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»Know Your Game - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

HOME RANGE: The grizzly bear is adaptable to a wide range of terrain and climate, including tundra, forests, mountains, and semi-deserts. In pioneer times, grizzly bears were common in most of western North America from Alaska to northern Mexico, and from the western coastal mountains eastward to the Great Plains. The largest remaining populations today are in Alaska and Canada.

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Grizzly Bear

Ursus arctos horribilis

ANIMAL SUMMARY: An adult male usually weighs 500-750 pounds. Females are much smaller. The grizzly is a powerfully built bear with long, thick hair that varies in color from dark brown to pale yellowish-brown. The body is massive and thick, with a prominent hump on the shoulders and a huge head supported by a short, muscular neck. The facial profile is concave. The front claws often exceed 3 inches in length, and are used primarily for digging and as weapons.  

BEHAVIOR: Except when mating, or in the case of a mother with cubs, grizzlies are solitary and unsociable. Males, especially, are great wanderers. The female breeds every 2-3 years, with 1-4 cubs, but generally two, born in the den. She is a good mother and keeps the cubs with her for two years, or often longer. Grizzlies are full-grown at 8-10 years, with a life expectancy of 25-30 years. Except for polar bears, grizzlies are the most carnivorous of bears. They kill animals as large as moose and elk, dig rodents from their burrows, and eat spawning fish and carrion. Nonetheless, the grizzly cannot obtain enough meat to sustain itself, and must rely on vegetable matter for much of its intake, eating grasses, sedges, roots, tubers, buds, berries and nuts. It dens in the late fall and sleeps until April. Senses of smell and hearing are excellent; eyesight is not as good, but a grizzly is able to make out moving objects at a considerable distance. Surprisingly agile, it can run 30 mph on the flat, and can gallop for miles over steep mountain slopes. Cubs can climb trees, but mature bears cannot because their claws are too long and their bodies too heavy. The grizzly can survive only in wilderness, because it coexists poorly with man. It is considered dangerous to humans, and has a history of feeding on livestock.  

Super Ten®/Super Slam®: For the Super Ten®/Super Slam®, only one grizzly bear is recognized. Information found here contains excerpts from the on-line and printed version of Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals and is used by permission. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.

Grizzly Bear Species Map

Grizzly Bear Range in North America: The map above is used by permission from the on-line Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.