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Q:
My week long New Jersey black bear hunt ended yesterday. I hunted everyday and saw six bears and eight deer. My trail camera had over eight hundred photos of bears, two weeks before the season. Two huge boars were also seen in many of my night photos. On opening day morning a black bear came in to my bait pile, at 6:22am. It was a half hour before legal shooting light. The moon was 3/4 full. I could see him clear in my scope. I could hear him crushing apples as he ate. I choose not to shoot because it was not legal time. The bear stood broadside and ate for sixteen minutes. He left at 6:38 in the morning. I posted my trail camera photo of this bear that first morning, in the F&S Trophy Room. I have two questions. How much do you think he weights and would you of taken the moon light shot?

Question by Gary Devine. Uploaded on December 09, 2012

Answers (14)

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from Jim in Mo wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

No because as you said, it was before shooting time and it was by moolight. Your going to have to track that bear would you feel safe on your shot?

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I will not even pretend to be a good judge of bear size but my guess would be 275-300lbs.

As for your question of shooting in low light conditions. I have very poor eyesight and have difficulty seeing in low light. Anymore you will find me headed for the truck as soon as light begins to fade.

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

That's a huge bear. 300+ lbs. I held off on a shot tonight because it was 1 minute past shooting light.

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from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

No. If it is not legal, don't do it. if some guy came up to me and said he shot a huge bear during shooting light i'd be impressed. if he told me he shot it before shooting light, i would be....agitated.

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from Hobob wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You have to pass the shot because its unethical and illegal both. Its only really a trophy to you, so good job not ruining it. The story is better this way anyhow.

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from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

especially so far ahead of shooting light.

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from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

like Hobob said......be an ethical hunter and do what you know is right.

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from Gary Devine wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I was told when a bear has small stubby legs and is all body, he a big bear. My trail cam got sixteen photos of him that opening day morning. I set the trail camera to take a photo every minute. I just posted three bear photos, in the F&S final trail cam contest. Check out the two large boars standing face to face. I posted contest photo numbers 226, 227 and 228. The big brusier boars are photo 228.

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from jhjimbo wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I am going to say the bear is heavier than the others are saying. I have gotten bears in the Adirondaks and like you said, short looking legs, low belly , heavy looking neck and small looking head in relation to the front of bear. my guess is it is in the 550 range. i have seen them at the taxidermist up to 700lbs and yours is on the heavy side. nice looking bear and no, i would not have shot it. I passed up a bigger one than that by Raquette Lake because it was moving and i did not want to wound it. Also, if you hit one standing still they will likely drop in their tracks but if moving they can go for a long, long ways.

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from steve182 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Gary, you did the right thing waiting for legal shooting light. That is a 400 lb bear. I was involved in a few successful bear hunt involving bears ranging from 160 - 285 lbs. That bear is much larger than those 285# bears(2) that i spoke of.

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Gary you did the right thing. It isn't a ethical issue as some suggested it is a legal issue. Temptation and restraint is a powerful instinct to overcome and gain. We are all tempted as you were and we all have had to make a decision whether to do something we wouldn't normally do, your decision from there is what makes you a legal or illegal hunter. For me it is easy, no animal is worth me finacially burdening me or my family. I can't afford to lose my guns, truck, pay a fine, or do time in jail because I want a wall hanger. It isn't worth the risk plain and simple. Restraint is something valuable that is a double edged sword. I have been in situations where I could have taken a big buck but held off due to time and risky shot, I have yet to mount a buck. I know one day it will pay off, no matter how hard it to practice restraint. Finally remember there is always eyes on you no matter how secluded you think yo are. Around here the game wardens work 24/7 24hrs a day and they do alot of night work to catch people participating in illegal activities, not to mention the land owners and the technologies afforded to hunters, landowners, and the law enforcement. Game cameras are a great tool for hunters and everyone else. Keep that in mind next time your tempted.

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from Gary Devine wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Steve182,
Your close most bears weight in at the Fish and Game checking stations are between 140 to 225. That is word for word, from the Fish and Wildlife employee last year, in Franklin, New Jersey. She told me my bear last year was big, weighing at 250, live weight. I bagged four bears within that weight range listed above, and two were taken with a bow. Now, I waiting for the "Big Boars". Most of the time, the giant bears, move during the hours of darkness. That is why I passed on six aveage bears this year and got skunked. That's Hunting and I no regrets!

