Montana Official State Travel Site
Facebook Flickr Twitter Youtube 1.800.847.4868

Black Bear

Guess what? Even though they're called "black bears," they're not always black. However, "black bear" is easier to say and remember than "black or any shade of brown bear." Frequently, black bears will also have a white patch on their chest, and their muzzle is usually a lighter color than the rest of their body.

Black Bear
Ursus americanus amblyceps

A handsome black bear specimen will have a straight nose-to-forehead profile, stand about 2-3 feet tall at the shoulder, and about 4-5 feet high when standing. The largest black bears weigh about 500 pounds, but the average weight is more likely to be around 300 to 350 pounds. Black bears eat nearly anything: berries, nuts, fruit, fish, and other animals. Their keen sense of smell alerts them to danger and helps them find food. Black bears, like all bears, sleep through the winter. (Wouldn't it be nice if we could do the same sometimes?) They usually frequent areas where food is plentiful, but will migrate according to the available food supply and according the their reproductive needs.

Black bears inhabit mountainous areas in the western half of Montana, but they are secretive and try to avoid humans as much as possible. It's rare to see any bear in the wild, and you might consider yourself lucky if you DON'T see a bear. All bears are potentially dangerous and are highly unpredictable.

Black Bear Map