Find the best places to hunt Grizzly Bear in Canada and discover the Grizzly Bear's Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Provinces with Grizzly Bear Hunting

Yukon Resident and Non-Resident
North West Territories Resident and Non-Resident
British Columbia

Resident and Non-Resident -

Non-Resident To End 

Nov. 30, 2017

Alberta Has a Population but No Season

Selecting a Calibre for Grizzly Bear

 Vital Shot Placement for Grizzly Bear

 Vital Shot Placement for Grizzly Bear

Original Photo by: Pixabay

Modified by:

If you presently own a rifle chambered for the .270 Winchester, 7mm-08, .308 Winchester or .30-06 and can place all of your shots in an 8-inch circle out to 200 yards from a sitting or kneeling position you can be a successful Grizzly Bear hunter. Premium quality rounds that are designed to pass completely through the heart-lung area of the bear are your best choice.

The top two complaints of professional guides relate to hunters who do not practice enough with their firearms are not able to accurately fire their rifle and miss or worse yet wound and lose their quarry. The second of the two, being the physical condition that the hunter is in.

The preference of guides is a hunter that comes to camp with their trusty .270 or .30-06 rifle loaded with 200- or 220-grain Nosler® or similar premium bullet that they can shoot well. They don’t like hunter bringing a shiny new magnum in .300, .338 or larger class that has been fired enough to get it sighted-in. If you are going to hunt brown bear on the Alaska Peninsula or Kodiak Island only consider using a magnum if you can shoot it as well as you can the .30-06. 


Grizzly Bear Tracks

Grizzly bear tracks will display long claw in comparison to Black Bears short claws.

 Grizzly Bear Paws


  • 7.0" - 13.0" (17.8 - 33.0 cm) long
  • 4.9" - 8.75 " (12.5 - 22.2 cm) wide


  • 10.0" - 12.0" (25.4 - 30.5 cm) long
  • 4.5" - 8.75" (11.4 - 22.2 cm) wide

Trail Width

  • 10.0" - 16.0" (25.4 - 40.6 cm)

 Original Photo By: Beverly - Flickr

Photo Cropped by:




 Grizzly Bear Scat
 Grizzly Bear Scat
 Photo By: Chris DeRham - Flickr




Range - Distribution and Habitat of Grizzly Bears in Canada

Grizzly Bear Range Map of Canada

Grizzly Bear Range Map of Canada
  • Original map of Canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Modified By:

Canada has one of the worlds' most sustainable Grizzly Bear populations. The majority of Canada's 20,000 brown bears dwell in Alberta with the balance occupying the Nunavut, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. The most northern sighting of a Grizzly Bear was on Melville Island in the high Arctic in 2003 by researchers from the University of Alberta.

Unqualified observations suggest that the Grizzly May be expanding its territory northwards and eastwards in Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Saskatchewan, and northern Manitoba.

Prior to 2012, COSEWIC assessed that the bear occupying the Prairies were a independent population. However, the 2012 report now considers to be part of the Western population.

The Grizzly once occupied a portion of northern Quebec and Labrador known as the Ungava or Labrador Grizzly Bears. However, that population is now extinct.

Also extinct is the prairie population of Grizzly Bears is of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It was extinguished through human intolerance, market hunting, rapid conversion of habitat to agricultural fields, and loss of key prey (buffalo).

Province Population
Nunavut 1,500
Northwest Territories 3,500
Yukon 6,000
British Columbia 15,000
Alberta 691
Saskatchewan Unknown
Manitoba Unknown
 COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Grizzly Bear Ursus arctos in Canada – 2012

The data on grizzlies has been tracked with radio colors and it has been found that with the exception of mating season and sows with cubs, the Grizzly is a solitary mammal. Its home range depends upon its sex, age, and the ability of the habitat to support more than one of the species. Boars will range 900 to 1,800 Km2 while sows range 200 to 600 km2. 

Along coastal areas, grizzlies gather for the annual salmon run around the streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds that will provide the best opportunity of cashing in on this source of easy food. It should be pointed out that there is no social interaction at this time as competition for the best fishing holes is fierce.

Over the course of a year, male Grizzlies sometimes travel as far as 250 km, as the crow flies. They have also shown that bears that have been relocated after getting into conflicts with humans (usually associated with food attractants) can return from distances of more than 800 km to their capture site where they had previously been in conflict.  

The type of terrain will significantly define the bear's home range. In some mountainous areas, you May find the boars will take the best areas like the valley bottoms of drainage systems and the best and most accessible mountain passes. Leaving the more difficult landscapes of upper slopes and basins to solitary juveniles and sows with cubs. 

