Boars, Bear, Capes and Hides: Lingo for New BC Black Bear Hunters

May 29, 2017 | Black Bear

British Columbia is home to one of the highest population of black bears, as almost the entire province is deemed bear country. It is then easy to see why for hunters, black bears are one of the most sought after game in BC. If you’re finding that your knowledge of this animal is not up to par with other hunters, don’t worry, this post will offer a wealth of information and lingo for new BC black bear hunters.


Boar is the term given to a male black bear; female black bears are called sows. For new BC black bear hunters, distinguishing between genders can prove to be a difficult task.

Male black bears are characterized by their large size (in comparison to sows). An adult male will have a more thicker, muscled head, neck, and upper body. A boar’s head is wider, and more round shape than the female head. The ears of a male black bear are most commonly smaller than the ears of a sow.

Female black bears are leaner in size than their male counterparts. A female’s head is much more narrow, and their foreheads appear flatter. A female black bear’s ears will be bigger than male ears.

Note: There are some exceptions to these sizing rules. Juvenile bears of both genders will have larger ears for the first 2-3 years of their lives. As well, some sows will appear quite large in stature, and could be easily mistaken for a boar. However, the rules above will generally help you classify a bear according to gender, and are quite useful when trying to make a speedy determination.

If you’re able to spot a black bears underbelly and chest, then another way to differ between the genders is the presence of nipples. As typical with the mammal species, both genders have nipples. Male black bears have 2, while female black bears have 6. If the female is currently caring for cubs then the area around the nipple will be swollen, and be much easier to detect.


From the kingdom Animalia, bears are a species of carnivoran mammals. Bears belong to the family Ursidae. There is a total of 8 species of bear in existence today.  Ursus (Latin for bear) is a genus in the family Ursidae; this family includes brown bears, polar bears, American black bear, and  Asian black bear. The BC black bear is one subcategory of the American black bear.

The title of black bear is obviously associated with their coat color, however, a black bear’s coat can range from dark black to various shades of brown. The more brown-colored black bears are found in regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of the Rocky Mountains. The black-colored black bears are found in more northern regions like BC and Alberta. A rare subspecies of white-coated black bear can be found in BC. This subspecies of BC black bear is known as the Kermode or spirit bear.

Capes and Hides

A cape is the term used for the pelt of black bear, typically ranging from the neck to the head. A hide is the term used for the rest of the black bear pelt. Many hunters will use a taxidermist to turn the black bear pelt into a trophy, or made into a decorative rug.

Hopefully this post has provided any new BC black bear hunters with a base knowledge of their target game. If you have any further questions regarding the animal, please contact us at your convenience.