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Manitoba Hunting Guide

Manitoba Conservation Data Centre

Big Game Hunting

Black Bear

Identifying Female Black Bears

On average, in the spring, an adult male will typically weigh about 80 -90 kg (175-200 lbs), while an adult female will be 55-70 kg (125-150 lbs) and a yearling, 15-30 kg (35-60 lbs). Large males, 115+ kg (250+ lbs) will measure 30 cm (1 foot) taller than a 170 litre (45 gallon) bait barrel that's lying on its side. To assist hunters to differentiate between a female and male black bear, the following characteristics are presented:

Adult females tend to:

  • be smaller and leaner looking
  • appear as long as they are tall
  • have elongated muzzles, flatter looking foreheads and bigger looking ears
  • have a tuft of gathered hair angling down and outward from the vulva, which is immediately below the tail
  • urinate toward the rear
  • be more cautious entering a bait site
  • have enlarged mammaries when nursing
  • have a visible vulva when "in heat" - peak being June

Adult males tend to:

  • have blockier, more rectangular bodies
  • have big-looking front feet
  • have wider, rounder and muscular heads, necks and shoulders, and ears that look smaller and farther apart
  • have a crease or furrow running down the centre of the forehead
  • have a penis sheath hanging down in front of the hind legs
  • have testicles between the hind legs
  • urinate toward the front
  • be less cautious entering a bait site