Grizzly Bears are habitat generalists and can be found from sea level to high-elevation alpine environments. In Canada, they occupy habitats as diverse as temperate coastal rain forests, semi-desert arctic tundra, boreal forests, and subalpine forests. Suitable grizzly habitat must provide an adequate food supply, appropriate denning sites, and isolation from human disturbance. The habitat associations of the Grizzly Bear are strongly seasonal; the consumption of a wide variety of plants is important for many Grizzly Bears so their movements often reflect the development of the local plant community. In mountainous areas vegetation emerges earlier at lower elevations; bears, therefore, descend from their denning sites to feed in the spring and return later in the season to higher elevations.

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos ssp.)

Description of Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bear Boars Sows
Life Span 22-26 years average
Shoulder Height 102 cm (3.35 ft)
Overall Length 198 cm (6.50 ft)
Weight 180–360 kg (400–790 lb) 130–180 kg (290–400 lb)
Weight at Birth 500 grams (1.1 lb)
Antlers Not applicable Not applicable
Hearing Their hearing is very sensitive, especially to high-pitched sounds.
Eyes  Bears see in color and have sharp vision close-up. Long range vision unknown.
Dental Formula  I3/3, C1/1, PM 2-4/2-4, M 2/3 = 34-42)
Body Temperature Normal 100°–101°F (37.7°–38.3°C) - 88 F while in hibernation
Feet Large foot with 5 toes and claws.
Can Travel 35 m/hr, 56 km/hr.
Diet Carnivora / omnivore: plants, fruits, nuts, insects, honey, salmon, small mammals and carrion
Sexual Maturity 3-5 years.
Breeding Time Sows mate every third year in Late May to early July
Gestation N/A 180-270 days
Birthing N/A January
# in Litter N/A 1-4 cubs; generally 2
Weaning 5 months of age

Referring to the golden and gray tips of the hair or "fear-inspiring" feature, Lewis & Clark first named this bear the grisley or "grizzly", which could have meant "grizzled". The Grizzly Bear was later classified by naturalist George Ord in 1815 – not for the texture of its fur, but rather for the bears character – as Ursus horribilis ("terrifying bear"). And scientists simply refer to it as the North American brown bear.

Grizzly Bear Description

Description of Grizzly Bear

Photo From: Pixabay

Modified by:

At one time, it was thought that there were 5 different species of brown bears. Coastal grizzlies and Kodiak Grizzly Bears were once considered a different species from grizzlies because they were larger and darker in color than inland grizzlies. But now they are all called North American brown bears. 

The grizzly can be any color from blonde, to red, to dark brown, and even black. Silver-tipped hairs can give them a “grizzled” appearance. Distinguishing features include, a prominent hump over the shoulder, the rump is lower than the shoulder, long front claws (2-4 inches in length for digging) and a concave face. The average weight of an adult female grizzly bear is 130–180 kg (290–400 lb), while the average weight of an adult male is 180–360 kg (400–790 lb). The average total length in this subspecies is 198 cm (6.50 ft), with an average shoulder height of 102 cm (3.35 ft) and a hind foot length of 28 cm (11 in). Newborn cubs come into being at a weight of less than 500 grams (1.1 lb). Mature female grizzlies are smaller and can weigh as little as 100 kg (220 lb).

An occasional huge male grizzly has been recorded which greatly exceeds ordinary size, with weights reported up to 680 kg (1,500 lb). A large coastal male of this size would possibly stand 3 meters (9.8 ft) tall while on its hind legs and be up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in height, at the shoulder.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears in Blueberry Patch 
 Grizzlies in Blueberry Patch
 Photo From:

The grizzly is of the order Carnivora and has the digestive system of a carnivore (meat eater). They are, however, normally omnivores with plants making up 80 to 90 percent of its diet.

Grizzlies will prey on mammals and migrating salmon, where they are available, but on the whole, they rely on vegetation as their primary food source as their diet consists of both plants and animals.

It is common for them to prey on the young, calves and fawns of mammals such as moose, elk, caribou, white-tailed deer, mule deer, bighorn sheep, bison, and even black bears. Though they are more likely to take calves and injured individuals when they can. Even a sow has the power to take down a healthy mature bull caribou or elk that has mistakenly decided to stand its ground and fight.

In coastal areas, they grow larger than their inland counterparts. Here the Grizzly Bears gather in large numbers and compete for a fishing site to feed on spawning salmon. They will also feed on fish such as salmon, trout, and bass. Using their good sense of smell, Grizzly Bears from a great distance are able to detect and readily scavenge food or carrion left behind by other animals. A Grizzly that finds this type of food source generally remains nearby until it is completely gone or the bear is displaced from the site by a large more aggressive bear. Birds and their eggs are also fall on their list of foods eaten. Given the opportunity of a meal of insects grubs. Adult insects such as ants, ladybird beetles, and bees are eaten. Similarly, Grizzly Bears that live on the Arctic tundra feed heavily on arctic ground squirrels.

