Bear Populations in NH have been edging ever higher at an estimated 5100 animals according to the forecast here. http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/bear_forecast.htm
A great bear rifle is not overly long and handles well for a follow up shot. I prefer large wound channels and deep penetrating heavy large diameter bullets. That puts lever actions and standard action bolt rifles in the front seat. The new Marlin Lever actions 1895 GBL in 45-70 is one of those. See the Spec’s below. or go to http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/bigbore/1895GBL.asp and check-em out
A 45-70 with a 300 grain flat nose bullet comes out of the barrel at around 2000 fps in this rifle. Plenty of whump and penetration momentum with 2665 ft-lbs at the muzzle. With a 6 shot magazine you have a storehouse of energy and its overall length is only 37 inches (basically as long as a yardstick plus 1 inch. Wow! Talk about fast handling. This rifle is great for Moose and Deer too. Check this out at your local retailer.