Huge Bruins: 17 Brown and Grizzly Bears from the B&C Record Books (+ How to Judge Them)

If you get a chance to hunt a grizzly, here are some tips for field judging the size of a good one, starting with the one before you even see the bear: Track: The width of the front paw pad can estimate the size of the bear–add one inch to the width of a pad (e.g., 7 inches, plus 1, equals 8) and convert to feet. This is approximately the “square” size of the hide; and the bigger the hide, the higher the B&C score, usually. At Left: Rank No. 9, James Blanchard, 2001, 26 13/16, Otter Creek, Alaska
When a bear is sighted, the following are gauges for field judging its size– Head: Bears are ultimately scored by their skulls, rather than hides; but a really big bear will have a head that looks relatively small, compared to its body. Ears: Big ears, small bear; small ears, bigger bear. Legs: Should look short and squatty, not “leggy.” Gait: A big bear will almost waddle; it will also appear relaxed, because it’s not afraid of anything or anybody. At left: Jeff Brigham, 2009, 26 12/16, Unalakleet River, Alaska (rank pending–final score subject to revision by additional verification measurements)
As a grizzly guide once told me, three things he never discussed with his hunters were religion, politics, and calibers. But, a big grizzly can push 700 pounds, and it can really, really hurt you. And you may not be able to get any closer than a couple hundred yards. So for grizzlies, range and power matter. Think of using a good elk caliber for bear, or even something as powerful as a .375 H&H. And shoot straight. At left: Rank No. 21, Jon D. Seifert, 2000, 26 7/16, Lone Mountain, Alaska
Rank No. 23, William G. Farley, 2003, 26 6/16, Kuskokwim River, Alaska
Rank No. 31, Dennis Dunn, 2004, 26 5/16, Klikitarik Bay, Alaska
(Note: This grizzly is the Pope and Young World’s Record. However, Rodney Debias’s grizzly, No. 2 in B&C, was taken also with a bow, but is not listed as the P&Y WR, yet.)
Rank No. 31, Raymond Ferrieri, 1994, 26 5/16, Devereaux Creek, British Columbia, Canada
Rank No. 31, Remo Pizzagalli, 1996, 26 5/16 B&C points, Kajuk River, Alaska
Rank No. 46, Dan Bolek, 2001, 26 3/16, Otter Creek, Alaska
Rank No. 52, Eugene F. Segrest, 2009, 26 2/16, Nulato Hills, Alaska
Rank Pending–Final score subject to revision by additional verification measurements, Gabriel Perez-Maura Garcia, 2008, 26 2/16, Apple River, British Columbia, Canada
Rank No. 60, Morris Trace, 1995, 26 1/16, Kinaklin River, British Columbia, Canada
Rank No. 60, Dennis B. Shennard II, 2007, 26 1/16, Cache Creek, Alaska
Rank No. 84, Chad Sherman, 2006, 25 14/16, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska
Rank No. 90, Kenneth R. Hamer, 1998, 25 13/16, Knights Inlet, British Columbia, Canada
Rank No. 95, Troy N. Ginn, 1995, 25 12/16, Smithers, British Columbia, Canada
Rank No. 95, Robert W. Witt, 2007, 25 12/16, Wood River, Alaska