Be Bear Aware

Grizzly Characteristics:
The Distinctive Hump and Rump – The grizzly’s hump bettween the shoulders is aways visible in profile. The rump of a grizzly is lower than its shoulder when the bear is on all fours, while the black bear’s rump is higher than the rest of its body. This is sometimes hard to see at a distance.

The “Dished” Face – A grizzly typically has a somewhat concave profile from between its eyes to the end of its nose, whereas a black bear normally has a more “Roman”, or convex, profile.

Unique Tracks – Compared to black bear’s tracks, grizzly tracks of the front feet are more square. If you take a straight edge and hold it across the track of a grizzly front foot, just in front of the pad and behind the toe on either side, it will not cross the toe on the other side of the foot. A black bear front track is more rounded and a straight edge will cross the toe on the other side of the foot.

Ear Shape – A grizzly has short rounded ears and black bears have taller pointed ears.

COLOR IS NOT A RELIABLE WAY TO DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF BEAR! Hunters need to know that killing a grizzly in the Lower 48 States is both a Federal and state offense that can bring criminal and civil penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in jail. Hunters are responsible for being sure of their target before they pull the trigger, claims of self-defense are thoroughly investigated.

Here are some tips for ensuring the safety of both yourself and the bear:

Learn about bear behavior: Bears often sleep during the day in dark timber; if disturbed in their bed, they are often surprised and will sometimes charge in confusion. Avoid brush and berry patches, watch for moving bushes and make noise to alert bears you are coming.

Avoid hunting alone: Always try to travel in pairs.

Always carry pepper spray and know how to use it: While bear spray cannot prevent an encounter, it can deter a bear’s charge and prevent or shorten the duration of an attack.

Learn to recognize signs of bears in the area: Leave when you see fresh tracks, scat, and diggings.

Always keep a clean camp: Avoid rewarding a bear with food. Remember all food and beverages, including canned food, garbage, pet food, and scented toiletries are bear attractants.

When hunting, remove the carcass from the area as soon as possible: Immediately field dress the animal and move the gut pile at least 100 yards from the carcass; never leave it near or on a trail, which could endanger others.

Be aware that where there is a carcass, there may be a bear: When returning to a carcass, observe it with binoculars from a safe distance before approaching. If a bear has claimed your carcass, let the bear have the meat and leave the area immediately. Do not risk your safety.

Bugles and cow calls can attract bears: Stay alert!