Hunting Alaska-Brown / Grizzly Bear
Alaska Hunting
Backcountry  Custom  Taxidermy
Brown Bear - facts and figures
* If you are a Nonresident or a Nonresident Alien, you must be accompanied by a licensed guide / outfitter OR by an Alaska resident (who is a close relative) to hunt in Alaska.

* You are allowed to report your harvest in person or via U.S. mail for all hunts. For some hunts, you may also report online instead. Failure-to-report (FTR) penalties apply for many hunts. Click Here for more information

* Hunters may not take any bear cubs or sows with cubs. For this regulation, a brown/grizzly bear cub is defined as a brown/grizzly in its first or second year of life. 

* Hunters must leave evidence of sex (penis sheath or vulva) attatched to a bear hide until the hide has been sealed. This is a legal requirement. This information is used in bear research and management.

* The meat of a brown bear is generally considered unpalatable and hunters rarely eat it. 

    * To hunt Kodiak brown bears
You need a valid Alaska hunting license, a Big Game Tag Record, a brown bear locking tag, and a registration and/or drawing permit for the area you plan to hunt. If you are not an Alaska resident, you also need proof that you will be guided by a licensed guide or a close relative. We strongly urge non-residents to make arrangements with a qualified big game guide prior to applying for any Kodiak bear hunts. 
   (download a guide-client agreement )

         * Taking Your Bear Hide
                    Out of Alaska
A raw (unprocessed) bear hide shipped out of Alaska to another state needs an export tag which can be obtained from any ADF&G office, post office or commercial shipper. If you plan to take your bear hide out of the United States, you need to obtain a federal CITES permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Law Enforcement.  Your guide and /or Outfitter can give you information on this BEFORE your hunt. 

   Backcountry Taxidermy handles        Worldwide Importing / Exporting and CITES 
     Contact Us  -  Before and After your hunt.
Black bears and grizzly bears may live in the same area but differ in behavior, habitat preference, and diet.  Grizzly bears generally live in high country above timberline where they dig for roots and ground squirrels, eat berries, and actively hunt caribou and other wildlife. 

Brown and grizzly bears are the same species. The smaller, inland brown bears are often called grizzlies. The bigger coastal bears are called brown bears and the extremely large brown bears on Kodiak Island are often referred to as Kodiak bears.  

Brown bears are larger than black bears and have a more prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, and longer, straighter claws. Both the shoulder hump and the long claws are adaptations related to feeding. The long claws are useful in digging for roots or excavating burrows of small mammals. The musculature and bone structure of the hump are adaptations for digging and for sprinting to capture moose or caribou for food. Despite their bulk, bears are surprisingly fast and agile. 

A bear’s weight varies with the season. Bears weigh least in the spring or early summer. They gain weight rapidly during late summer and fall and are waddling fat just prior to denning. At this time most mature males weigh between 500 and 900 lbs (180 – 410 kg) with extremely large individuals weighing as much as 1,400 lbs (640 kg). Females weigh half to three-quarters as much. Bear hides are prized by hunters but the meat of a brown bear is generally considered unpalatable and hunters rarely eat it. 

Brown bears eat a variety of foods including berries, grasses, sedges, horsetails, cow parsnips, fish, ground squirrels, and roots of many kinds of plants. Brown bears are capable predators of newborn moose and caribou, and can also kill and eat healthy adults of these species. Bears also consume garbage in human dumps, as well as all types of carrion. 

Bag Limits and Seasons
A hunter can legally shoot only one brown/grizzly bear every four years, except in Units 6 (except 6D), 12, 19D, 20E, 25D, and portions of 13 and 20D where it is legal to harvest a grizzly bear every year. The season is more liberal in these areas because bears are limiting the growth of local moose or caribou populations. A grizzly bear harvested in Units 19D and 25D does count against the one bear every four year restriction. Harvesting a brown bear in the remaining one every year areas fills your bag limit for the regulatory year (July 1–June 30), but does not count against the one every four years limit imposed in other Units. That means you can shoot one grizzly in Units 6 (except 6D), 12, portions of 13, 20E, or northeastern 20D for three consecutive years until you are eligible to hunt in a "one bear every four years area" again. However, remember you may not take more than one brown/grizzly bear per regulatory year. 

* Refer back to Alaska Hunting for the map of hunting units mentioned. Each unit will give specific information about the area, bag limits and more.

Salvaging Hide, Skull, and Meat
You are required to salvage both the hide and skull of a grizzly bear killed anywhere in Alaska, except in the subsistence brown bear management areas where you are required to salvage all meat for human consumption. 

Hunters must leave evidence of sex (penis sheath or vulva) attatched to a black or brown/grizzly hide until the hide has been sealed. This is a legal requirement. This information is used in bear research and management

Sealing Requirements
Grizzlies from any location in Alaska also must be sealed within 30 days of the date of kill. Bring the hide and skinned out skull to ADF&G or a registered sealer to be examined and sealed. A small tooth (a premolar) will be pulled to obtain age information on your bear. At the time of sealing please make sure the skull is not frozen solid so the tooth can be pulled. If you are interested in learning how old your bear is, contact the ADF&G office in late winter and they can tell you. they will need your name, date of kill, and location of the kill. 

Grizzly bears taken in Units 6 (except 6D), 8, 12, 19D, 20D, 20E, or 25D must be sealed before being taken from the unit where it was killed. Exceptions include grizzly bears taken in Unit 20E and northeast 20D must be sealed in that unit or in Tok, and brown bears taken in 6A, B, C must be sealed in that unit or in Yakutat. These sealing requirements give good information about the bear harvest in these units and help enforcement officers know the bears were actually taken in these units. 

