Grizzly bear: If you take a straight edge and hold it across the front of the foot pad, the straight edge will not intersect the toes. The middle claw marks will be 2 to 4 ½” from the ends of the toe pads.
Black bear: Because the foot is more rounded, a straight edge placed in front of the main pad will intersect the toes. The middle claw marks will be 1 to 2 ½ inches from the ends of the toe pads.
Caution: Depending on when and where the track was made may make identification difficult. For example, tracks may melt out in snow, changing the shape of the track. Also, always look for all five toes. Sometimes the last toe is not visible and can lead to confusion.
The front foot of a grizzly bear appears more square when compared to a black bear’s front foot, which tends to be more rounded. The distance between the end of the toe pad and the claw marks can also be used to distinguish between the two tracks.