Archive for the ‘Black Bear’ Category

For 2016 – the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is instituting a game check system: all turkey and deer MUST be entered on your harvest record and checked through the Game Check system within 72 hours.

 

I also see two new Wildlife Management Areas and a new Outdoors Georgia app.

The new WMA’s are Altama Plantation, “The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently announced the opening of a 3,986-acre tract in Glynn County along I-95 and the Altamaha River, known as Altama Plantation WMA.” (GON.com, Jan 7 2016 )and Buck Shoals WMA. (The only ‘good’ information on Buck Shoals that I can find is above in the PDF.)

 

 

A few months ago, I sold my Savage M110 30-06 to somebody who loves building rifles, he wanted a long-action Savage receiver to start a new project, and I wanted a .308.  After reading dozens of reviews and customer comments on various models of rifle, I decided to take a chance on the new Mossberg Patriot .308.

Being something of a geek, I just HAD to get it in Kryptek Highlander Camo, because I very rarely buy a new rifle, and this one was going to be my go-to big game gun for deer, bear and boar for a long time.

Kryptec

Whenever I think about new firearms, I check prices using the Gun Genie at Gallery of Guns, it’s fast, and has inventory levels so I can really see if something is in stock or not without calling fifteen places. It’s also nice that when you purchase a firearm using this service, it’s shipped to the store you picked off of the list, where you finish paying for the firearm and fill out the BATF paperwork just like any other firearm purchase.

Of course, I’m a Gables Sporting Goods staff shooter, so last year when I noticed that Gables wasn’t showing up on a search for my zip code, I asked at the shop, and they called Davidsons and figured out what the problem was, so when it was time to order my Mossberg, that’s the shop I chose to ship to.  Ordering was fairly easy, though the shopping cart system could be improved a bit on the Gallery page, and my shipment arrived in about a week. (I ordered a Taurus PT111 G2 9mm as well, and I have to say, for an economy compact 9mm, it’s very accurate and reliable so far.)

After the rifle arrived, I unpacked it at the shop and the nice folks there mounted my Zeiss Conquest 3-9 x 50mm scope on the rifle. A few people snickered, but I’d rather have a six hundred dollar scope on a three hundred dollar rifle than the other way around.  Because you can have a two THOUSAND dollar rifle, but if you can’t see what your shooting at, you aren’t going to shoot very well.

The one issue I had with the rifle out of the box was the camouflage.  It didn’t look very good, almost like it was dipped/applied by somebody who hadn’t had a good day. I called Mossberg and explained that while I know this is a budget rifle, I paid a bit extra for the Kryptek camouflage, and wanted to know if what I got was normal. They emailed me a prepaid FedEx label and said ‘ship it back, we’ll take care of it.’  And they did, too, about two weeks later I got the rifle back, and they must have searched for the best looking stock they had in the warehouse, because it couldn’t be any better looking.

At that point, with the holidays around the corner, I mounted the scope back on the rifle and stuck it in the safe for a month and a half. Yesterday, we tried to take it to Johns Mountain, but the range was packed, so we skedaddled.

Today, I ran up to Buford, GA, to the Georgia Gun Club.  I’ve never been there before, but they have a 100 yard indoor rifle range, so I thought I’d head that way and sight in the .308 and my .243.

Georgia_gun_club

Now, I’ve been to indoor rifle ranges in several states, but I’ve never been in one as nice as this. I was somewhat expecting an old warehouse that had been re-purposed as a range. I was in one like that in Ohio once that was so run down and  gnarly, I’m surprised there wasn’t a secret password to get in the door. *Psssst! Swordfish!*

Georgia_gun_club_insideThis was a VERY nice building, with plenty of parking.  The interior was very clean and open, with room to walk around and a nice lounge area for people waiting on a lane to open up. The web site had mentioned that waiting on lanes was normal, so I took my tablet with me, since that’s my portable patience generator, and signed in.  The process is simple for a first-time customer. You fill out a waiver with general safety and legal statements (not unusual, you have to do that at archery shoots anymore once per year as well), then watch a National Shooting Sports Foundation seven or eight minute long Range Safety video and initial that you’ve watched it, and then you wait.


