Sergei Shushunov Russian bear hunt
Russia is blessed with the largest brown bear population in the world. Brown bear is one of the most widespread, well-known and popular animals in Russia. Due to strict enforcment of law brown bear population in Russia reached approximately 150,000. Russia has as many brown bears as the rest of the other countries combined, being of the reasons so many hunters dream about russian bear hunt. Bears are distributed throughout Russia unevenly. The European Region Northwest of Russia, Kamchatka peninsula and the coastal regions of the Pacific have the highest density of the animals. Brown bear is an elusive and aggressive animal. Hunting bears is difficult and the methods vary greatly from region to region, depending on the habits of the local bears and terrain. After much debate and pressure from international hunting community den hunts, one of the oldest and most popular ways of hunting bears in Russsia was ended in 2012. Now Russian bear hunting is limited to Spring and Fall seasons.
It is believed that Ursus arctos colonized America from Asia. Not surprisingly, brown bears of the Old World show much higher diversity in appearance and behavior than their descendants in USA and Canada. It is possible that this species is undergoing further changes before our very eyes. Unlike in North America, where brown bears seem to prefer open landscapes, in Eurasia they inhabit mostly dense forests. One possible reason for this difference is that the particular population that invaded America thousands of years ago was tundra-adapted. In fact, Chukotka Peninsula on the Asian side of Bering Strait is the only place in Asia where brown bears live year-round in lowland tundra.
Five subspecies of brown bear are found throughout Russia.
KAMCHATKA BROWN BEAR
Ursus arctos beringianus
(Far Eastern brown bear)
DESCRIPTION & TAXONOMY
These Giant bears are very similar to Kodiak bears of Alaska, but tend to be darker. Head and body length is up to 10 feet (305 cm), tail length 6-1/2 to 8-1/2 inches (16.5 to 21.6 cm), shoulder height 50-53 inches (127 to 135 cm). As with the Alaska brown bear, the Kamchatka brown bear grows large because of its abundant and protein-rich diet of spawning salmon and other fish in the coastal rivers, and from the comparatively mild climate that permits a shorter period of hibernation. It is a very large, dark bear with a massive skull. The forehead is broad and rather steeply elevated over the relatively short nose. The coat is long, dense and soft. The color varies from pale yellow to blackish-brown and dull black, but dark individuals predominate. The legs are usually the same color as the body. The claws are dark brown, some times with light yellowish streaks at the tips, and are up to four inches (100 mm) in length. The largest specimens are found in Kamchatka and on the Shantar islands. In fact, a recent hunting expedition to the Shantar islands reported seeing unusually large number of bears in a 10 ft. range. Includes the races beringianus (Shantar Islands) and piscator (Kamchatka). The record bear was obtained in Kamchatka and scored 29.5 inches.
Far eastern Siberia, where it is found on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Karaginskiy Island, and northward throughout the Koryak Autonomous District. Also in the coastal strip west of the Sea of Okhotsk and east of the coastal mountains as far south as Uda bay, on the Shantar Islands and the northern Kuril Islands.
Hunting is organized in Kamchatka, Shantar islands (Okhotsk) and Magadan. In the Spring in the coastal areas bears are hunted along the shoreline, where they concentrate, looking for seafood. Inland bears are easily spotted on the hills, covered with snow. A hunter can see over 30 bears during the trip. During the Fall hunting season bears are hunted while feeding on salmon in the many rivers and creeks, or on wild berries in the surrounding tundra. The ausual size of the bears taken is around 8.0-9.0 ft in Magadan and Okhotsk and 8.5-9.5 ft. in Kamchatka. The success rate is essentially 100%. Many hunters choose to take 2 bears. 300 WinMag, 375 H&H magnum or a similar cartridge should be the minimum.
Kamchatka: end of April-May, end of August-October
Okhotsk and Magadan: May, end of August-October
AMUR BROWN BEAR
Ursus arctos lasiotus
(Ussuri brown bear, black grizzly or horse bear)
DESCRIPTION & TAXONOMY
It is smaller and darker than the Kamchatka brown bear, with a differently shaped skull and much larger teeth. The coat is often almost black in color. The skull is longer and narrower, with especially long nasal bones and it is flatter in profile, being less elevated over the nose. The ears are noticeably hairy. Consists of the following races listed by various authorities: lasiotus (northern China), cavifrons (northwestern Manchuria), mandchuricus (Primorsky Krai), jessoensis (Sakhalin), yesoensis (Hokkaido), and melanarctos (Hokkaido). The record bear, obtained in Khabarovsk region scored 27.6 inches.
Russia: Southern Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Maritime Territory, and the Ussuri/Amur river region south of the Stanovoy Range. China: Northeastern Heilongjiang. Japan: Hokkaido.
Hunting is organized in the Khabarovsk and Primorsk regions by stalking. 30-06 cartridge is the minimum
EURASIAN BROWN BEAR
Ursus arctos arctos
Head and body length is up to 8 feet (2.4 m) and more. Tail length is up to 6 inches (15.2 cm). Shoulder height 35-43 inches (89-109 cm). Weight 220-660 pounds (100-300 kg) and more. Females are about two-thirds of the size of males. This is a good-sized, powerfully built bear with a distinct shoulder hump, a large head supported by a short, muscular neck, and a concave facial profile. Overall color can vary with individual bears from light grayish-yellow to very dark brown, almost black. Juveniles may have a conspicuous pale collar. The coat lenghth depends on region and season.
