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U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– On May 22, 2022, visitors at Yellowstone national park witnessed a common, but seldom seen, killing of a young grizzly by a much larger adult boar. The mother of the young bear was also seen attacking the offspring. Some people think she was attempting to convince the young bear to leave the area.
The mortal wounding of the young bear, which was the size of an average human, (about 150 lbs) is brutal. The speed and power of the attack are sobering to watch.
The video shows how immensely powerful a boar grizzly is. This boar was estimated at over 500 lbs.
Less than a month later, three more cubs were almost certainly killed by a large boar. On June 16, grizzly 793, known as “Blondie” likely had her three cubs killed by a big boar.
On Saturday morning, a bear thought to be Blondie was seen moving rapidly around an area in the park.
“The thought is that Blondie lost her cubs to a male bear on Friday night or early Saturday morning and was looking for them,” Bayles said on social media this week.
Bayles told one of his social media followers that a male bear was likely cause of the cubs’ demise.
“It is the single leading cause of baby bears,” Bayles said.
Studies of cub mortality show about 25% of sub-adult bears are killed by other bears every year. Nearly all the killing is done by large boars.
The study above was for grizzly bears, but black bears boars kill cubs with as much gusto. Black bear cub cannibalism bearbiology.org:
Abstract: From 1982 to 1985, 23 Arizona black bear (Ursus americanus) cubs were equipped with motion-sensitive, breakaway radiocollars while in winter dens. Eleven (48%) of these cubs died, but cause of death was determined in only 8 cases because of collar loss. Fifty percent of these deaths were the result of cannibalism by other bears.
The phenomena was observed in a study Raph Flowers, the famous professional black bear hunter and trapper, was involved in. From Bears & Flowers, page 135, in a radio-collar survey done in February of 1982, of denned sow black bears:
“We also picked up the signal from the largest male bear on the island – a 300 lb bruiser – and were surprised to find him out of his den and moving about in February.
The objective of his mid-winter wanderings became apparent the following spring when it was determined that he had been roving the island, searching out denned females with cubs. At one den he killed and partly devoured the mother bear, and also made breakfast of her two cubs. At the den containing three cubs, he had killed and devoured them all, although the mother bear had escaped.”
Bear cubs are about 1/3 of the population, before the end of hibernation. Roughly 8% of the bear population every year is adult bears. For every thousand bears, about 80 are killed each year by other bears.
Intraspecific killing of one polar bear (Ursus maritimus) by another, including both infanticide and predation on older bears, as well as cannibalism, has long been known to Inuit hunters in Canada and Greenland, and several observations have been reported in the scientific literature (Lunn and Stenhouse, 1985; Taylor et al., 1985; Derocher and Wiig, 1999; Dyck and Daley, 2002; Amstrup et al., 2006; Stone and Derocher, 2007; Stirling et al., 2008). Both male and female adult polar bears are also known to scavenge on the carcasses of polar bears killed and skinned by humans (e.g., Larsen and Kjos-Hanssen, 1983). Most intraspecific kill-ing is focused on cubs and subadults, though some adult females are known to have been specifically preyed upon as well (Taylor et al., 1985; Amstrup et al., 2006; Stirling et al., 2008). In all observations of such killings recorded to date, the predators have been adult males. When fully mature, adult male polar bears are roughly twice the size of adult females (Kingsley, 1979; Derocher et al., 2005).
Much of the false image of bears as innocent furry forest creatures, as portrayed by Hanna-Barbera with Yogi and Boo Boo, or Disney in The Jungle Book, can be corrected with the knowledge of big boar bears as cub killers. In the real world, if Yogi and Boo Boo had met, it is likely Yogi would have killed Boo Boo.
Velma Flowers, the wife of Ralph Flowers, who made the family livelihood by the commercial hunting and trapping of bears which were doing immense damage to trees in Washington State, was not immune. She strongly protested the killing of cubs. Then she strongly called for the killing of large boars, after she had complained of Ralph killing an orphaned cub. From The Education of a Bear Hunter, P. 125, from his wife, Velma:
She then explained that this bear was in a different situation; he was a big bear and probably a mean old daddy bear. He had probably killed some cubs himself and was undoubtedly guilty of destroying many fine trees, while the little cubs had done nothing to deserve such a sad fate.
There is evidence that the harvest of large boars increases the overall bear population. From The Dynamics and Regulation of Black Bear Ursus americanus Populations in Northern Alberta:
Numbers of black bears on the study area varied little from 1968 through 1971. The removal of 26 large adult males in 1971 and 1972 was followed by an apparent increase in the bear population in 1972 and 1973, primarily in the subadult component. Alternate years of high cub production in 1968,1970 and 1972 probably were solely a function of the number of adult females breeding. Evidence from other studies indicates no significant change in annual litter size.
Human hunters disproportionately harvest large boars. They open up niches for more cub survival, with increases in the population of bears and increases in the harvest of bears at the same time.
It is likely the regulated hunting of bears is better for bear populations than allowing the unregulated killing of large numbers of cubs by mature boars.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.