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Really Big Bears

The Brown Grizzly Bears at Katmai National Park Dining on Salmon

If you want to see really big bears, probably the best place to see them is at Katmai National Park in Alaska. You’d have to fly in from such bush plane fields as King Salmon and view them at such locations as Brooks Camp, Hallo Bay, Geographic Harbor, Swikshak Lagoon, or Moraine Creek/Funnel Creek.

At a recent “beauty contest” at Katmai, the winner of Fat Bear Week was a 1,400 pound (635 kg) brown bear named (appropriately) 747, after the jumbo jet.

What makes the bears of Katmai particularly large is the ready availability of lots of salmon, which the bears use to bulk up just before going into hibernation.In other parts of Alaska, an adult male typically weighs between 300 to 900 pounds (136-405 kg) , and females weigh between 205 and 455 pounds (93-206 kg).

It’s not cheap to see the big bears of Katmai: There are no regularly scheduled flights. You’d have to fly charter and either camp or stay at an expensive lodge.

I would dearly love to see them. It’s just a question of money—and lots of it!

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