Washington - Evergreen State Bruins

(From the SEPT/OCT 2019 Issue)

Unless you live there or have hunted there you might not know the state of Washington has lots of black bears. Also a few grizzlies. Based on recent computer modeling and analysis conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife black bears are found pretty-much statewide except for the non-forested areas of the Columbia Basin.
The trophy status of any animal is much more than just bragging rights, but according to the Boone and Crockett Club’s mantra, it’s an indicator of good habitat and wildlife management. Anywhere that older-age class males exist in decent number, the age skew and population dynamics are in check. North American wildlife populations are thriving it’s because of the beautiful thing we call the “North American model for wildlife management.” It’s a powerful concept that has made our hunting culture what it is and it’s the powerful logic that will keep our hunting culture alive. Big, fat, heavy adult bears being killed by hunters means that we are doing something right. This is a point of celebration. Bear weight is a prime indicator of the trophy status of an animal.
Presently, British Columbia’s bear population is estimated at between 120,000 and 150,000. Some estimates are as high as 160,000. Whatever the case B.C. is home to not only the largest bear population of any province but roughly one-quarter of all the bears in Canada. With exception of the higher alpine and low grassland regions, black bears are found throughout the forested areas of the province, which are extensive. This would include Vancouver Island and most coastal islands to the north and the Queen Charlottes. As a result of prime habitat conditions, it is difficult to find a poor place to hunt bears in this province.
Skull size is the basis by which all the record keeping organizations score bears. It is, in essence, like the “horns” of a whitetail or elk. The skull is a significant part of the trophy status of a bear, albeit, the most difficult to estimate. Bears are measured by the dried length and width of their skulls. Record keeping organizations choose to use the skull because it’s the one thing on a bear that can be measured consistently. Weight may seem the best bear-to-bear comparator, but it poses many variables, such as how to certify scales and whether to use dressed or undressed weights. What about animals that are capped and quartered during retrieval? Clearly, skull size is the best way to compare and track bears.
Boom…….. Ding! That’s the sound we all love to hear down range when prepping for a hunt or simply plate popping for fun. The 28 Nosler is a newer caliber, but it’s comparable to some of the well-established titans of the shooting world like the 7mm.
We're all about utilizing bears. Have you ever thought about getting jewelry or other keepsakes created out of your bear? Check out some of the things you can get done at places like Rocky Mountain Scrimshaw to create something personal that can last!
Bears spoil quicker than deer because of higher levels of resident bacteria on the animal, so you better get the hide and meat taken care of quickly. Don’t roll up the hide initially when putting it in the freezer, but rather stretch it out to cool evenly, and then roll it up. When in the backcountry with no freezers, considering salting the hide for preservation, but you’ll need to learn to turn the ears and split the lips. For a quick fix, consider purchasing a bottle of STOP-ROT to extend the out-of-the-freezer life of your bear hide. We hope these tips help you preserve your bear hide.