I wish I took more photos – I forgot my camera, and once you’re in the range, you are on the clock for however many hours you purchased, and I wasn’t thinking about writing this post, I wanted to get the rifles sighted in.  The range was good – easy to use electronic target controls, range master in the room with you. The only thing I could complain about is my own fault – I took two rifle cases and my range bag, so navigating all of the doors was hectic, since I had zero hands to use getting through the place.

The staff were fantastic.  I will be going back, soon, even though it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from the house.

The rifles I had with me were the Mossberg Patriot .308, and a Winchester Model 70 Ultimate Shadow Extreme Weather .243.  I love the Winchester, though I wish it was in 7mm-08 (I got it in a trade), and was curious to see how the Mossberg stacked up against a firearm that is almost three times more expensive.

lba

Image Property of Shooting Illustrated

The Mossberg kicked butt.  The trigger is CRISP. As in ‘activate the Lightning Bolt Action, and start to put pressure on the trigger BOOM’ crisp.  For folks familiar with the Savage Accu-Trigger, the Lightning Bolt Action is similar – a light metal safety in the center of the actual trigger, the rifle cannot fire until the LBA is depressed first.  After nine shots with the Mossberg, I felt like I had to work to get the Winchester to fire, where before, I thought the Winchester had the best trigger of all of my long guns.

I shot Federal Fusion 150 grain, Hornady American Whitetail 165 grain, and Winchester Hog Special 150 grain ammunition out of the Mossberg. I find it interesting that I can’t find a link to the Hog Special ammunition on Winchester’s web site, making me wonder if they still make it.  I fired three rounds of each, with a few minutes between groups to let the barrel cool down, and honestly, the Winchester group was small enough at 25 yards for me to cover with a single target cover dot – but I’m NOT a professional shooter when it comes to rifles, and as far as I can tell, that could have been because I shot the Winchester ammunition last and had finally gotten used to the rifle.

I finally moved the target to 100 yards and adjusted the sights – the Hog ammunition was about an inch high with a nice group – the Fusion ammunition was about three inches high (higher listed velocity), so I readjusted for the Fusion ammunition and shot a great group, wrapping up my sight in for the day.

I can’t wait to go back to Georgia Gun Club – if I lived half an hour closer, I’d buy a membership in a heartbeat.

With both Redneck Archery Club and Bad to the Bone shutting down this year (if I hear any change I’ll post an update), it looks like the only shoots within an hour of my house are River Bottom Outdoors and Sweetwater Archery.  I’m not certain about the Bowden Bowhunter’s Supply shoot, I’ve never driven out to their location since their shoots were almost always on top of our 323 Archery shoots, but according to Google Maps the center of Bowden is 56 miles away from me.

RBO_Dec

River Bottom Outdoors – December 2015

I’ll be doing more posts this year – last year was a very light ‘outdoors’ year for me, other than the bear hunt and three archery shoots, I didn’t really do much. The bear hunt was fantastic, but flying to Maine forced me to really, really go minimal on gear and clothing, and I would have liked to explore North Maine Woods more than I did the last two trips.

This year will be much, much different. I’m getting outside more often and ranging further than ever.  To start with, my wife bought me a gift certificate to hunt with Hog Wild USA – I’ll be contacting the outfitter shortly to figure out the details of the hunt.  I still don’t know if I am going to hunt with my bow or rifle, I have a new Mossberg Patriot .308 that I’m itching to use, but part of me wants the quiet intensity of using my PSE Freak SP instead.

1919172_1243314879017110_5098565386199790728_nAnyone who has a request or comment can visit the 323 Archery FaceBook page – if you want photos of your outdoor activities uploaded to the site (or the Gable Fishing website) just let me know through FaceBook and I’ll get right on it.

