Hunters bag 850-pound bear

Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2006

KENAI - A brown bear killed in defense of life and property by two Soldotna hunters last weekend turned out to be a big one.

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Jeff Selinger, Soldotna area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, received the carcass and its removed hide from the two hunters who shot it.

Selinger said that after his initial inspection of the kill site, he spent the rest of his weekend removing the meat from the bones of the bear. He then tallied the weight of the remains.

"The meat, heart and lungs weighed in at 465 pounds," he said.

Selinger combined this figure with that of the hide, which weighed 200 pounds; bones, which weighed 85 pounds; and the gut pile, which he estimated at 100 pounds. He came up with a combined weight of roughly 850 pounds.

"That's big, especially for a spring bear," he said.

Selinger said measurements also confirmed this bear was bigger than many he has seen.

"Its skull measurements (initially) tapped out at 29 and 416 inches," he said.

The Boone and Crockett Club, which maintains an official measurement and scoring system for trophy big game animals, lists a score of 301216 inches for the world record Alaska brown bear - a bruin killed in Kodiak in 1952.

However, the Boone and Crockett Club does not record bears shot in defense of life or property. Selinger also pointed out that even if the bear's measurements could be submitted by the hunters for consideration, the club requires skulls to dry for 60 days before final measurements are submitted and some shrinking occurs during this period.

He said that just a few days after the bear was killed, the taxidermist used by Fish and Game to preserve the hide and skull measured the skull at 28515 inches.

Thomas McDonough, an assistant area biologist at Fish and Game in Homer, used the numbers tattooed on the inside of the bear's lips to learn what he could from a Fish and Game database.

McDonough said the bear, born in 1987, was captured in July 2000 about five miles south of Funny River Road, between Funny River and the Funny River Horse Trail - miles from where the bear was killed, north of Mackey Lake Road.

The bear was likely captured as part of a research project, McDonough said.

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