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Fly Tying
Mark Knapp

Some big bears I've known.

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Explaining how to tell a big bear from a small bear on another forum brought me down memory lane recently. I dredged up some pictures to illustrate the difference and I thought some of you might like to see some pictures of really big bears.

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That's me on the right. I have changed a little.

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These first two bears were fighting when we found them.

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This is the biggest bear I ever guided for, number 18 in the book.

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This picture gives you an idea of how big they really are.

By the time bears get this big, they are almost all past their breeding age. They actually are not good for other bears in the area. We killed one that we watched eat two young brown bear cubs. After we got the boar, we uncovered a sow that he had killed and cached, the mother of the two cubs he ate. The sow had a radio collar and ear tags. We turned the equipment into the bear biologist in the area and learned that the sow had been very productive, turning out a pair of twins every breeding cycle since she had been collared. The biologist said he had really hated to lose her.

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That skinned out bear really gives a different perspective..  Unbelievable!  Thanks for sharing.

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Those are some big bears. I guess you better be fully loaded with heavy weapons to pursue them.

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I was on a Boy Scout float for a parade once. We had a Kodiak bear that had been shot by a TV newscaster. The stuffed bear (thank goodness) was on a farm wagon. Had to carry a long pole to get under the utility lines. Our local Bass Pro has one by the fish tank.

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Is bear good to eat, or are they trophy animals only?  Not judging, I don't care.  However, I can't show those pictures to Wife, she disagrees with predator hunting.

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13 minutes ago, mikechell said:

Is bear good to eat, or are they trophy animals only?  Not judging, I don't care.  However, I can't show those pictures to Wife, she disagrees with predator hunting.

The black bears I've eaten have been pretty good.

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47 minutes ago, mikechell said:

Is bear good to eat, or are they trophy animals only?  Not judging, I don't care.  However, I can't show those pictures to Wife, she disagrees with predator hunting.

The main reason to hunt these bears is for population control. They live on an island and have no predators themselves. If some are not taken there would soon be too many and they would eat everything else on the island, deer, reindeer, elk, foxes, beavers etc. then there would be nothing for them to eat and they too would soon be gone.  We take 5% each year to hold the population at a stable level. It's been working like that for about a hundred years so it seems to be a good system. Also, as in the OP, the big bears we kill are past the breeding age and kill and eat a lot of other bears.

We have tried eating them but they are not very good to eat. In the spring, when they are in the rut, they taste very bad. In the fall, after they eat fish all summer they taste fishy. They are also very tough to chew, we pressure cooked the tender loins from one for 45 minutes one time and it was still tougher than a raw hide chew bone. Grizzly bears are the only big game animals that we don't have wanton waist laws on (where you have to save all the meat). Some people eat grizzlies from the interior (Not coastal bears) where they eat more berries than fish.

Black bears are good to eat.

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Can you tie with grizzly hair or are they protected?   The finished product puts into perspective how massive they really are.   

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Funny I just watched a youtube video on the top 10 strongest land predators in the world.  Number 1 on their list was a tiger and the rest were all big cats with a croc thrown in.  While a full grown tiger is a tough hombre my money would be on the Brown or Polar Bear.

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8 hours ago, petelangevin said:

Can you tie with grizzly hair or are they protected?   The finished product puts into perspective how massive they really are.   

Yes you can tie with grizzly. They have regular hunting seasons and we have plenty in Alaska.

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