Black bears may not get as big as browns or grizzlies, but by golly, they do get BIG.
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.
Wikipedia says that, "The biggest wild American black bear ever recorded was a male from New Brunswick, shot in November 1972, that weighed 902 lb after it had been dressed, meaning it weighed an estimated 1,100 lb in life, and measured (7.9 ft long.)."
And they're 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.
Check out the most humongous black bears.
704-pound black bear.
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.
610 pounds...Still a big bear
Scott Clark's 610-pound bow bear.
Over 700 pounds.
This 700+-pound black bear was killed near Boyceville, Wisconsin when a farmer accidentally ran over it with his combine in a cornfield.
Bob Keagy's Alaska black bear.
"The bear was a beauty, 'squaring' (nose to tail, plus tip of claw to tip of claw, measuring 8 feet and one inch. His skull measured 20 5/16, making the B & C Awards minimum of 20 inches. Both measurements are more common for a grizzly bear than a black bear. We guesstimate the bear's age at over 20 years. What a wonderful experience!" - Bob Keagy
Steve and Lorrie Dougherty with Steve's 21 1/16 Boone and Crockett Club black bear.
21 2/6 Alaska black bear.
Unknown but BIG!
Alberta black bear.
Weight and score unknown.
Alaska Prince of Wales black bear.hunting
The bears on Prince of Wales were recently reclassified by Safari Club International as Coastal Bears or Island Black Bear due to their massive size. There are more record-book black bear entries from here than the rest of North America. They regularly produce monster bruins that weigh over 350 pounds, square out between 7 feet and 8 feet and have skulls that score between 19 1/2 inches and 22 inches.
Bob Richardson's Ontario giant
Three 7-foot Canadian giants.
Don't know the story on this bear shot, but it made us go "Whoa!"
Karen Holder Saskatchewan black bear.
Check out these even more monstrous Kodiak Bears.