In the meantime, I’ll be practicing with my PSE Xpression and enjoying every minute I can get out in the woods.

Good luck and be safe in your outdoor activities in 2016!

Well, I didn’t forget anything – I wish I’d taken more of a few things, but between baggage fees and weight limits, I did what I had to and everything worked out.

I landed at Bangor airport Saturday the 5th of September, and my hunting buddy Kerry was already in town and checked into the hotel. He lives in northern Ohio, so Bangor is about a twelve hour drive from his house, making it a road trip.  Bangor is twenty hours for me, however next time I think I will drive, if nothing else to eliminate the baggage issues. (Pay to park at the airport, take one truck in from there.)  We had a bite to eat in the Ramada’s Aviator’s restaurant, then hit the sack. Bear camp check in is after 1pm on Sunday,so we planned to leave between 7am and 8am for the five hour drive to camp.

Greenville_MaineWe ran route 15 up to Greenville, stopping at Indian Hill Trading Post, which is a fantastic store with everything from Woolrich clothing to hunting supplies and groceries. It’s also one of the last places on our route to get gasoline before North Maine Woods, so we always fill up there on the way in, and on the way back out. If I had the time and money, I’d fly my wife up to the area just to show her this shop, and Greenville itself, the area is absolutely beautiful.

After the Greenville stop, we drive through Kukajo, Maine, and finally leave the paved road behind.  The next stop is Caribou Checkpoint, one of the entry check points for North Maine Woods, where you have to pay the usage fee, check in and at the end of the trip, check out.  From here until you get to wherever you are going, Baker Lake, PB Guide Service, or any of the other camps, it’s logging roads, and there are copious signs pointing out that logging trucks have the right of way.Caribou_Checkpoint

We arrived at the camp around 2pm on the 6th, checked in with Val (Paul’s wife), and got our cabin assignment, then tossed our stuff in the room and relaxed.  In short order, Paul let us know that Scott would be our guide this year, and we had a quick chat with him about bear hunting.  This is our second trip, so I’m used to the questions now: how far are you comfortable shooting, how good are you at sitting still, have you hunted bear before, etc.  Scott liked our answers, so we let him know we’d be fine with helping him bait in the morning.

Monday, we helped Scott out in the morning, and along the way, got to see the stands we would be hunting out of. I’m a large person (XXXL-Tall), so Scott put me in a two-person ladder stand out at the very end of a maple sugar camp road, with about a 79 yard shot to the barrel.  Kerry would be in a fir thicket, with only a 19 yard shot, but a LOT of bear sign.  My bait had a trail timer on it the day before, and that showed that the bear had hit the bait at 5:10pm.  Bear_bait_1

One quick word about weather.  In 2010 when we hunted in Maine, it rained the first day of the hunt, and it was a bit chilly. I had my Gore-Tex  jacket with me, so I was fine, but Kerry does not like to be cold, so this year, he packed a lot of warm hunting clothing.

Me? I went minimal. I had a long-sleeve Under Armour camouflage tee shirt, a pair of Cabela’s camo pants, a light jacket, and a heavy jacket, along with my uninsulated Gore-Tex jacket.   The weather was supposed to be high 50’s at night, mid 70’s to low 80’s during the day, with a chance of rain all week, from 20% on Monday, to 60% with thunderstorms on Thursday.

As usual, the weather report was completely wrong about the rain.

I got in the stand around 3:50pm on Monday.  The temperature was in the mid 70’s, with gusty winds, but mostly the winds were from the bait to my stand.  By 4:30pm, it was raining. By 5pm, it was raining hard, with thunderstorms all around me. I hadn’t brought my Gore-Tex jacket to the stand (lowest chance of rain for the week, go figure) but it wasn’t cold (to me) so I was fine.  The rain slowed down around 5:45pm,and stopped shortly after that.

