Monster bear shot by Florida hunter near OrrThe bear, taken by a Florida hunter who was not using a guide, weighed 662 pounds field-dressed on Sunday at Bob Christianson’s Gannon Ridge Taxidermy in International Falls.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
Jimmy Knutson at Jim’s Ash Trail Store in Orr says it’s the “year of the big bear.”
Apparently none so far is bigger than one he registered – and tried to weigh – on Saturday. The bear, taken by a Florida hunter who was not using a guide, weighed 662 pounds field-dressed on Sunday at Bob Christianson’s Gannon Ridge Taxidermy in International Falls, Christianson said.
The bear was 7.5-feet long with a 36-inch neck, Knutson said. It was taken in the Ash Lake area, Knutson and Christianson said. The hunter, Craig Harnden of Inglis, Fla., had never hunted bears before, Christianson said. He took the bear with a rifle.
Karen Noyce, a bear research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, had one word for Harnden’s bear.
“Huge,” she said.
She said the largest Minnesota bear she could recall was taken about 20 years ago.
“A teenager shot a bear that field-dressed at 684 or something like that,” Noyce said.
The largest bear that DNR wildlife research officials have handled was a bit more than 500 pounds, live weight, Noyce said.
In September 1993, a black bear named Duffy was weighed at 848 pounds (live weight) at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr, said Dennis Udovich of Gheen, president of the American Bear Association, which operates the Vince Shute sanctuary.
“This has been, hands down, the year of the big bear,” Knutson said. “We’ve had the biggest bears we’ve ever had in. The previous biggest was 405 pounds (field-dressed). This year, we’ve had a 430, a 425, and this one.”
He tried to weigh the bear on the scale at the Ash Trail Store, but that scale went only to 500 pounds. So Harnden took the bear to Christianson’s taxidermy shop in International Falls Sunday.
Christianson said one revolution of his scale goes to 550 pounds, but it is accurate up to another one-half revolution.
“So it should be a fairly close weight,” he said.
The bear was wearing 9 inches of fat on its back, Christianson said. Bear records are kept according to the size of their skulls. Christianson said he didn’t think the bear’s skull would be large enough for a record.