The morning of 30 October 2010 began with me sleeping in accidently and missing my opertunity to get a couple does during the Chattahoochee National Forest Either Sex day. Naturally, the two buddies I was to link up with talked all kinds of smack and generally gave me a hard time as I texted them apologizing and asking "Hows it look out there?" I felt horrible and was pretty bumbed out. We had been working this piece of forest for 3 weeks now playing Wack-a-Mole with elusive bucks but knew the area is a gold mine of activity. It was just a matter of time.
About 3 in the afternoon I descided that I was going to go out there anyway and hunt till sun down in a feeble attempt to make myself feel better and hopefully put some meat in the freezer. I got all my stuff together and made the 30 minute drive and parked were we always do. Bout a mile out I rounded a corner and saw a huge black bear in the road (easily a 300 pound bruiser) frantically breaking right into the woods. I stopped and rolled down the window to get a better look and could hear him crashing through the vegitation, high tailing it out of there. Naturally I thought to myself - wow, that would be something! Ive seen several bears since spring roaming the woods but had never been this close.
I took about 20 mintues getting dressed, checking my gear and my Marlin 336w 30-30, spraying myself down and began the 1000 meter trek to our sweet spot. Enroute to our spot you have to cross a small feeder field but this day I descided I was going to skirt around it and make a direct line for the area I wanted to hunt. I found a good tree and had 3 draws I could overwatch with numerous rubs in them and thick mountain laural that I knew these buggers like to bed down in. I get up in my tree, arange my gear and settle in.
After a good 15 minutes of total silence and observation I decided to break out my new "bleat can" and see if I could rouse a couple curious does. Very quickly I realized that this particular can sounded very much like a distressed fawn or young doe if I shook it a bit gently. It was almost comical and I soon realized that I needed some work perfecting this tool. Something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. From where Im sitting I can see the south end of this field maybe 100 yards away. I brought my binos up and saw several reeds being swayed back and forth and a hint of black periodically. At first I thought it was a turkey but continued to observe. Several minutes passed and the movement stopped. I bleated the can a few more times but when I brought the binos up again to check the reeds out, I had someone staring back in my direction! Big round black ears and a brown muzzle!
I instantly knew what it was and continued my pathetic distressed fawn/doe impression and with every turn of the can this guy kept getting more and more interested! I couldnt beleive it! I didnt have a good shot so I waited and he began to skirt the edge of this field from my left to my right. I looked up ahead of him about 10 meters and saw a clearing that I could fire into if he ventured into that particular area. My heart is starting to pound. Breathing starts to get heavier. I can feel the surge of adrenaline courseing its way through my veins and the shakes in the legs starting.
Very slowley I took my rifle off safe and began to stand. I couldnt beleive my eyes as he continued moving forward at a slow casual walk still looking back down into the draw I was sitting at. From where I was, this clearing I identified was about 4 foot wide and sure enough he went right into it! I put that front sight post on him where I thought was right behind his shoulder blade and squeezed - BOOM! He flinched and let out a bark as he twisted his head around to bite at this angry lead bee that just stung him. Cocked the 30-30, aimed and fired one more shot. As soon as I fired, this 3/4 inch branch about 10 feet away from me snapped down as my round hit it and continued flying toward my quarry! As soon as it hit, he instantly went limp and rolled down the hill about 10 feet down in my direction behind a fallen log resting in some laural! I couldnt beleive it! I was absolutley PUMPED! Cocked another round and waited as I brought my binos up to check for movement and listened for any sound.
I recall as soon as that first shot went off, the laural thickets which I had been observing exploded with frantic deer running off - go figure. I waited for what seemed like forever but in reality was probably only a couple minutes - nothing. I grabbed my cell phone and called my buddy, voice still shaking and said "DUDE! You'll never guess what I just shot!" Like a true friend he hopped in his truck and made the 30 minute drive out to help me drag this guy out. I was very learly of the way he was to approach cause I didnt want him inadvertantly walking up on a wounded ticked off bear. He wanted me to wait in the stand till he got on site but I couldnt risk him getting mauled. While he was on his way I very carefully started shimmying down the tree, got all my gear in a ready to carry configuration and began this wide half moon movemement to where I though he was laid up. I def couldnt see him on the ground at this point.
I would walk very cautiously a few meters, stop and observe with my binos maintaining as much stand off as I could. I didnt like being down hill of him so I started back up the other side of the draw into the open field so I could peer down at the area. As soon as I step foot into the field I hear "Hey Ranger". I swung around so fast and there's my buddy standing with a big ol grin, blaze orange vest on and 30-30 in hand - "Like an Indian my friend" he says smiling.
I show him the area and we get online, weapons at the high ready slowley moving forward. I get to the spot I knew I shot him at, peer over a fallen log and there he laid! Dead before he stopped rolling. I couldnt beleive it. I felt like the richest man alive!
We drug him back up hill with some rope my friend had brought and of course snapped a couple pics and admiring this fine beast. I GPS'd the place were he was shot and my tree stand - With a Marlin 336w, 150 grain Winchester Silver tips, iron sights and STANDING - I sent two rounds into this scrapper - one peicing both lungs and the heart right behind the shoulder blade, the second (the one that smashed through the branch enroute to its target) into his neck at exactly 91 yards. It was a VERY quick, efficent and humane kill. I couldnt have been more thrilled and felt more blessed!
I hope you guys enjoyed my experience and I can tell you that I CANNOT WAIT for next season to get another!