Here are the biggest known bears from each category to ever pad over the earth. Of all the bears of every species, these are the true monarchs.
Of the four major species of bear that are are hunted – black, grizzly, Alaskan brown and polar – these are the documented kings. These four are the biggest known bears in each category, as documented by the Boone and Crockett Club.
1. Black Bears
The world record black bear skull scores 23 10/16 and was a pick-up find in Sanpete County, UT in 1975. Boone and Crockett indicates that the greatest length of the skull without lower jaw is 14 12/16, and the greatest width of the skull is 8 14/16. Here a picture of the skull, which is now in the possession of Cabela’s, Inc..
For comparison, below is a photograph of Robert Christian’s 2011 world record hunter-taken black bear, whose skull scored 23 9/16. Christian’s bear was not the heaviest on record, but its skull is the largest for a black bear taken by a hunter. His bear weighed 733 pounds. Heavier bears have been taken, including several that have approached 900 pounds.
2. Grizzly Bears
The biggest known bruin in the grizzly bear category is also a found or pick-up skull. It scores 27 13/16 and was found by Gordon E. Scott in 1976 in Lone Mountain, Alaska. Again, Boone and Crockett indicates that the skull’s greatest length less the lower jaw is 17 4/16, and its greatest width measures 10 9/16.
Here’s Scott’s grizzly skull:
Again for comparison sake, here’s Larry Fitzgerald’s 2013 hunter-taken world record grizzly. Fitzgerald’s bear scored 27 6/16, just 7/16 shy of the all-time world record found by Scott. Fitzgerald’s bear also measured nearly nine feet tall.
3. Alaskan Brown Bears
The world record for Alaskan brown bear has stood for 75 years. It was a bear that was taken in 1952 on Kodiak Island, Alaska by Roy Lindsley. The bear’s skull scored 30 12/16, with its greatest length less the lower jaw being 17 15/16, and its greatest width being 12 13/16.
Lindsley was on a hunt for a specimen to donate to the Los Angeles County Museum, and was reportedly told by his guide to not shoot this particular bear as there was a bigger one to be had. But Lindsley figured this bear would do well enough.
There was a bigger bear to be had?
In any event, this was the only bear that Lindsley shot in his 20 years of working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I guess one and out is good enough when the one you get is a monster like Lindsley’s.
4. Polar Bears
The world record polar bear, the largest of all of the bear species, was taken in 1963 by Shelby Longoria in Kotzebue, Alaska. The massive bruin’s skull scored 29 15/16. The measurement of the greatest length of skull without lower jaw was 18 8/16, and the greatest width of skull equaled 11 7/16.
Below is a photograph of Longoria’s polar bear, which stood over 11 feet tall and weighed more than a ton.
Polar bears get to massive sizes. For comparison, here’s another image of a bear similar in size to Longoria’s world record. This bear was taken by Arthur Dubs in 1961 and also stood over 11 feet tall and weighed more than 2,000 pounds.
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