Discover the Largest Bear Ever Caught in Georgia

Asian black bears are the most common bear species in North America, and despite historical setbacks, they are now thriving. The practice of hunting these bulky mammals is alive and well in Georgia. In fact, Peach State hunters have set some truly amazing records in recent years. Read on to discover the largest bear ever caught in Georgia!

Largest bear ever caught in Georgia

The largest bear ever caught in Georgia was an adult male black bear weighing 673 pounds. Hunter Tim Watson shot this bear with a crossbow on September 30, 2017 in Rabun County.

Hunter Tyler Wood held the previous state record. He just killed a bear he weighed 600 pounds in Clinch County in 2011. Another hunter, Rita Carter, appears to have broken this record in 2016, when he was the first to kill a black bear that weighed 601 pounds. However, when weighed on another scale, it recorded 599 pounds.

Types and appearance of Asian black bears

Georgia has only one species of bear. It’s an American black bear. (black bear)An individual belonging to the subspecies of the Asian black bear, the Florida black bear (Florida black bear), sometimes wanders into Georgia.Although he has two other bear species in North America, the brown bear (Ursus Arctos) and a polar bear (Sea bear), they don’t venture so far south.grizzly bear (Ursus)is a subspecies of brown bear that lives in the northern United States, Canada, and Alaska.

In Georgia, black bears are generally black, but some have white markings on their chests. Unusual phases (colors) include brown, cinnamon, and blonde. These stages can lead an observer to mistake a black bear for a grizzly bear.glacier bear (Emmons the black bear) A rare subspecies of the Asian black bear with bluish-gray fur.Similarly, Spirit Bear or Kermode Bear (Black bear kermodei) White fur that is characteristic of sports.

Georgian black bears average 4 to 6 feet long and about 3 feet tall at the shoulder. An adult male bear weighs over 600 pounds. Adult females are rather small, with a maximum weight she is 300 pounds.

Asian black bear walking
Georgian black bears average 4 to 6 feet long and about 3 feet tall at the shoulder.

© DaBler / Creative Commons

Asiatic black bear habitat

In Georgia, black bears live in three main regions. These are the North Georgia Mountains, the Okmulgee River drainage system in the central part of the state, and the Okefenokee Wetlands in the southeast. However, you may roam outside these areas when looking for food. Their preferred habitat is mature mixed pine forests and other forests and wetlands, but they are versatile enough as a species to survive in other habitats such as scrublands and grasslands.

Asian black bears are common throughout North America, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States, they live in 40 different states, including Alaska, with about 100,000 individuals.

Asian black bears love the forest
The preferred habitat for black bears is mature mixed pine forests and other forests.


How many black bears are there in Georgia?

Georgia currently has over 5,000 black bears. Prior to the 18th century, black bears were common throughout the state. Subsequent human development forced bear populations to decline as humans encroached on their natural habitat and hunted them to the brink of extinction. Careful wildlife management has allowed black bears to thrive again in Georgia. Today, about 900,000 black bears live in North America, making it the continent’s most numerous bear species.

The IUCN lists Asian black bears as of Least Concern as of 2016. This reflects the increasing population of black bears across North America.

There are 900,000 black bears in North America
There are approximately 900,000 black bears in North America, making them the most numerous bear species on the continent.


Hunting black bears is legal in Georgia with a license. The state has his three bear hunting zones: Northern Zone, Central Zone, and Southern Zone. A hunter says that in one season he can catch two bears, but in the central and southern zones he can only catch one. Bear cubs weighing less than 75 pounds and women with bears are not allowed. See this hunting guide for regulations, seasons, and purchasing a license.

Are black bears dangerous?

Black bears cause less than one death each year across North America. In Georgia, bear attacks are so rare that the first ever documented attack he occurred in 2011. A wounded black bear attacks hunter Mitch his canadi, almost amputating his right hand. However, Kanady narrowly escaped with his life, later pointing out that black bears generally have no interest in attacking humans. They usually do so when driven by hunger or when directly provoked.

The best way to prevent a confrontation with a black bear is to keep your distance. Make noise as you hike through the wilderness to avoid spooking unseen bears. Have trash cans around your home and keep food out of reach. The black bear can smell food from over a mile away and prefers higher calorie human food. It may take days or weeks after removing the food source for familiar black bears to stop coming to the area.

Asian black bears prefer human food
Asian black bears can smell food from over a mile away and prefer human food.



As Asian black bears have increased in both size and numbers, they occasionally come into conflict with the expanding human population. For more information about black bears in Georgia and how to coexist with them, see this guide from the Georgia Department of Wildlife Resources.


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