- Top Record:
- Archery, Rifle, Muzzleloader, Shotgun, Handgun
Ursus americanus, the American Black Bear, is the smallest and most widely distributed bear in North America, ranging across Alaska, through Canada, and down into the Appalachian, Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountains. They're hunted from Maine to Florida, New Jersey to California. Adult boars typically range from 200 to 300 pounds, but where food is abundant they've been known to grow past 700 pounds. They're hunted in a variety of ways, depending on region. In the East, they're often run with hounds or shot over bait, though some New England hunters pattern them to mast crops then spot and stalk. In the West, hounds are common, though baiting is largely illegal. Many Western bears are killed after glassing them with binoculars or a spotting scope from a high mountain ridge, then stalking into rifle or bow range. Boone & Crockett scores bears based on skull measurement—a calculation of length plus width. But many outfitters and dedicated bear hunters gauge a trophy on total length and weight. A 7-foot bear, measured from nose to tail or a “300-pounder” is considered a trophy anywhere.