Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Monster Is Back.


The Black Bear population in New Hampshire and Maine combined may exceed 35,000 bears.  For the size of the region combined that is a healthy population of bear.  With plenty to eat through foraging, fish, and other game, the bear in the area can exceed 300 to 350 pounds.  A respectable size for an Urusus Americana, the common American Black Bear.  

In contrast the Common American Brown Bear, also known as the Grizzly, Ursus Arctos, can reach sizes well over 1000 pounds.  The Grizzly of Montana can reach sizes of around 900 pounds where as the Brown Bears of Katmai National Park and Reserve in Alaska commonly exceed 1000 pounds.  The major population of Brown Bears in North American is in Alaska with the rest occupying western Canada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Northern California, Washington State and Oregon.  The North American population combined is about 55,000 bears, with over 30,000 in Alaska and the rest in Canada and south.  

The largest  Black bear ever recorded was shot in New Brunswick Canada in 1972.  It weighed 902 pounds after it had been dressed out.  That means that it's full live weight  was around 1100 pounds.  That is a huge Black Bear. It measured just under 8 feet long, a true monster.  

On the other hand the largest recorded Brown Bear was an Alaskan Kodiak Grizzly that weighed in excess of 1600 pounds.  The Alaskan Brown Bears have been known to tip the scales as 1500 pounds which is skewing the data.  The Bear of both species, Blacks and Browns, seem to be steadily growing getting larger with each couple of generations.  This is a spooky thought for the hiker in me.  

There is some scientific evidence that the Giant Short Faced Brown bears of both North, and South America may be making a reemergence.  The Short Faced Bears are commonly referred to as the Cave Bear.  Cave Bears were thought to have been hunted to extinction by the Native peoples of North America, and the Trappers and traders that lived among them.  Records kept by Lewis and Clark during their expedition across the Northern Plains is said to be the last record of an actual Cave Bear.  

Mitochondrial DNA taken from North and South American Brown Bears that exceed the size norms have been fueling the Hypothesis that the Short Faced Bear is genetically reawakening. 

We have contrasted the average size of a Black Bear with a Brown Bear at about 300 pounds verses 1000 pounds for a large Alaskan Bear, but the guessed size of a Short Faced Brown Bear is at over 2200 pounds.  I can understand why my ancestors would call these Bears the "Terrible Monsters" coming from the mountains.  

I suppose we'll have to visit the woods in an Abrams A1 Tank... 

Peace and Balance,



  1. There are bears and there are bears. I had a 600 pound black bear in my area some years back and that was impressive enough.

    1. Any bear over a few hundred pounds is not a happy thought rummaging through the garbage. I don't suppose the average door is any barrier. A few years back I had a young black bear tear the door off my garage. It was a mess, hence no more door facing the fire pit.

  2. I assume you've read the book A Libertarian Walks into a Bear? A big part of the problem is that people think the things are "cute" and feed them, which leads them to associate humans with food, with predictable and disastrous results. I assume nobody would think a one-ton behemoth was "cute", but it might not matter. A human to something that size would be like a mouse to a cat. Abrams tanks would indeed become essential hiking gear.

    1. No I haven't read that book. I'll look it up, thanks. I'm from Montana, a big problem in both Yellowstone, and Glacier national parks are folks who try to feed bears to capture photo moments. Usually, especially in Yellowstone, this doesn't turn out as a good idea. This generationally creates a nuisance bear that will come back expecting a snack. Black bears under the right circumstances can be more aggressive that their larger cousins the brown bear. Not a happy thought. I wonder how much a good running tank goes for?