Bears are carnivoran mammals. Common characteristics of modern Bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails. They are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Brown and American black Bears generally are active for the most part during the day, though they may forage substantially by night.

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Unlike most other land carnivorans, Bears are plantigrade. They distribute their weight toward the hind feet, which makes them look lumbering when they walk. They are capable of bursts of speed but soon tire, and as a result mostly rely on ambush rather than the chase. Bears can stand on their hind feet and sit up straight with remarkable balance. Their front paws are flexible enough to grasp fruit and leaves. Bears’ non-retractable claws are used for digging, climbing, tearing, and catching prey. The claws on the front feet are larger than those on the back and may be a hindrance when climbing trees; black Bears are the most arboreal of the Bears, and have the shortest claws.

Bears have a single type of melanin and the hairs have a single colour throughout their length, apart from the tip which is sometimes a different shade. The coat consists of long guard hairs, which form a protective shaggy covering and short dense hairs which form an insulating layer trapping air close to the skin. The shaggy coat helps maintain body heat during winter hibernation and is shed in the spring leaving a shorter summer coat.

Bears have small rounded ears so as to minimize heat loss, but neither their hearing or sight are particularly acute. Unlike many other carnivorans they have colour vision, perhaps to help them distinguish ripe nuts and fruits. They are unique among carnivorans in not having touch-sensitive whiskers on the muzzle; however, they have an excellent sense of smell, better than that of the dog, or possibly any other mammal. They use smell for signalling to each other (either to warn off rivals or detect mates) and for finding food. Smell is the principal sense used by Bears to locate most of their food, and they have excellent memories which helps them to relocate places where they have found food before.

The skull of Bears are massive, providing anchorage for the powerful masseter and temporal jaw muscles. The canine teeth are large but mostly used for display, and the molar teeth flat and crushing. Unlike most other members of the Carnivora, Bears have relatively undeveloped carnassial teeth, and their teeth are adapted for a diet that includes a significant amount of vegetable matter.

Bears have a fairly simple digestive system typical for carnivorans, with a single stomach, short undifferentiated intestines and no cecum.

Brown and American black Bears are generally diurnal, meaning that they are active for the most part during the day, though they may forage substantially by night.

Bears are overwhelmingly solitary and are considered to be the most asocial of all the Carnivora. The only times Bears are encountered in groups are mothers with young or occasional seasonal bounties of rich food (such as salmon runs). Fights between males can occur and older individuals may have extensive scarring, which suggests that maintaining dominance can be intense. With their acute sense of smell, Bears can locate carcasses from several kilometres away. They use olfaction to locate other foods, encounter mates, avoid rivals and recognize their cubs.

Bears produce a number of vocal and non-vocal sounds. Tongue-clicking, grunting or chuffing many be made in cordial situations, such as between mothers and cubs or courting couples, while moaning, huffing, snorting or blowing air is made when an individual is stressed. Barking is produced during times of alarm, excitement or to give away the animal’s position. Warning sounds include jaw-clicking and lip-popping, while teeth-chatters, bellows, growls, roars and pulsing sounds are made in aggressive encounters. Cubs may squeal, bawl, bleat or scream when in distress and make motor-like humming when comfortable or nursing.

Bears sometimes communicate with visual displays such as standing upright, which exaggerates the individual’s size. The chest markings of some species may add to this intimidating display.

Dominance between Bears is asserted by making a frontal orientation, showing the canine teeth, muzzle twisting and neck stretching. A subordinate may respond with a lateral orientation, by turning away and dropping the head and by sitting or lying down. Bears also communicate with their scent and will rub it against trees and other objects. This is usually accompanied by clawing and biting the object.

During the breeding season, males take notice of females in their vicinity and females become more tolerant of males. A male Bear may visit a female continuously over a period of several days or weeks, depending on the species, to test her reproductive state. During this time period, males try to prevent rivals from interacting with their mate. Courtship may be brief and ovulation is induced by mating, which can last up to 30 minutes depending on the species.

Gestation typically lasts 6–9 months, including delayed implantation and litter size numbers can be up to four cubs. In northern living species, birth takes place during winter dormancy. Cubs are born blind and helpless with at most a thin layer of hair, relying on their mother for warmth. The milk of the female Bear is rich in fat and antibodies and cubs may suckle for up to a year after they are born. By 2–3 months, cubs can follow their mother outside the den and usually follow her on foot. Male Bears play no role in raising young.

