DailyMail An Alaska hunter killed a nearly 9-foot-tall grizzly bear last year that was officially named on Friday the largest ever bagged. Larry Fitzgerald, 35, was out hunting with friends near Fairbanks when they spotted the behemoth and tracked it for three hours before Fitzgerald took it down with a single shot to the neck from 20 yards. ‘We knew it was big,’ he said. ‘It was a rush.’ Shockingly, the group of hunters weren’t even out looking for bears, much less trophy-winning bears, when they spotted the monster. They were searching for moose. ‘I’m not really a trophy hunter, or anything,’ Fitzgerald modestly told Fox News. ‘But I guess it is kind of cool.’ The bear, which Fitzgerald took down last September, came in just second to the largest grizzly ever found by just a fraction of an inch as measured by skull size, the accepted method of record. The Boone and Crockett Club, which keeps the Records of North American Big Game, broke the news in a release on Friday. The Missoula, Montana-based group said Fitzgerald’s bear’s skull measured a mere 7/16ths of an inch smaller than the world record, which was also killed in Alaska, way back in 1976. Chairman Richard Hale of the Boone and Crocket Club said he was surprised at how close to the city of Fairbanks Fitzgerald foudn the bear. ‘One would think that a relatively accessible area, with liberal bear hunting regulations to keep populations in line with available habitat and food, would be the last place to find one of the largest grizzly bears on record,’ he said. He went on to suggest that grizzly hunts, record-breaking or not, will likely soon be on the rise. ‘Grizzly populations are doing well across all their ranges. That includes populations in the Lower 48 states that are currently federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, but will soon be up for delisting and management authority turned over to the watchful eye of state wildlife managers.’
A nine foot tall grizzly bear is absolutely giant, and at first I thought it might be a hybrid with an Alaskan brown bear, but it turns out to be the confirmed largest grizzly bear ever taken by a hunter. This is also the largest physical specimen of a grizzly bear ever seen, the only evidence of a larger bear was from a “found skull” so this is an amazing trophy for Larry Fitzgerald (who shared a name the wide receiver from the Arizona Cardinals) and it should provide some compelling scientific evidence.