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Location: Seattle, Washington
Joined: 08/13/2007
Posts: 8
What size WA black bear is worth taking?

I've never taken a black bear, but I was scouting this past weekend in Eastern WA and saw a beautiful black bear that may have been a juvenile, maybe an adult. I was about 150-200 meters away, but I got a good view of it running, stopping broadside to watch me for a minute and then running off. On all fours, looked like it was about croach high, length about 4 1/2 feet, and I have no idea its weight, but guessing.....at least 200-250.

What's a normal size bear? Is this a juvenile, or just a small bear? How can I tell if the bear is an adult? Coloring? Gate? There were no other bears around, so I assumed it was an adult. I let it go because I was unsure if it was too small, and I sure didn't want to shoot anything and walk up and realize I had "buck fever" turned bear fever.

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Location: Olympia, WA
Joined: 07/15/2006
Posts: 1
What size WA black bear is worth taking?

You can tell a cub from a adult, that sounds like you passed a good mature bear. 250#s is a good bear, if the ears look small it is probably a good one. If the ears look disproptional then maybe a juvenile. Any bear is a good first bear! You should have shot, if he gave you a good opportunity.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3187
What size WA black bear is worth taking?

Welcome to both of you guys. I think you'll find that average black bears are quite a bit smaller that folk lore suggests. seems like everyone I hear about is 500#, that's a big black bear! I've only seen one black ever in Wash but then I've never hunted there either. It ran across the road in front of me, I5 between Olympia and Lacy! Probably weighed 600#! Big smile

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Location: Seattle, Washington
Joined: 08/13/2007
Posts: 8
What size WA black bear is worth taking?

Ok, I'll look for the ears. I wanted to pick a decent set of binoculars or a spotting scope ($150-200) to help me get a better look when I go back this weekend. Is a spotting scope better, same or worse than a set of binocs? Can you guys recommend something?

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3187
What size WA black bear is worth taking?

I'd go with the binoculars. They are more mobile that a spoting scope, faster to get on animals, better field of view usually, don't need a tripod to work. I'm on my third spotting scope and have never carried one hunting. A good pair of 7x35 binoculars on the other hand is something else. I've had a few sets of those compact jobs, hated every one of them. Their great to carry, lousy to look thru.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Re: What size WA black bear is worth taking?
ranger77 wrote:
and saw a beautiful black bear that may have been a juvenile, maybe an adult. ......On all fours, looked like it was about croach high, length about 4 1/2 feet, and I have no idea its weight, but guessing.....at least 200-250. .

With a length of 4.5 feet there is no way it was near 200lbs. It was probably a sub-adult around 125-150lbs. If it was 200-250lbs then it was probably 5-6 feet and a definate shooter for a first bear.

As stated above, the size of bears is almost always over blown. According to "Hunting Trophy Black Bear" by NAHC, the average live weight for Washington black bears is 195 lbs for males and 116.5 lbs for females.

Most of the bears we have killed average around 150 -175 lbs gutted, with my largest being 380 field dressed.

Good luck.

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