Bears of northern regions, including the American Black Bear and the Grizzly Bear hibernate in the winter. During hibernation, the Bear’s metabolism slows down, its body temperature decreases slightly, and its heart rate slows from a normal value of 55 to just 9 beats per minute. Bears normally do not wake during their hibernation, and can go the entire period without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating.

Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur; they have also been used for Bear-baiting and other forms of entertainment, such as being made to dance. With their powerful physical presence, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology and other cultural aspects of various human societies. In modern times, Bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats and illegal trade in Bear parts, including the Asian bile Bear market. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists six Bear species as vulnerable or endangered.


Extant Bears are found in sixty countries primarily in the Northern Hemisphere and are concentrated in Asia, North America, and Europe.

The most widespread species is the Brown Bear, which occurs from Western Europe eastwards through Asia to the western areas of North America. The American Black Bear is restricted to North America.

The ideal habitat for Black Bears is large forests and Brown Bears are primarily found in forests and mountainous woodlands.


What is Bear Taxidermy?

Bear taxidermy is the art of preserving the Bear’s skin and other body parts to produce lifelike sculptures for display, either at home as a hunting trophy or in museums for educational purposes. Skin is preserved and mounted on an artificial armature to display the specimen.

The contemporary English word “taxidermy” is derived from the Greek terms taxis, meaning “movement,” and derma, meaning “skin,” thereby combining these two meanings. This is why, in a broad sense, taxidermy is synonymous with “the motion of skin.”

For expert taxidermists, skills in sculpture, painting, and sketching are just as important as those in carpentry, woodworking, tanning, moulding, and casting.

The remaining parts of the body are synthetic replacements for real organs and tissues. Polyurethane foam is used for the manikin or form, which includes the anatomy of every muscle and vein; glass is used for the eyes; clay is used for the eyelids; for the nose and mouth the foam of the mannequin is sculptured.

Works of taxidermy can be found in a wide range of environments, including museums, classrooms, galleries, stores, restaurants, and private households, due to the complexity and delicate craftsmanship involved in the taxidermy process.

Thorough preparation is the key factor to ensuring a high-quality final product. All hides are tanned and oiled using the world’s very best available chemicals and processes to ensure permanence and longevity. Forms are selected to ensure the best fit and posture will be altered to suit you, the client’s preference without additional cost. Natural habitat bases are custom-made for full mount trophies without additional cost. Only the finest materials and 40 years of professional experience are used in defining your trophies in a whole new way. The final trophies are almost Life-Formed. When the restoration is required, every effort is made to repair cuts and abrasions, and to minimise bullet damage. Natural scarring is kept unless otherwise requested.

Hunting Bear

Bear hunting is a physically demanding activity, especially removing a harvested Bear from the woods. Pre-hunt planning is very important to a successful and rewarding Bear hunting experience.

Long before harvesting a Bear, the hunter must decide how the meat will be processed and how the hide will be used. Hunters should arrange to have help available for all aspects of handling a harvested Bear and have plans made ahead of time to ensure that the meat and hide are properly processed.

Bears have a tremendous amount of fat and a thick hide that provide great insulation. Both the meat and the hide can spoil quickly especially at temperatures above freezing. A dead Bear can be large and cumbersome. Skinning, processing and transporting a Bear are difficult tasks and may be impossible without assistance.

As a result, it is imperative that the hide be removed as soon as possible to prevent meat spoilage. In temperatures above freezing, if there is going to be a delay in getting your harvested Bear to a cooler, you should consider quartering it to allow the heavier portions to cool more quickly. Before taking your Bear out from the place it is killed, pack bags of ice in the body cavity or around the quarters. You may dismember the carcass to pack it out of the place of kill as long as all of the carcass parts are present at check in and the identity of the sex is not destroyed.

To help ensure the future of Bear hunting, and all hunting, it is incredibly important to instill respect for the outdoors and acceptable hunting ethics for all hunters. Making a clean kill as humanely as possible is a fundamental component of ethical hunting. Incorrect shot placement on a Black Bear can lead to unnecessary suffering, wounding, and failure to retrieve the animal.

Making a clean kill should be the top priority for hunters who decide to shoot a Bear. An animal that is harvested humanely shows more character in a hunter.

