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B&C World's Record - Alaska Brown Bear

World's Record - Alaska Brown Bear

The world's record Alaska brown bear was taken during a scientific expedition in 1952, for the benefit of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.


Alaska’s Kodiak Island rests about 250 miles south of Anchorage and just below the mouth of Cook Inlet. Kodiak supports some of the largest land-based carnivores in the world, a unique bear population that has been genetically isolated for 12,000 years. An estimated 3,500 bears live on Kodiak, which gives it a population density of 0.7 bears per square mile. The world’s record Alaska brown bear (Ursos arctos middendorffi) scored 30 12/16 and was taken near Kodiak’s Karluk Lake in late May 1952.


    The immense bear was shot by Roy R. Lindsley, who was a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee based in Kodiak. He worked in cooperation with a scientific expedition headed by Melville N. Lincoln, which was sponsored by a habitat group affiliated with the Los Angeles County Museum. This was the first bear Lindsley had killed, despite having worked among these intelligent giants for many years.

    The Alaska brown bear and grizzly bear are classified as the same species, Ursus arctos. However, Kodiak’s genetically isolated bears have slightly varied skull proportions, claw shape, and dentition that sets them apart from brown bears found elsewhere in Alaska. For those reasons, Kodiak’s bears are considered a separate subspecies.

    A large boar on Kodiak may weigh 1,500 pounds after feeding on coho salmon during fall; when he rises upright from the bankside sedge grass and tests the coastal winds, he may stand over nine feet tall.

    As a seasoned observer who understood the size and power of these animals, Lindsley knew he’d need a heavy bullet to make a clean kill and prevent a bear from charging or running away into dense alders. Subsequently, he chose a 30-06 rifle and took down the bear with a 180-grain bullet.

    Lindsey’s bear skull measures 17 15/16 inches long and 12 13/16 inches wide for a cumulative score of 30 12/16 points. The bear was declared a world’s record during the Club’s sixth awards competition, held in 1954 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.




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