Adult males are known to be cannibals and will kill cubs and juvenile Grizzly Bears, for this reason, females and subadults endeavor stay clear of males. 



By Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA (Hedysarum boreale  Uploaded by Tim1357) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


When Mountain Grizzlies come out of hibernation, they will visit avalanche slides and meadows in search of newly exposed vegetation. Here they can be seen foraging for roots of the legume Hedysarum, a plant root that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and minerals.  Not only is this plant widely consumed in April and May, but it is often used as an alternate for berries in late summer and autumn during years when berry crops fail. Thus the Hedysarum May be the single most important food source in much of the Grizzly Bear range.

With the progression of spring into summer, hair-grass, horsetails, mountain sorrel, and other leafy plants form an important part of the bears’ diet.

When berry crops come into season over the Grizzly Bear's home range, berries become a very important item to the bears’ diet. This food source is often responsible for a bear to attain the fat deposits necessary for survival through hibernation. Buffalo berries, blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries, Saskatoon berries, and crowberries are some of the more popular berries.

Like all bears, Grizzly Bears are a creature of opportunity and will not miss out on a free meal of food and garbage carelessly left out by people. Bears, in general, can become habitual visitors to campsites and dumps when the reward is an easy meal of people food. Although such foods May be nutritious seem to be plentiful, it is never enough for a bear. This unwise practice often leads to an eventual confrontation between the bear and humans. And the results can be tragic for both parties and the bear being the biggest looser in the long run. 

Breeding and Reproduction of Grizzly Bears.

 Grizzly Sow with her cubs

 Grizzly with cubs
 Photo By Denali National Park and Preserve [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Due to numerous ecological factors, Grizzly Bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of all land based mammals in North America.  

Grizzly Bears do not reach sexual maturity until they are at least five years old and female will only produce offspring every second year.

On average, females produce two cubs in a litter and the mother cares for the cubs for up to two years, during which the mother will not mate.

In the summer, once a sow has been impregnated by a male, implantation of the embryo is delayed by the sow until hibernation. Miscarriage can occur during hibernation if the female did not receive the proper nutrients and caloric intake.

Once the embryo is implanted, the gestation period for sows egg is approximately 180–250 days and the cubs weigh about 500 grams (1 lb) at birth in the mother’s den. The size of the litter can be between one to four cubs but 2 or 3 is the average size of the litter. Female grizzlies are fiercely protective of their cubs and will attack if she thinks she or her cubs are threatened. The mother is capable of fending off predators as large as male bears in defense of the cubs.

At first, cubs feed exclusively on their mother's milk and that continues until the summer comes, after which time they still drink milk but will also begin to eat solid foods. The cubs gain weight rapidly during the two years that it spends with its mother.

Depending on environmental conditions, once the young leave or are killed, females may not produce another litter for three or more years.

Male Grizzly Bears have large territories, up to 4,000 km2(1,500 sq mi), making finding a female scent difficult in such low population densities.

Status of Grizzly Bears in Canada

 Mock Battle

 Two grizzlies sparring
 Photo From: Pixabay

The Grizzly Bear is, by nature, a long-living animal with sows living slightly longer to 26 rather than a males age of 22. This longer life is attributed to the fact that their life is less dangerous than a males life because it does not have to engage in the seasonal breeding fights males engage in. The oldest wild inland grizzly recorder was in Alaska at 34 years, the oldest coastal bear was 39 years old, captive grizzlies have lived as long as 44 years, but most grizzlies die in their first few years of life from predation or hunting.

In some jurisdictions, Grizzlies are hunted primarily as game animals throughout western Canada in both spring and fall. In addition, each year conservation officers capture or kill some as predators or when they become a threat to people.

While there are areas where Grizzlies and humans coexist, they tend to thrive mostly in relatively undisturbed areas. People are the biggest threat to the Grizzly. It suffers the greatest impact not from hunting, but from the continual increase of our population and the resulting erosion of Grizzly habitat. Only through a better understanding of the Grizzly’s requirements and by seeking better ways to coexist can Canadians ensure that this bear will remain part of our living heritage and not just a picture in a book.

On the whole, Grizzlies are not reliable hosts for parasites. Their few internal tapeworms and roundworms are mostly eliminated during the winter dormant period when the bear’s digestive system is inactive, and the animal usually carries only a few external fleas and ticks. Moreover, infections from wounds received either in hunting or fighting are rare, and the Grizzly living in the wild is relatively free of diseases.



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