This bear is solitary except when mating, and very territorial, with a large home range. They breed late May to July, with cubs born in the den from late December to February. Cubs remain with the mother two years or longer. Sexual maturity is reached at five years or later. These bears are active mainly at twilight and at night. Largely herbivorous, eating all kinds of plants. They also eat ants, insect larvae, honey, rodents, fish and carrion. Occasionally they may kill larger animals such as moose, reindeer and domestic livestock. Hibernation lasts up to 6 months. Senses of smell and hearing are excellent, eyesight not as good. This bear is a fast agile runner and an excellent swimmer. Adults are unable to climb trees because of the shape of their claws and their body weight. The records from Europe and Asia are registered separately.
Europe: The record bear scored 27.3 inches.
Asia: No trophies of the Eurasian Brown Bear are registered in SCI Record Book.
The most widespread form of brown bear in Eurasia is mainly found today in Russia, Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Smaller numbers are found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece, and remnant populations are found in Spain, France and Italy. The current estimated population of Eurasian brown bear in Russia is well over 30,000. Inhabits coniferous forests with an abundance of edible plants, frequently with steep terrain and difficult access.
We organize hunting for the European population of Eurasian bear in the North-Western part of Russia and for the Asian population in the Ural mountains and in the Eastern Siberia. These are some of the best hunts in the European part of Russia. The bear population during the past 20 years has been very stable. The usual trophy size is about 7 ft., although 8 – 8.5 ft. bears have been taken by our clients every year. This bear is usually hunted by baiting during the spring or fall, by chance encounter while hunting other game during the fall. Sometimes hunted by breaking into their dens during hibernation, which is a very dangerous and adrenalin loaded hunt. The record bear (not registered) taken in the Pskov region in 1999 had a scull measured in excess of 27 inches. The success rate is about 90%. Some hunters take more than one bear. We recommend 30-06 or similar cartridge.
April-May, end of August-Februar
SIBERIAN BROWN BEAR
Ursus arctos collaris
DESCRIPTION & TAXONOMY
The Siberian brown bear is intermediate in size between the Eurasian and Kamchatka brown bears. It is larger than the Eurasian brown bear, with more massive bones and a somewhat larger and heavier skull, but smaller than the Kamchatka brown bear The fur is long, soft and dense, it is more luxuriant than that of any other bear. The color is usually dark brown with noticeably darker legs, but will vary from light pale brown to dark brown, and some individuals will show yellowish, cinnamon or black tones. The claws are brown to blackish-brown, strongly curved, up to 3- 1/3 inches (85 mm) in length. The brown bears of the Kolyma and Anadyr basins are included in this category. They are similar to the grizzlies of North America – smaller, long-haired and aggressive. The Siberian brown bear category includes the following subspecies that have been described by various authorities: collaris (Siberia), sibiricus (Siberia), jeniseensis (Krasnoyarsk region), kolymensis (Kolyma River), and baikalensis (lrkutsk region).
The record trophy score is 26.8 inches. The second largest SCI tropy was taken by one of our clients.
East of the Yenisey river in most of Siberia (except for the habitat of the Kamchatka and Amur brown bears.) Also in northern Mongolia, far northern Xinjiang, and extreme eastern Kazakhstan.
We organize hunting in the Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Altai and Yakutia. These hunts usually take place in rugged and heavily forested terrain, where getting in range of the bear offers a greater challenge. The best chance to spot a bear is in the foothills of the mountains, or along the shorelines, where the forest is less dense. Spring hunts, when bears actively look for food and there is no foleage to conceal them are usually 100% sucessful. Horses and boats are used very often for transportation. Another option, baiting, is frequently used when hunting takes place in the dense forest. The average trophy is similar in size to a North American grizzly. 30-06 cartridge is the minimum.
End of August – February, end of April – beginning of June
MIDEASTERN BROWN BEAR
Ursus arctos syriacus
(Syrian brown bear, Caucasian brown bear)
DESCRIPTION & TAXONOMY
This is a smaller brown bear, considerably paler in color than the Eurasian brown, with a coarser and sparser coat. Includes the following races: syriacus (Lebanon), schmitzi (Palestine), meridionalis (Caucasus), lasistanicus (Black Sea coast), caucasicus, dinniki, smirnovi (Caucasus), and persicus (northern Iran).The color varies from pale straw to dull grayish-brown, with a large dark brown patch of long hair on the withers and sometimes a rather wide dorsal stripe extending back from it. There may be a dark brown patch on the head and sometimes there is a white collar. The claws are straighter and lighter in color than in northern races. Smaller, lighter colored bears tend to occur at higher altitudes, with larger and darker bears in the forests below. This bear is extrey aggressive towards humans.
The record was obtained in Turkey and scored 26 inches.
Turkey, Syria, Iran, and the Caucasus mountains of Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
We organize hunting for the Mideastern Brown Bear in Northern Caucasus by stalking. The hunt is physically demanding due to a difficult terrain. 30-06 or similar cartridge is adequate.
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