It is illegal to shoot cubs or a sow accompanied by cubs of either species.  No part of a bear can be sold or purchased. 

It is illegal to hunt or kill a brown/grizzly bear within one half mile of a garbage dump or land fill.

Sometimes people feel they have to shoot a bear that may be threatening life or property. Use your best judgment. If you do kill a bear in defense of life and property you must immediately bring the hide and skull to ADF&G for sealing and make a thorough report on why you killed the bear. If you take the bear with legal methods and means, have a valid hunting license and tags (if necessary) and the season is open, you can keep the bear. Otherwise, you will have to forfeit the bear. It is not legal to shoot a bear and claim defense of life and property if the bear is feeding on the carcass of a game animal that you have shot. The carcass is not considered property in this situation.

Hunting Tips - The Trophy
An old boar of 8 feet or better is the best trophy. Sows with cubs are not legal quarry, and young bears do not make a good trophy.  As a bear ages and grows in size, his intelligence and elusiveness increase. Once a bear is spotted, several things need to be determined before you go after the bear:
1)  Size of the bear, age and the quality of his hide  (An experienced guide
              can help you with this)
2)  If you spot him far away -Watch what he is doing - If he lays down, and you
              have time before dark, you can make your stalk.
3)  Which way is the wind blowing? You need to make an UP-WIND stalk.
4)  Try to get within 100 yards before you make the shot...

Hunting Tips - Shot placement
The objective of every conscientious hunter is to kill an animal as quickly as possible to avoid its suffering and to insure the highest quality meat. An animal that must be shot several times will have muscles flooded with lactic acid and adrenaline, resulting in poor tasting meat. 

Before a hunter takes a shot, it is his or her responsibility to be sure they can make a clean and accurate shot, so use a weapon you can shoot accurately.  Alaskan game animals will quickly die when both lungs and/or heart are hit by a bullet or arrow.

Heart & Double Lung Shot
The best shot placement is when the animal is broadside to the hunter or slightly facing away. A heart-lung shot from either position will likely puncture both lungs with the following advantages: 

1.When an animal is hit in the heart/lung area, a quick death is certain because an animal cannot function with a loss of both lungs and heart. If the bullet exits, the animal will probably leave a visible blood trail. 
2.The heart-lung area is likely to remain stationary. Because an animal’s head and neck frequently move its more difficult to accurately place a shot in those areas. 
3.A heart-lung shot minimizes a loss of meat if the bullet enters and exits through the ribs. 

Hunting tips - Where
Brown bears are found throughout Alaska except on the islands south of Frederick Sound in southeastern Alaska, the islands west of Unimak in the Aleutian Chain, and the islands of the Bering Sea. Except for breeding pairs and females with offspring, bears are typically solitary creatures and avoid the company of other bears. Exceptions occur where food sources are concentrated such as at streams where bears can catch salmon swimming upstream to spawn. 

Refer back to Alaska Hunting for the map of hunting units. Each unit will give specific information about the area, bag limits and more.   

This is not a substitute for the Alaska Hunting Regulations. For more complete infomation read the regulations and the permit hunt supplements. They are available at Alaska Department of Fish & Game offices and establishments that sell hunting licenses and tags. 

Always Check the Alaska Hunting & Trapping  Emergency Orders before planning to hunt an area or species as restrictions may apply.

Click Here - For more information on hunting the Grizzly / Brown Bear
Click Here - For information on permits for Drawing hunts, Regrestration hunts, or General Season hunts 
Click here - For Guides / Outfitters and more
Bows, Firearms, Cartridge, and Ammunition for Hunting Alaska:

The rifle you bring hunting should be one with which you are comfortable. many hunters have been convinced that a .300, .338, .375, or .416 magnum is needed for personal protection and to take large Alaska game. This is simply not true.

1.Rifle/handgun: State regulations require that rifles and handguns must fire a 200-grain or larger bullet, which retains at least 2000 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards. A .30-06 with a 220-grain bullet is about the minimal weapon that meets this specification. Please do not bring your favorite firearm and expect to use it if it does not meet the above criteria. 

2.Muzzleloader: Muzzle-loading rifles must be .54 caliber or larger, or at least .45 caliber with a 250-grain or larger elongated slug. Further, for safety reasons, those hunting with muzzleloaders must also have within easy reach a smokeless powder rifle meeting the centerfire rifle requirements listed above. 

3.Bow: Longbows, recurve bows, or compound bows are permitted, but they must have a peak draw weight of 50 pounds or more. Arrows must be at least 20 inches in overall length, and tipped with unbarbed, fixed or replaceable-blade type broadheads. Arrow and broadhead together must weigh at least 300 grains total weight. As with hunters using muzzleloaders, ADF&G strongly recommends that bowhunters have a rifle close at hand. 

* If you are planning on packing out moose meat, caribou meat, or a brown bear hide weighing hundreds of pounds, you can carry a 9- to 11-pound rifle including scope. A rifle of this weight in .300 or .338 magnum can be mastered with a lot of practice.

SUMMERY:  You can’t go wrong with a stainless steel bolt-action rifle chambered for a standard cartridge that you are comfortable with and can shoot accurately, loaded with a high quality bullet. 
Backcountry Taxidermy
Bears make beautiful rugs

If you have a trophy that you believe may qualify for B & C's Big Game Awards Program - contact one of their measurers to have it officially scored.  
Minimum Scores      Awards    All-time
       black bear                     20             21
       grizzly bear                   23             24
       Alaska brown bear         26             28
       Alaska Kodiak bear        26             28  
       polar bear                      27             27

Trophy Scoring Form

Alaska Brown / Grizzly Bear
(Ursus arctos)
Backcountry Taxidermy
Hunter's Guide