Just after 6pm, I see a bear poke it’s head out of the thicket behind my bait.  I’ve always been told to use the 55 gallon drum as a good way to judge the size of a bear. If the bear can just walk into the barrel, it’s small. If it looks like it barely fits in the barrel, it’s a decent size bear.   This bear was looking DOWN at the barrel, making it a definite big bear to me.

The red arrow is where the barrel is

The red arrow is where the barrel is located

The bear was very cautious, looking (I thought) at me, then at the bait, then at me again.  It snatched a mouthful of bait, and vanished into the trees again.  I very carefully, and very slowly, brought my rifle up to the shooting rail and waited.  A moment or two later, the bear moved out of cover and resumed his pattern of eat, look, eat.

The bear was quartering towards me, which is not ideal, but it moved the barrel over and most likely wouldn’t turn anymore, so I lined my cross hairs up with the front point of his shoulder and fired.

Just like my last bear, the bear jumped a bit, as though surprised at the sound, and vanished into the thicket. Our instructions from the guides have always been ‘stay in the stand,’ so that’s what I did.

And then the rain picked up again, and over half an hour, it started to pour, making me very nervous that the rain would wash away the blood trail.

Scott pulled his truck to the end of the road at about 7pm, by this time it had rained so hard that at times, I couldn’t see the bait.  He asked if I was ready to go, and I told him that I’d taken a shot, so we walked to the bait and looked for sign.  We found a good amount of blood on a birch tree about fifteen feet from the bait. (I should point out that the guides aren’t in the habit of just walking up to you and asking if you want to get out of the stand with twenty minutes of shooting time left, but he was very concerned, since the thunderstorms and rain had been fairly heavy.)

At this point, the only decision we could make was ‘pick up the other hunters, then come back,’ so we proceeded to go get Kerry, Gary, and Grover.  Once again, the storms increased to the point where the logging roads started to feel like they were covered in grease. At one point, we had to dodge a juvenile moose, which was a very interesting moment, since neither our truck, nor the moose, had any traction.

Once we recovered the rest of the hunters, it was back to the stand.  Two hunters stayed with the truck, Kerry, Scott and myself walked to the birch tree we had marked earlier.  Scott, who has been guiding bear hunts for twenty years, told us to stay at the birch and let him track for the time being.

DSCF1180

This isn’t the patch of woods I’m writing about – but it’s the closest photo I have to it.

So, we’re in a patch of woods so thick, you have to take a step, part the fir trees with your hands, take another step, and it’s just getting thicker and swampier as we move deeper into the woods. It’s also 9pm, raining steadily, and pitch black outside.  Scott was out of sight in under fifteen yards, and called back to us to move our lights so he could see us.

Then Scott says “Niko, you’re going to be disappointed.”  I thought he’d found some sign that the bear had gotten away, or lost the trail entirely.  Then he says “This bear has a head the size of a pickle barrel.”

He had found my bear.  I wish it hadn’t been raining, or that I’d bought a waterproof camera,because the bear looked like it had been posed on its side. It was a big boar, and when we got it back to camp, it weighed 320 pounds before field dressing it.

After being field dressed - by way of comparison, I am 6'4

After being field dressed – by way of comparison, I am 6’4″ tall, 355 pounds. All of my other clothes were still soaked and covered in mud.

I had a great time at PB Guide Service – anyone looking for black bear in Maine should look Paul up and plan a hunt. Now I have to wait to get the skull back from the taxidermist, then another sixty days of drying time to get the skull measured.

For the rest of the photos of my trip, visit the album on my 323 Archery FaceBook page.

It’s sad, but fun at the same time – I always forget SOMETHING.  Usually something amazingly goofy, but not actually a deal breaker.  Once it was my sleeping bag (which I don’t need on this trip), another time I got 20 minutes from the house and realized that my tree stand was still sitting in the garage.

I’ve done this so many times that it’s now a game. I make a list about a month out, edit it and add or take things off, then when I pack, I usually see something that HAS to go with me, or realize “Oh, crap, I never put my camera gear on the list!” and have to find room for a camera bag and whatnot. Sometime’s there’s a facepalm moment of ‘Oh CRAP!’  other times, I only realize that I should have brought something when, at the end of the trip, I realize how much easier the trip would have been if only I had brought that ONE THING!