To be ethical, all hunters need to be proficient with their firearm or bow, understand their personal effective range, and have an understanding of basic Bear anatomy for shot placement. This will help lead to a quick and effective kill and minimize the chance for wounding the Bear.

The following are some general tips to help ensure correct shot placement:

Hunters must understand that Bears are built differently than deer and other big game animals. The chest of a Bear is compressed compared to that of a deer when looking at it from the side.

If you make a poor shot, a wounded Bear can run for considerable distances before dying. Heavy bones, hides, and fat layers may prevent quick-clotting blood from dripping and leaving a good trail, making an injured Bear hard to track.

Know your capabilities and know your shot!

A Bear’s most vital area is an 8″ circle behind the front shoulder.

Shots directly in the shoulder bone are not recommended. Bears have massive, muscular shoulders and heavy bones. A hunter who shoots ahead of the front shoulder may miss or injure the animal.

A head shot is not recommended since a Bear skull is very dense. The blunt, rounded shape can cause bullets or arrows to glance off or become lodged in the skull without penetrating.

Frontal shots or shots from directly overhead (like might occur from a tree stand) are not recommended because they offer little opportunity for penetration of the vital organs (especially with archery equipment).

NEVER take a shot you are unsure of, at a Bear that is not clearly visible, or one that is positioned in such a way that you cannot cleanly hit the vital area.

The Bear taxidermist’s process and method

When making an Bear mount, careful planning is key to getting a high-quality result. When tanning and oiling the skins, only the best chemicals and methods are used. This ensures that the skins will last for many years.

Your preferred form for the Bear will be chosen after taking your measurements into account, and the posture of your form will be changed at no extra cost. Full-mount Bear trophies come with bases made to look like the animal’s natural habitat and made just for the Bear mount.

The taxidermy process at Life-Form takes your prized Bear trophy and gives it a whole new meaning by using only the best materials and drawing on more than 40 years of experience in the field.

When repair is needed, every effort is made to fix cuts and scrapes and lessen bullet damage. Existing scars are left alone unless the client asks for them to be taken away.

Taking care of your Bear trophy

Using the helpful tips below, it’s important to take extra care of your prized Bear trophy to make sure it stays in perfect shape for years to come.

  • To keep your Bear mounts looking their best, it’s important to put them in the right place with the right temperature and humidity.
  • To keep your mounts from fading over time, try not to hang them next to a sunny window where they will be in direct sunlight for a long time. If you can, don’t put taxidermy near direct heat sources like furnace vents or wood stoves.
  • A taxidermy trophy should be handled and cared for like any other expensive and fine piece of art. Mounts should only be touched when they need to be.
  • If you want your mounts to look their best, you should dust them often and gently. A feather duster works well, and then you can wipe away any remaining dust with a damp cloth in the direction of the hair.
  • People often say that things like furniture polish work well to clean hair or fur, but you should avoid using them. Over time, these things can actually gather more dust and moisture.
  • You can also use compressed air or a vacuum with a soft brush for the scenery. Be careful to work gently and follow the natural direction of the skin.
  • Use a Q-tip dipped in glass cleaner to clean the eyes, and then use a clean, dry swab to polish them.
  • Even the most prestigious museums and trophy rooms have had items damaged by insects. Moths and tiny demisted or carpet beetles are the two types of insects that are responsible for this problem, so it is worth fumigating the room regularly.
  • A fine repellent mist should be sprayed all over the mount, and then the product should be carefully combed into the hair. A blow dryer can be used to restore the fluffy appearance of the fur on animals that have it.


How much does a Bear trophy cost?

The pricing of any trophy is subject to the costing stipulated per taxidermy order, quantity of trophies and preferred mounting options, along with additional requirements.

Should you wish to receive a quotation prior to the hunt, the taxidermist can generate such for you. Please contact [email protected]

How long does a Bear trophy take?

Taxidermy is an art form that involves a complicated step-by-step process to make sure that each trophy looks just right and is of a high enough quality that it will last your whole life.

The time it takes a taxidermist to mount an animal might range from days to weeks, and possibly several months, depending on the quantity of trophies per taxidermy order, the display preferences, and volumes of client trophies to be produced, simultaneously, per production schedule.

This depends largely on the “what, how, when” factors. A taxidermy order also only becomes available for production scheduling upon receipt of the required deposit and trophy mounting instructions.

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