Caribou Gear

HELP - Cinnamon or Chocolate? Identifying a black bear color phase

Which color phase?

  • Cinnamon

    Votes: 2 3.7%
  • Chocolate

    Votes: 52 96.3%

  • Total voters
A bear.

In places where almost all bears are black, this might be a novelty, but in places where I hunt, the bears normally show some variation in color, and this is pretty much the default. I propose we add "dirty brown" as a color category.

We have a lot of bears with various shades of brown and black all mixed up together. We usually call them "dirty bear."

I have seen two that were blond with dark brown head and legs. We called them elk bear.

I saw three cinnamon bears with dark brown head and legs. They were all together and looked identical, really pretty.

I saw a really big ol' boar that was the same orange color as the hair color of the little girl we called carrot top when I was a kid.

Saw another big boar that had a black head and a body that I would call chestnut. I thought for sure I had him dead to rights but he out foxed me. I sneaked up to where I last saw him only to realize he was 15 ft. behind me in thick brush when I heard him taking a pee.

I saw a hide of a pure white bear. It wasn't an albino because the nose was dark.

There are so many variations it's hard to put labels on them.
Seeking some input/feedback from the community regarding the "color phase" of a bear I shot this past year up in Canada. I shared the backstory on another thread ( - posted 12/22/2023) if anyone is interested. Long story short, it was a super special hunt and I lucked out when a large color phase boar came into the bait I was on.

I don't have a lot of black bear hunting experience and in my home area color phase black bears are as rare as hen's teeth so I have zero experience in that regard. To my eyes, and from what I recall the guide saying, the coloration on my bear marks it as a "chocolate" or "brown" color phase. However, I've started getting more feedback, from other hunters and an outfitter or two, that the coloration on my bear marks it out as a "dark red/cinnamon". I've done the Google search thing and while I found some good articles regarding color phase in general, I was only able to find a few mentions that actually explain the difference between the various color phases.

I recognize that this is the equivalent of an opinion piece, and nothing takes away from my appreciation of my bear, but I am curious what the wider community would call this color phase. I've included some pictures of the bear in various lighting conditions, ranging from dusk (immediately after the bear was taken) to early morning sun and shade (10-ish hours later at the outfitter's camp). Appreciate your time and feedback.
I Would call it chocolate. Great bear either way!
I worked for 2 bear camps and hunted Alberta a bit. To me it’s no question chocolate but it’s sorta like beagles. One guy calls em red n white, one guy the same dog lemon. Who really cares you did good. I’d shoot that one, real light not as quick which is funny cause I’d instantly shoot a decent blonde one
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