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Fred Lutger’s Tips For A P&Y Bear

Fred Lutger

Fred Lutger with a Trophy Bear – Ontario, Canada

In order to bag a big trophy bear, one that would qualify for the ‘Pope and Young’ or ‘Boone and Crocket’ record book, there are a few things you can do to swing the odds in your favor…

Be selective – If you truly want a trophy animal, don’t fill your tag on a smaller bear. Know what a big bear is. – This sounds easy, but seeing a bear in the wild and judging his size is very difficult. Prior to your hunt visit sporting goods stores that might have a full mount of a black bear. Also check out black bears at museums, wildlife parks and zoos. Look for a ferrule on the bears forehead. – This indentation will be visible running from the forehead straight back along the top of the bears head between his ears. The older and bigger a black bear gets the more prominent this indentation is. Hunt where there are big bears. – Again, this can be hard to determine but there are two good indicators; find out how big the Bear Management Area the outfitter has. It must be big enough to support a continuous hunting program. Too small an area will not let the bears reach a good mature age to reach record book size. And ask to see pictures of recent bears taken {within the last two years}. All outfitters can accumulate impressive pictures over the years, but what potential does his area have for his next hunt? Look for front paw prints that have a pad wider than 4 inches. – A pad that measures 5 inches or better will usually be a bear of record book size. Place wet sand around the bait you are hunting to get these prints.

– Canine Tooth Spread –

Canine tooth spread can be a good indicator of record book potential. I’ve found that measuring tip to tip spread of a black bear’s top canine teeth will give you a quick indicator of the bears record book potential. To get this measurement, put peanut butter or honey on a Styrofoam or plastic plate left at the bait site. Check for bite marks left by scavenging bears. Almost any puncture marks left by the canines over 2 inches wide will be a Pope and Young bear with an 18″ skull measurement.

– How to Measure a Bear Skull –

Measure the width at the widest point and the length, front to back, without the bottom jaw. These two measurements added together, to the closest one sixteenth inch, will be your bears score.

– Requirements & Facts for Bear Hunting in Ontario –

At the time of this article, a non-resident license to hunt black bear is $150 Canadian; however you should check on current pricing. Non-residents must have a Black Bear Hunting License Validation Certificate, generally issued by the outfitter where you hunt. You must show proof of prior hunting experience to hunt in Ontario, a current or expired hunting license will suffice. Successful hunters must register their bear with the Ministry of Natural Resources and you must obtain an export permit to transport your bear out of Canada.

For additional information write, visit or telephone the District/Area Office nearest to where you plan to hunt.

– For a Current Copy of Ontario Hunting Regulations –

Ministry of Natural Resources
435 James Street S., Box 5000
Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7C 5G6
Phone 807-475-1471

– To Order Maps –

Natural Resources Information Centre Room M1-73, Macdonald Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C1
Phone 416-314-1666


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