Oh well, this is a guided hunt from an established base camp,PB Guide Service, so most of the list boils down to street clothes, hunting clothes, rifles, ammunition, and camera gear. (…and CPAP, and over the counter medicine such as Immodium and ibuprofen, etc.)

I’ll upload photos when I get back – there isn’t really much in the way of cell service up there.

As a side note, the oak trees at my place just west of Atlanta are LOADED with acorns already, so this should be a good year to hunt over acorns. (Or, as Danny says, ‘a’KERNS.’ He also calls a scrape a ‘pawled spot,’ like he combined pawed and bald spot into one word.  I try to keep him away from sugar…)

http://www.pbguideservice.com/

Georgia Outdoor News

click to go to GON.com

By Daryl Kirby
Posted Thursday May 28 2015, 8:47 AM

Sportsmen are being asked to support efforts to raise hunting and fishing license fees. DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has cut services to sportsmen over the years because of mandated budget cuts, and WRD says more money would allow the agency to return those services and also enhance and start new efforts.

Georgia’s resident license fees haven’t increased since 1992, and Georgia’s current fees are either the least expensive or close to it in every category among 16 Southeastern states.

So far there are no specific details on what programs WRD might implement to help hunters and anglers, but sportsmen are encouraged to give their opinions on a license-fee increase and what they’d like to see WRD do with additional funding.

Seven open meetings are being held this month. Sportsmen should certainly attend. It’s your money.

Read the rest of the article at GON.com

(Here are the meetings scheduled)

WRD License-Fee Open Meetings

All meetings 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

June 15: Gainesville Civic Center
Chattahoochee Room, 830 Green Street NE, Gainesville, GA 30501

June 16: Baxley City Hall
City Council Meeting Room, 282 East Parker Street, Baxley, GA 31513

June 17: Richmond Hill City Center
520 Cedar Street (in J.F. Gregory Park), Richmond Hill, GA 31324

June 22: Grace Fellowship Church
1971 South Main Street, Greensboro, GA 30642

June 23: Red Top Mtn State Park
Group Shelter #1, 50 Lodge Road SE, Cartersville, GA 30121

June 24: Darton College
Room J121-123, 2400 Gillionville Road, Albany, GA 31707

June 25: Miller-Murphy-Howard Building Conference Room, Georgia National Fairgrounds
401 Larry Walker Parkway, (Exit 135 off I-75), Perry, GA 31069

From Bangor Daily News

Posted July 26, 2014, at 10:02 a.m.

 

Click to go to the main article.

Click to go to the main article.

The wording for the bear referendum, which will be Question 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot in Maine, appears simple enough. But voters shouldn’t be fooled into believing a “yes” vote will promise more than it can deliver.

Here’s the exact language: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety or for research?”

According to the proposed legislation behind this question, here are several ways one easily can be misled by this simple question. The use of the word “or” between dogs and traps is not multiple choice. Voters shouldn’t be fooled into thinking they can somehow choose which of these three hunting methods to ban. A “yes” vote will ban all hunting of bears in Maine using bait and dogs and traps — all three methods, period.

The second half of Question 1 — “in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research” — doesn’t tell the whole story.

Again, the legislation behind this question prohibits all bear hunting scenarios in which bait, dogs and traps would be used by licensed recreational bear hunters. There are really no exceptions for licensed hunters, or the general public, relating to the use of baits, dogs and traps for legally killing or even relocating bears.

The legislation does allow the use of baits, dogs and traps to protect property, public safety or for research, but it restricts these methods solely to state and federal employees. A hunter shouldn’t expect to ever again be allowed to hunt bears over bait, with dogs or with traps if this referendum passes — unless he or she is employed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as a nuisance control agent.

