It took five years to do it, but the state of North Carolina finally confirmed Billy Walkowiak’s 2004 black bear as the 17th largest North Carolina record black bear ever taken in NC.
Billy’s North Carolina record black bear had an official weight of 647 pounds and was estimated to be nine years, nine months old. The record bruin was shot on a dog hunt in Hyde County, NC, a hotbed for big bears in the state.
North Carolina grows BIG bears, much bigger than the black bears in Canada. The state record AND world record heaviest black bear is an 880 pound bear taken in 1998 with a shotgun, also on a hound hunt, in Craven County. Coastal North Carolina bears are larger on average than mountain bears. During the 2003-2004 season, North Carolina produced 48 bears in excess of 500 pounds at the coast but only six bears weighing more than 500 pounds in the mountains. Probably because of the agriculture in the coastal areas. North Carolina does not allow baiting, but planting a food plot and hound hunting are both legal. Bears love sweet corn, turnips, persimmons and berries.
As with any records program there are several ties at various weights heavier than his, with a total of 37 record bears larger than his bear.