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You did the right thing in not shooting but it must have been tough. That looks like a big bear! I am no expert and have only taken one but that looks like a whopper.
Just curious about how others do things. In MN the prevailing wisdom is you only go in to the bait in the afternoon and hunt till dark. Do you worry about bumping bears off the bait going in before sunrise? Has that ever happened to you?

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from rickyno5 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Yeah he's a bruiser, I'd say between 325 and 350. Good job on not shooting though. It'll happen one day and it'll be all the sweeter having been patient for it

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from Gary Devine wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Steve182,
Your close most bears weight in at the Fish and Game checking stations are between 140 to 225. That is word for word, from the Fish and Wildlife employee last year, in Franklin, New Jersey. She told me my bear last year was big, weighing at 250, live weight. I bagged four bears within that weight range listed above, and two were taken with a bow. Now, I waiting for the "Big Boars". Most of the time, the giant bears, move during the hours of darkness. That is why I passed on six aveage bears this year and got skunked. That's Hunting and I no regrets!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

No because as you said, it was before shooting time and it was by moolight. Your going to have to track that bear would you feel safe on your shot?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I will not even pretend to be a good judge of bear size but my guess would be 275-300lbs.

As for your question of shooting in low light conditions. I have very poor eyesight and have difficulty seeing in low light. Anymore you will find me headed for the truck as soon as light begins to fade.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

That's a huge bear. 300+ lbs. I held off on a shot tonight because it was 1 minute past shooting light.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

No. If it is not legal, don't do it. if some guy came up to me and said he shot a huge bear during shooting light i'd be impressed. if he told me he shot it before shooting light, i would be....agitated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hobob wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You have to pass the shot because its unethical and illegal both. Its only really a trophy to you, so good job not ruining it. The story is better this way anyhow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

especially so far ahead of shooting light.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mdhunter1 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

like Hobob said......be an ethical hunter and do what you know is right.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I was told when a bear has small stubby legs and is all body, he a big bear. My trail cam got sixteen photos of him that opening day morning. I set the trail camera to take a photo every minute. I just posted three bear photos, in the F&S final trail cam contest. Check out the two large boars standing face to face. I posted contest photo numbers 226, 227 and 228. The big brusier boars are photo 228.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I am going to say the bear is heavier than the others are saying. I have gotten bears in the Adirondaks and like you said, short looking legs, low belly , heavy looking neck and small looking head in relation to the front of bear. my guess is it is in the 550 range. i have seen them at the taxidermist up to 700lbs and yours is on the heavy side. nice looking bear and no, i would not have shot it. I passed up a bigger one than that by Raquette Lake because it was moving and i did not want to wound it. Also, if you hit one standing still they will likely drop in their tracks but if moving they can go for a long, long ways.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Gary, you did the right thing waiting for legal shooting light. That is a 400 lb bear. I was involved in a few successful bear hunt involving bears ranging from 160 - 285 lbs. That bear is much larger than those 285# bears(2) that i spoke of.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Gary you did the right thing. It isn't a ethical issue as some suggested it is a legal issue. Temptation and restraint is a powerful instinct to overcome and gain. We are all tempted as you were and we all have had to make a decision whether to do something we wouldn't normally do, your decision from there is what makes you a legal or illegal hunter. For me it is easy, no animal is worth me finacially burdening me or my family. I can't afford to lose my guns, truck, pay a fine, or do time in jail because I want a wall hanger. It isn't worth the risk plain and simple. Restraint is something valuable that is a double edged sword. I have been in situations where I could have taken a big buck but held off due to time and risky shot, I have yet to mount a buck. I know one day it will pay off, no matter how hard it to practice restraint. Finally remember there is always eyes on you no matter how secluded you think yo are. Around here the game wardens work 24/7 24hrs a day and they do alot of night work to catch people participating in illegal activities, not to mention the land owners and the technologies afforded to hunters, landowners, and the law enforcement. Game cameras are a great tool for hunters and everyone else. Keep that in mind next time your tempted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

You did the right thing in not shooting but it must have been tough. That looks like a big bear! I am no expert and have only taken one but that looks like a whopper.
Just curious about how others do things. In MN the prevailing wisdom is you only go in to the bait in the afternoon and hunt till dark. Do you worry about bumping bears off the bait going in before sunrise? Has that ever happened to you?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rickyno5 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Yeah he's a bruiser, I'd say between 325 and 350. Good job on not shooting though. It'll happen one day and it'll be all the sweeter having been patient for it

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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