The difference between coastal brown bears and grizzly bears is an often misunderstood fact. These bears have a lot in common, but also have a few things different. Both of these bears are a subspecies of brown bear.
Despite the common misconception, coastal brown bears and grizzlies are both omnivores. Grizzlies and coastal browns are opportunistic scavengers; they feast on small rodents, berries, grubs, shrubs, roots, fish, and occasionally the remains of larger animals.
They can even look similar in physical attributes such as their shoulder hump, longer claws and dish shaped face. Their fur may be similar or different in color or sheen, but that is not what distinguishes them.
The main elements that distinguish the two are their geographic location and their diet. So basically, on one side of a river, a bear standing, is a brown bear, and on the other side when he crosses, he is a grizzly. I know…kinda crazy, but that’s what it is.
Coastal brown bears are found along the coast of Alaska. While they do have an omnivorous diet, they are more carnivores than anything. Due to their location these bears have easy access to fish and other invertebrates like crabs and clams. They have a very high quality, high protein diet. This plentiful access to good food is what allows them to grow large. The typical coastal brown bear is significantly larger than grizzlies. Coastal brown bears have a high density population because of the rich abundance of food.
Grizzlies are typically found in the inland parts of Alaska, Canada and very isolated parts of the northern United States (Montana and Wyoming). These bears have a lower density population because their food resources are not as plentiful. Grizzlies have a much tougher environment to live in because they have to scavenge through the mountainous terrain to survive. They do not have easy access to the higher quality foods that coastal brown bears have so they are often smaller in size.
Whether you decide to hunt a “brown bear” on the coast or inland make sure you bring a big enough gun to take these monsters down.
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