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Joined: 07/14/2010
Posts: 1
butchered weight of meat discrepancy

Hey guys, 

First time posting here and I hope you can help ease my mind.  This spring my brother and I got a really young small black bear (first bear ever and we were pumped!). We're confident it was 2 years old (definitely legal, but barely).  We didn't weigh it but the two of us could swing it into the truck bed without much trouble.  

We butchered it ourselves (done many times with other big game) and are quite meticulous about cutting out all the sinew. At the end we had only 18lbs of meat. The two hind quarter roasts were each big enough to feed two people for a meal, maybe 3 people max. 

A very good friend of mine (and avid hunter) has all but eliminated our relationship (or at least it feels that way) because he couldn't believe we only got 18lbs and said we'd wasted it and shot it just for show.  I've explained to him that it was really small and the only meat that was wasted was the lower legs which were so full of sinew it would've taken forever just to get an extra couple pounds out of them.  

Has anyone else had this experience of so little meat out of a small bear?  Being the first time I'd butchered one it was definitely completely different than deer or moose so I don't know what to expect.  I feel no guilt over it as I 100% believe we didn't waste it, but I'm on the brink of losing a really close friend over it because he thinks I'm turning into "one of those guys that takes animals and doesn't use the meat".  If anything we erred on the side of shooting a bear that was borderline old enough to harvest. 

Thank you, 


elkkill06's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 2069
Brandon, Has your friend


Has your friend killed many bears ? As for your little bear I can see only getting about what you got off of him. I have killed quite a few bears and have seen and helped buddies with there bears.

One of my hunting partners killed a small bear a few years ago and almost did not get it back from the CDOW after being checked and sealed because it was so small, but it did not have its milk teeth and they had to let him keep it. I know for a fact he did not get more than 20 lbs of meat off of his bear and the back hams on a bear are way different than the back hams on a muley or an elk.


Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363
I have butchered many bears

I have butchered many bears for a guiding service and what you got off of that bear (boned out meat) is consistent with my experience.  Most people do not realize how small the percentage of boned out meat there is on a bear, especially a small bear. The hide is heavy, the bones and head heavy and that means meat yield is low in relation to live or dressed weight.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
It is often interestin on how

It is often interestin on how hunters look at the amount of meat that they get off of an animal after the either butcher it or have it done by a processor.  They usually always think that they should have more than what they get.  As was said about the bear 18lbs sounds about right for a smaller bear.  Most of the weight of an animal is taken up by the innards, skin, and bones, then comes the meat.  Almost in that order. 

Location: california
Joined: 05/19/2010
Posts: 89
meat weight

Even a large bear take in late fall has tons of fat weight. They have huge bones, thick hide and they are stocky. The bear my son shot last year nearly 500 lbs when we skinned him to quarter and pack out he  had fat on his rump and lower back that was 12-15 inches thick before we could even see meat. I think hogs are the same once you skin them out you basically get the front shoulder,the back straps and the hinds alot of weight in head and hide and minimal meat on the ribs. If you shot this little bear with a rifle through the front shoulders you could almost right off saving much meat after trimming out the bullet damage. I have helped in butchershops before and I think alot of hunters think they should have gotten more meat from there game. Especially new hunters. If you do it yourself like me you can see alot of meat that is bloodshot, or tainted from poor gutting techniques that needs to be trimmed off and tossed as a health concern. Look at your dog I know my lab weighes 100 lbs (off season fatty) he could be a small bear. shoot him in the front shoulders not much meat left on him.

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture
Location: Southcentral Alaska
Joined: 04/26/2007
Posts: 222
Take it from someone who eats

Take it from someone who eats a lot of black bear a black bear is one of the worst sources of meat you can get. For their size they give you the worst return they are a quality meat not a quantity meat. If you enjoy hunting them don't let the lack of food stop your fun. Thumbs up

Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Joined: 04/16/2009
Posts: 659
From what I've read you

From what I've read you usually get 40% in meat of the live weight. I would think with a bear since they have a lot more fat on them you might even loose more than 40%

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