An Alaskan man was out moose hunting with some friends when he wound up unintentionally setting a world record for killing the biggest bear ever to be killed by a hunter.
35-year-old Larry Fitzgerald was hunting just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska when he and his friends noticed bear tracks in the snow. For three hours, the group followed the bear and its tracks, and finally, Fitzgerald fired a single shot from 20 yards away that killed the bear.
It was only when the group ran to the dead bear that they realized just how big it actually was. Fitzgerald had just unintentionally set a world record for killing the 9-foot bear.
"We knew it was big," said Fitzgerald, an auto body shop owner, to Fox News. "It was a rush. I'm not really a trophy hunter, or anything, but I guess it is kind of cool.”
Although grizzly bears are federally protected in the lower 48 states, hunting experts are still shocked that the biggest one ever hunted in recorded history was found near a city.
“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,” said Richard Hale, chairman of Boone and Crockett Club's Records of North American Big Game committee. “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.”
Although this grizzly is the largest one ever taken down by a hunter, it actually comes in second as the largest one ever found.