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Bear Gifts

Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with largely varied diets including both plants and animals. With the exceptions of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals.

Alaskan Bear Country

Bear hunting in Alaska is often a hunter's dream come true. The bears in Alaska often break all the records and hunter's flock from all over the world to try their hand at a trophy bear. Alaska offers five species of big game to hunt, including grizzly and brown bears.

The only way to successfully hunt Alaska bear country is with a guide. Dozens of guide services are available to choose from in Alaska, but knowing your needs will help to narrow the selection down. Call prospective guides and ask them about recent successful hunts. How many kills have they had? What size were they? Alaska bears regularly grow eight to nine feet high, with skulls from 24 inches-28inches.

The sizes do vary from year to year depending upon climate and other factors, but these figures will give you an idea of what to expect.

Another great location for Alaska bear hunting is Bristol Bay. The area is known as world record bear country, and trips here take you into the remote wilderness, a few hundred miles from the nearest connection to the North American road system. Spring is the best time to plan your trip. This time of year offers prime hides, dense fur with long thick hair, and heavy claws. If a hunt in the Spring isn't possible, bear season is long, eight months, from Sept to May. Bristol Bay will offer a hunter the best chance at trophy bear, and some of the best scenery available in all of North America.

Brown bears are found throughout nearly all of Alaska, except for the islands south of Frederick Sound in southeast Alaska, the islands west of Unimak, and the islands of the Bering Sea. There is however one island that is famous for it's bears. At one time grizzlies and brown bears used to be considered two separate species, now it is known that genetically they are identical, and that it is only habitat that causes their variations.

However, the bears on Kodiak Island, Kodiak bears, are a whole new species. The shape of the skull differs slightly, and they grow to be much bigger bears. These characteristics came to define them over generations because they were separated from the rest of the gene pool.

In the wild, brown bears can have a lifespan of up to 34 years. This is however rare, as males live to be about 22 years, while females reach about 26. It's also important to note when hunting that bears have an excellent sense of smell. In the right conditions, they can detect odors from more than a mile away. The weight of the bear will fluctuate dependent upon the season, late fall is the best time to catch a bear at it's heaviest. Something else to note when hunting the brown bear is that he may not be so easily distinguished by color alone.

Their colors vary, from dark to a light blonde. Browns can also be distinguished by they're size; they are bigger than a grizzly and have larger shoulder humps, smaller ears, and their claws are longer and straighter, which have adapted to catch fish better.

As long as a hunter takes the proper precautions and knows the bears he's hunting, he can have a safe, successful hunt, with plenty of wild and stunning scenery as a backdrop.

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