20 Biggest Black Bears of All Time

20 Biggest Black Bears of All Time

As one of the most popular North American species to hunt, black bears have a certain kind of mystique that captures the imagination of hunters in a primal way. They abide mainly in wooded areas, which makes the pursuit of black bears one of adventure and intrigue. Numbers have also been good in recent years, giving hunters the best chance in the last century to bring home a trophy.

But if you ask anyone who's tried to judge a black bear in the field, it is a notoriously difficult task. A wide-bodied beast lumbering through the woods before your eyes might actually have a relatively small skull, which is what Boone & Crockett measures for its world record book. If anything, that only adds to the appeal of black bear hunting.

It's in celebration of this kind of hunting heritage that B&C — established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887 — has worked so tirelessly to catalog the crowning achievements of hunters for more than a century now. Only a larger-than-life hunter and adventurer like Roosevelt could understand the lasting importance of conservation and trophy record keeping, which are very near the heart of the club he started.


To help celebrate 125 years of rich hunting tradition over at B&C — and to pay a little homage to Teddy himself — we teamed up with our friends at B&C to compile a list of the 20 biggest black bears of all time. So wax your mustache, pull out your monocle and enjoy the accomplishments of many a great hunter.


1. Cabela's

Cabela's is the owner of this 23 10/16 B&C black bear skull, which was picked up in 1975 in Sanpete County, Utah.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

2. Robert T. Christian

Robert Christian killed this 23 9/16 B&C black bear in 2011 in Monroe County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

3. Pennsylvania Game Commission

The Pennsylvania Game Commission picked up this 23 7/16 B&C black bear in 1987 Lycoming County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

4. Wade Brockman

Wade Brockman found this Monroe, Wis., black bear in 2010. It measured 23 5/15 B&C and ranks fourth all time.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

6. Andrew Seman Jr.

Andrew Seman, Jr., killed this 23 3/16 B&C black bear in 2005 in Fayette County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

5. Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr.

Rober Shuttleworth, Jr., killed this 23 3/16 B&C black bear in 1993 in Mendocino County, Calif.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

7. Kurk A. Mackrill

Kurk Mackrill killed this 23 1/16 B&C black bear in 2011 in Clark County, Wis.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

9. Jesse L. Ritchey

Jesse Ritchey killed this 22-15/16 B&C black bear in 2006 in Bedford County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

10. Craig D. Martin

Craig Martin killed this 22 15/16 B&C black bear in 1996 on Kuiu Island, Alaska.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

8. Jeremy Kresge

Jeremy Kresge killed this 22 15/16 B&C black bear in 2004 in Monroe County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

11. John J. Bathke

John Bathke killed this 22 14/16 B&C black bear in 1998 in McCreary, Manitoba.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

12. Brian J. Coxe

Brian Coxe killed this 22 14/16 B&C black bear in 2003 in Carbon County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

14. Robert J. Evans

Robert Evans killed this 22 13/16 B&C black bear in 2008 in Riding Mountain, Manitoba.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

16. Loren C. Nodolf

Loren Nodolf killed this 22 13/16 B&C black bear in 1990 in Ventura County, Calif.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

15. Joseph E. Mindick

Joseph Mindick killed this 22 13/16 B&C black bear in 1998 in Luzerne County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

17. Douglas Kristiansen

Douglas Kristiansen killed this 22 12/16 B&C black bear in 2003 Pike County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

20. Duane Helland

Duane Helland of Chippewa County, Wis., killed this massive 22 11/16 B&C in 2003.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

19. Chad M. Reed

Chad Reed killed this 22 11/16 B&C black bear in Bradford County, Pa. The bear weighed a whopping 604 pounds.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

18. Timothy R. Kiser

Timothy Kiser killed this 22 11/16 B&C black bear in 2011 in Armstrong County, Pa.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

13. George S. Mosier III

George Mosier III killed his 22 13/16 B&C trophy black bear in 2010 in Sullivan County, Pa. The illustration to the left shows Theodore Roosevelt in a famous pose — refusing to shoot a chained bear. An event like this demonstrated Roosevelt's passion for "fair chase" hunting, and it's also where the name "Teddy Bear" came from.

For more trophy records or conservation information, stop by Boone & Crockett.

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