And homeowners experiencing problems with marauding bears? They will not legally be authorized to kill or relocate an offending bear using bait, dogs or traps of any kind. They presumably will need to apply to IFW and get the agency to respond to their problem — possibly at a financial cost to them.

If this referendum passes, the unintended consequences are numerous.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Right now, I’m planning a trip in September of 2015 (yes, 14 months from now) back to North Maine Woods and Paul Beauregard’s bear camp.

Our 2010 hunt with Paul was a lot of fun, and if I remember correctly, 20 out of 22 hunters were successful, and I know my father saw a bear, but he couldn’t line up the shot with his bow, so he passed it up.  Right now, I’m trying to decide if I want to hunt the first week of season or the second week of season, they are slightly more expensive, but I would think have a higher chance of a larger bear than the latter weeks.

Anyone who is interested in this hunt, feel free to contact PB Guide Service, or get in touch with mia via the 323 Archery FaceBook page.  I would say the entire trip, license, travel from the continental U.S., and guided hunt, should come in under $3,000.

www.pbguideservice

First of all – I found out today that next year’s ATA Show will be in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Note to self – bring a parka and WARM boots to wear when not IN the show.

Second, I’m going to TRY to make this laptop behave tonight and do more than toss 70+ photographs up with “Here they are, G’night!” for an explanation.   As usual, I ran into some friends at todays show (Sara Lamson and Darrin Brown again, Jim from Strothers, Lake Oconee Golf and Archery, Travis (T-Bone) Turner, Matt Stutzman – I say ‘friends,’ because we’re all ARCHERS – I’ve met these folks, exchanged a few words, but honestly, most of ’em couldn’t pick me out of a lineup if the rest of the lineup was comprised of average 8th grade kids. (I’m approximately Bigfoot sized. If you’ve ever met or seen Big Jim from Big Jim’s Bow Company, we’re about the same size, though exactly the opposite in quantity of hair…)

For descriptions or explanations, view the images below.  Some of the images will get more attention when I’m not working on a rickety, tiny coffee table in a $40 hotel room, Archtomic Bomb by Dead Tek for instance.

From ABC 2 WBAY

Posted: Nov 05, 2013 1:52 PM EST

Updated: Nov 05, 2013 5:43 PM EST

By JENI O’MALLEY
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Tim Bowers got to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die.

When the avid outdoorsman was badly hurt Saturday in a hunting accident, doctors said he would be paralyzed and could be on a ventilator for life. His family had a unique request: Could he be brought out of sedation to hear his prognosis and decide what he wanted to do?

Doctors said yes, and Bowers chose to take no extra measures to stay alive. He died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed.

“We just asked him, ‘Do you want this?’ And he shook his head emphatically no,” his sister, Jenny Shultz, said of her brother, who was often found hunting, camping or helping his father on his northeastern Indiana farm.

The 32-year-old was deer hunting when he fell 16 feet from a tree and suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him from the shoulders down. Doctors thought he might never breathe on his own again.

Courts have long upheld the rights of patients to refuse life support. But Bowers’ case was unusual because it’s often family members or surrogates, not the patient, who make end-of-life decisions.

WBAY

 

Read more at ABC 2 WBAY

 

(Folks – BE SAFE!  Harnesses are NOT expensive compared to the kind of damage you can do to yourself if you fall.  I’ve fallen 16 feet HUNDREDS of times (I used to do live theater stunts in college. Hey, ‘young and dumb,’ as they say, ask me how many straight fingers I have left sometime) but that was when I was 20 years old – I’m more than double that now, and instead of a snappy rolling fall and jump up at the end, these days I expect there would be a loud thump followed by a groan, if I was even conscious.  Most tree stands now COME WITH a basic safety harness, however if you bought your treestand second hand, or if you’re using a home made stand or elevated box blind, that doesn’t mean skip the safety harness.  In an elevated box stand, a safety line off of the ladder works the same as a safety line from a ladder stand. USE IT. )

My condolences to the Bowers family.  32 is far too young.