There are some different ways of estimating how big a bear might be, but even the most experienced hunters still have problems doing it. If you see more than one bear, it is most likely a mother with her cubs. Cubs around the age of two will probably be around the same size as their mother. Cubs usually will be behind their mother and you want to make sure while hunting that it is not a mother with cubs that are lagging behind. If a bear has a lighter-colored ring around their neck or chest, it can be a good indicator that the bear is three years old or younger. You may also be hunting during a mating season, depending on the type of bear that it is. Usually the bear pursuing the other is the male.

Younger bears have large heads and long legs compared to the size of their body. They look sort of clumsy and gangly. A larger adult male will appear thicker and more bulky with blocky like features. A great way to estimate how big a bear really is, is by looking at it broadside. Use your thumb and index finger and section off the head and neck area of the bear. Then see how many lengths you can go down the bear’s body between the shoulders and tail. With a 9 foot plus bear you should be able to go three head and neck lengths. Larger cubs will have a body length equal to 2 head-neck lengths.

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