lifetime and can say i truly came unglued and pushed it to close to the shoulder.Will never forget the sound of him poping jaw in anger.I seem to under judge size now for some odd reason and almost always end up bigger than my estimation. A good thing i guess! All my kills have been middle of the middle with the farthest track at 100 yrds.Most others were 50.Seems to me a good bear has a swagger to his walk as the smallers act more like a kid trying to steal candy.If that makes sence?

28-Feb-20
Flip I agree in that a mature bear has a swagger to his walk, the problem is that a mature boar or sow has a swagger. A mature BOAR is long and tall in case I haven’t said it enough, haha

From: Drop Tine
29-Feb-20

Drop Tine's embedded Photo
Drop Tine's embedded Photo
Go to the zoo and look at them. Most of them will be older bears. Watch them walk. Look at their heads. For me while the bear is standing broad side if the belly is even with the rear leg knee joint it’s worth looking at closer. If it’s below that joint I’m shooting.

From: Mr.C
04-Mar-20
can you stuff him in the barrel if yes its to small, is his back higher then the barrel? mark a tree at the barrel Hight because it'll be knocked over almost strait away ,eyes close together and ears on the side of his head not the top and a possible cress in the forehead ...and not a care in the world about other bears or for you in that matter unless he gets a nose full human odor good luck be safe

From: Shug
04-Mar-20

Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Shug's embedded Photo
Anyone wanna judge this bear?

09-Mar-20

Jerry Leblanc's embedded Photo
Jerry Leblanc's embedded Photo
What do you guys think of this one? Big, medium? To me he looks big but I’m no expert.

  • Sitka Gear