“Big bear is an understatement!” says North Carolinian John Inman, who spotted the ill-fated black bear before snapping photographic evidence.
It was Perry Jacobs of Whiteville, NC, however, whose SUV collided with the behemoth bruin. Jacobs’ Honda Pilot was a “victim” alongside the bear, he says, which was totaled by the incident.
“My Honda Pilot was the victim. It was a rough ride home but thankfully I made it. The tire was wobbling,” he posted to Facebook.
As for how the unfortunate collision happened, “The bear was running across someone’s yard real fast. I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late. He was running from something, probably dogs. I didn’t want to get out, cause I thought he was still alive. I thought he was just knocked out,” Jacobs recalls.
Photo of Ill-Fated Bruin Illustrates Immense Size of North Carolina Black Bears
After authorities arrived on the scene, Inman would receive an “update from the young lady whose yard the bear fell dead in.” According to her, wildlife officials weighed the bear at a remarkable 500-pounds.
“I asked young lady if 500lbs was correct quote and she texted me ‘Yes,'” Inman captions his photo, which you can see below (which, be warned, is mildly graphic):
“I’m over 6 feet tall, so this should give the viewer some perspective as to the size of this animal,” Inman adds. “Don’t know who was the “baddest”: the bear or the vehicle that actually was able to drive away after the two collided!”
As black bear biologist (of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissions) Colleen Olfenbuttel confirms for local The News & Observer, the bear “was involved in an accident north of Bladenboro around 2:30 a.m. on March 15.”
‘Based off the condition of animal, it was a pretty quick death’
“Based off the condition of animal, it was a pretty quick death,” Olfenbuttel adds, noting this black bear is a solid 100 pounds larger than the average bruin in eastern North Carolina. And while behemoth bears have become par for the course in the state, bear-vehicle collisions remains unusual this time of year.
“With black bears, the peak in vehicle collisions is in the fall,” Olfenbuttel says. “We also see a peak for male bears in May and June.”
Those summer months are when black bears are “moving around for females,” she cites.
As for the average size of North Carolina black bears, this depends on their ecosystem. Male bears, or boars, average 320 to 350 pounds along the North Carolina coast, Olfenbuttel says. The average for males in the eastern mountains is 220 to 230 pounds, however.
Even still, Eastern Bladen County (which includes the area of this incident) is home to black bears weighing 600 pounds, she adds. The state at large has the biggest black bears (according to yearly scientific surveys) in the United States. And the largest black bear ever recorded in North Carolina weighed a whopping 880 pounds.