Hunter Jeff Melillo holds the world record Pope and Young Club black bear skull, surrounded by three other men
Pope and Young Club

The Biggest Black Bears Ever Hunted


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While black bears don't generally grow as large as their brown, grizzly and polar bear cousins, these brutes can get pretty monstrous and scary. Adult black bears typically weigh between 100 and 500 pounds. Anything over that and we're talking humongous territory. But even a 600-pound bear isn't too uncommon. And they're found all over. From Georgia to the Western Canadian provinces, and from the Montana foothills to suburban New Jersey, black bears cover a wide range of North American habitat. Here's a random sampling of some of the biggest big black bears that made us drop our jaws.

704 Pounds, Pennsylvania

Pro staffer Tyler Wilbur with his PA archery bear that weighed in at 704lbs!

Posted by Drawback Outdoors on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

704-pound black bear taken in Pennsylvania by 21-year-old Tyler Wilbur of Annville, Pennsylvania. It is his first black bear and had a chest girth of 64 inches. Tyler stalked the bear in a harvested corn field to take a perfect shot with his crossbow. To give you an idea of proportion and size, Tyler is 6 feet 2 inches tall.

732.78 pounds, Pennsylvania

PA HOLDS THE B&C WORLD RECORD BLACK BEAR!!! That's a public/state game land trophy. ..no bait no dogs just a lucky day...

Posted by Hunting 501 on Saturday, February 25, 2017

This was a reaffirmation that Pennsylvania did indeed house some extremely large black bears. Robert Christian hunted it in Monroe County and the skull measured 23 9?16 inches. That's just a hair under the largest black bear ever recorded, which was a dead pick-up animal and not hunted. This was Christian's first harvested bear, and he was actually aiming for whitetail deer the day he shot it.

700 Pounds, New Jersey

Hunter Jeff Melillo holds the world record Pope and Young Club black bear skull, surrounded by three other men

Pope and Young Club

In 2020, hunter Jeff Melilloharvested a black bear with an official entry score of more than 23 inches, and in a special panel-measuring session put on by the Pope & Young Club at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in February, 2020, it was deemed the new world record by P&Y. "It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least," Melillo said in a Pope & Young release. "New Jersey, my home state, has its First-Ever World Record Animal! Many years ago, I read an article stating that the new world record black bear will most likely come from New Jersey. They were spot on, and I never doubted it for one second."

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READ MORE: SOW OR BOAR? HOW TO IDENTIFY BLACK AND BROWN BEARS WHEN HUNTING

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