Species / International Ovis

Alaska Brown Bear

Ursus arctos middendorffi


The range of the Alaska brown bear is restricted to a narrow strip of the Alaska coast, plus adjacent islands, within reach of spawning salmon runs. It is at home anywhere within this area, from saltwater beaches through swamps and forests to rocky mountainsides above the tree line. The most notable of the adjacent islands are Kodiak, Afognak, Montague, Baranof, Chicagof and Admiralty.


Like the grizzly, the Alaska brown bear is unsociable and usually solitary except when mating or when forced by circumstances to share a salmon fishery with other bears. With no enemies other than humans, it is active at all hours. Breeding takes place during May and June. The female mates every second or third year, producing a litter of cubs (1-4, but usually two), which are born in the den in January or February. She is an excellent mother. The cubs remain with her at least two years, and often three or four. An Alaska brown bear is full grown at 10-11 years and has a life expectancy, barring accidents, of 25-30 years. Omnivorous, it eats grasses, sedges, roots, bulbs, berries, rodents, salmon and also carrion. Eyesight is only fair, but hearing and sense of smell are very acute. A brown bear’s usual pace is a slow walk, but they are capable of running fast. It is unable to jump, but is an excellent swimmer. Cubs can climb trees, but adults, with their long foreclaws and heavy bodies, cannot. The Alaska brown bear is normally silent, but can growl, grunt, roar, sniff and cough. It is highly alert, and is usually cautious and non-aggressive toward man, but there are exceptions. It retires to its den during the cold of winter and sleeps for months. A bear will often leave its den in late winter to briefly wander outside.Super Ten®/Super Slam®: Super Ten®/Super Slam®: The Super Ten®/Super Slam® boundaries follow the same criteria as SCI.

Information found here contains excerpts from the on-line and printed version of Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals and is used by permission. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.


An adult male usually weighs 800-1,000 pounds. Females are considerably smaller. With the possible exception of the polar bear, the Alaska brown bear is the largest land-dwelling carnivore in the world. It is considerably larger than its close relative the grizzly, or the brown bears of Europe and Asia. Its great size is the result of an abundant and protein-rich salmon diet and the relatively mild climate in which it lives. It has a prominent hump on its shoulders, a concave facial profile and short, stout legs ending in large paws. Its long, thick coat is usually brown in color, although individuals vary from blond to almost black.

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