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Thread: Size legality on bears

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    156

    Size legality on bears

    Hey all, hope the bear season is treating everyone well.

    Just curious on size legality on bears. In the regs it says any bear that is 2 or younger cant be shot. With that said, a 2 year old bear would still be with its mother or?

    Reason I ask is I watched a small bear, maybe 3.5'-4' long. Nice cinnamon colour but I let it walk not sure if it would be ok to shoot or not. I dont really care about size, could be 3.5' or 7'. Looking for anything legal as a first bear. Would the bear I saw be legal to shoot or do you all think it wouldnt be?

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    There's no way to age a bear in the field, unless they are accompanied by a sow, then you can tell the difference between 6 months and 1.5 years. For example I had a runt bear (40-50lbs) rough up my cameras 4 or 5 years in a row. The only reason I knew it was more than 2 years old was because I have been seeing it for 4-5 years on the cameras. Didn't look any different than a 1.5yr old cub, small triangular face, all legs...

    Chances are that if there isn't a sow around, it's legal to shoot. Just to be extra safe, the rule I go by is that if it it is definitely by itself and looks over 100lbs and it's the bear you want, go for it. I've only had to think about it once. Shot a little guy last year, maybe 120-140lbs soaking wet. No regrets. Easy pack out and delicious.

    Good on you for not shooting if you are unsure. Ethics are far more impressive than a 7ft bear. I didn't see it myself, so I'm not sure. 3.5-4ft is a pretty big range. I prefer to go by weight estimate. That size could be 40-120lbs. How much do you figure it weighed? Very little chance of a 1.5 year old weighting over 100lbs, so if it's bigger than that, 99.9% chance it is 2.5 years or older.
    Last edited by caddisguy; 05-26-2019 at 04:03 PM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    156

    Re: Size legality on bears

    Quote Originally Posted by caddisguy View Post
    There's no way to age a bear in the field, unless they are accompanied by a sow, then you can tell the difference between 6 months and 1.5 years. For example I had a runt bear (40-50lbs) rough up my cameras 4 or 5 years in a row. The only reason I knew it was more than 2 years old was because I have been seeing it for 4-5 years on the cameras. Didn't look any different than a 1.5yr old cub, small triangular face, all legs...

    Chances are that if there isn't a sow around, it's legal to shoot. Just to be extra safe, the rule I go by is that if it it is definitely by itself and looks over 100lbs and it's the bear you want, go for it. I've only had to think about it once. Shot a little guy last year, maybe 120-140lbs soaking wet. No regrets. Easy pack out and delicious.

    Good on you for not shooting if you are unsure. Ethics are far more impressive than a 7ft bear. I didn't see it myself, so I'm not sure. 3.5-4ft is a pretty big range. I prefer to go by weight estimate. That size could be 40-120lbs. How much do you figure it weighed?
    Thanks for the reply! I figure it was probably 60-70lbs. Closer to 60, it wasnt very fat looking. Hide was beautiful though. Definately no sow around. Would have taken it if I knew for sure it was legal! I'm not picky at all since it's my first bear

  5. #4
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    Quote Originally Posted by Shikari300WSM View Post
    Thanks for the reply! I figure it was probably 60-70lbs. Closer to 60, it wasnt very fat looking. Hide was beautiful though. Definately no sow around. Would have taken it if I knew for sure it was legal! I'm not picky at all since it's my first bear
    60-70lbs is definitely iffy. I think you did the right thing. Without knowing the bear (seeing it previous years, etc) I would have to err on the side of caution and say there is a reasonable chance that is a 1.5 year old. Good on you man.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    Yup hard to know. I like to shoot bears in the 100–150lb range for eaters. 60lber is on the wrong side of the 2 year old line i would guess

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Walnut Grove, Langley
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    13,705

    Re: Size legality on bears

    Remember that the hide will add girth at a distance but not weight! I've shot some little bears and regretted it once standing over them. They looked much bigger before the shot. Now It's honest 5ft bears or pass. Seen 4 bears so far this spring, only 1 worth a try but he thought otherwise!
    Take a kid hunting its more rewarding than shooting an animal yourself!!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    ^^^^I agree, they definitely look bigger than they are...I too after regretfully shooting a small bear, only will try to shoot bigger looking bears...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    179

    Re: Size legality on bears

    This is why I love HBC, great questions, great answers. Good on you for not rushing for the kill. I’m after my 1st bear as well, excellent information here, thank you!
    ~
    Wherever there is Animal Worship there is Human Sacrifice. That is, both symbolically and literally, a real truth of historical experience.
    G. K. Chesterton

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    Honestly 4ft is legal but the amount on meat you get is very little. For meat bear I recommend looking for 5ft or better and 5ft is a common size. Bears have certain sizes that seem to equal a large increase in meat 5ft is a big increase like double the amount of a 4.5ft bear. 5.5 makes another leap and from there on you notice a good increase for each inch in length

    It’s your tag and I have no issues with anyone taking bears under 5ft just giving an honest opinion.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Omineca
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    Re: Size legality on bears

    The amount of meat on a 4.5’ bear you could probably eat with a friend in one night over a camp fire.

    Hold out for bigger man! You will be bummed out. Take it from everyone who’s shot a small bear lol.

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