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    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      I just made my first drive to the north woods of GA to scout for fall bear. I headed to an area that we have hunted in the past and done really well in. Sure enough, there were plenty of bears to be found. I saw four in 9 miles of hiking. I came face to face with a young boar (125 lbs) pretty early on and he headed to parts unknown. I didn’t have time to pull my camera out. Another half mile after that, I jumped a big sow off of the trail and she ran a short ways into a thicket. As soon as she did, I heard the unmistakable sound of cubs climbing a tree to my left. Two 5 lb cubs went up a big eastern white pine and hung out while I snapped a few photos. I took five or so pictures until momma asked me to leave. In all those miles, I crossed 9 sets of tracks and ended up hanging my trail cam over a marking tree. Black bears use these trees to keep up with one another and establish territory boundaries. I took a picture of it in case you had never seen one. They usually only use conifers.

      The really amazing part was that on the way out, I jumped four turkey hens. Among them there were about 20 or so poults. They were all about the size of grouse…..and one of them was SNOW WHITE!! A pure albino wild turkey!!! Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of it so I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.

      I glassed 6 white oaks in those miles and every single one was loaded with acorns so it is going to be tough to pin down bears this year because food will be everywhere but I think we know enough areas that they really seem to like that we will do just fine. We also do know some of the trees that they really prefer so that will help to.

      I’ll be going up again in a few weeks to check out another area and then in 6 weeks or so to pull my cam. I’ll use this thread to keep everyone updated on the whole thing.

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    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

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    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

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    • Doc Nock
      Post count: 1150

      What an awesome story!

      That is so cool to have an area to hunt with a plentitude of game…

      Where I hunt, we barely see much… and it sorta takes the zest outa the hunt knowing not much is around…but we had permission. That is going to change this year after 20+ years… so force me to find new stomping grounds.

      I got all psyched up just reading your tale!:D

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      Fantastic. I’m so excited, bro. I look forward to this hunt so much…..it’s the kickoff for the fall/winter hunts.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Glad to hear it!! We have a family camp in Perry CTY. Hunting has suffered there as well.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Doc Nock wrote: What an awesome story!

      That is so cool to have an area to hunt with a plentitude of game…

      Where I hunt, we barely see much… and it sorta takes the zest outa the hunt knowing not much is around…but we had permission. That is going to change this year after 20+ years… so force me to find new stomping grounds.

      I got all psyched up just reading your tale!:D

      It is THE HUNT.

    • Bunyan Morris
      Member
      Post count: 135

      Looking forward to getting up there myself in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing the photos, Sean. Can’t wait until our September hunt!

    • BuckyT
      Post count: 138

      Great scouting trip brother!!! I’m chomping at the bit to get up there myself!!! Looking forward to this hunt!!! It is a perfect way to start the hunting season!

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Went up again yesterday to check a different area. I found an awesome ridge. Covered in big white oaks that were loaded with acorns. A main bear trail running down in with every rock and log on the hill turned over. I also saw a very good bear at about 2pm. I’ll try to post some pictures up.

      I have two more places to check before the end of summer but so far it’s looking pretty pretty pretty good.

      Pig sign was lacking which surprised me a lot. All blackberries and blueberries were loaded and bears should be very thick come fall.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Did about 12 miles today. Saw two bear and a ton of sign. Still an overabundance of acorns. Bears are eating nothing but blackberries at the moment. From the looks of their marking trees, there was a very strong rut up there this year. Pines were marked everywhere and with much more gusto than I’ve seen before. I pulled my camera that has been out for about a month over a marking tree and was shocked by how big this boy is. He came by daily until the card filled up. He was there five times in one day. Biggest pic of a bear I’ve seen from down here.

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    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      That is a hoss! Imagine him after another month of serious gorging on berries and acorns. And to have him at 8 steps on foot? Not sure I could even keep an arrow on the string looking at that gent. I’m not a big guy, and he’s a big bear.:D

    • hay57
      Post count: 13

      To me this all is very amazing . Doubtful one could find a patch of timber in Ohio to make a 12 mile hike , or even 6 miles . I guess one could walk in circles . 😀

      I get a big kick out your posts and pics . No doubt a man that can take care of himself in the woods .

      Hope you get plenty of personal time with that BIG bear.

      Keep it coming .

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      hay57 wrote: To me this all is very amazing . Doubtful one could find a patch of timber in Ohio to make a 12 mile hike , or even 6 miles . I guess one could walk in circles . 😀

      I get a big kick out your posts and pics . No doubt a man that can take care of himself in the woods .

      Hope you get plenty of personal time with that BIG bear.

      Keep it coming .

      Super nice of you to say. North Ga is largely covered by the Chattahoochee National Forest. Our bear population just sort of exploded about 6 or 8 years ago and now there are more bear than deer up there. A lot more. Finding them is not really hard if you are willing to put in a lot of miles in the summer. The acorn crop varies year to year and that determines where they will be in the fall. This year they will be scattered all over with a massive white oak crop from the high ridges all the way down to the bottoms.

      As for that bear, I’m not sure I want to get a shot at him. I’ve been around bears my whole life and killed my first bear before my first deer, but he really makes me shiver a bit. Not to mention the fact that he’s living almost five miles from the truck!! It would take a lot of good buddies to get him out, even in quarters.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      When I pulled the card from the camera and his picture showed up, I literally looked over both shoulders!

    • hay57
      Post count: 13

      I have never wanted to hunt bear in the past , but your stories and pics along with the fact that you are actually HUNTING them with traditional tackle is most interesting and brings out a desire to do the same , though I doubt I ever will .

      I didn’t know there are vast tracts of WILD places east of the big creek where a man can take his recurve for a 12 mile walk .

      I understand (I think) what you said about the 5 miles from the truck . Being past middle aged with a degenerative spine I only hunt whitetails in places that allow a small tractor or such to fetch out a kill. My dragging days are all behind me now .

      Wishing you the best of seasons in both safety and SKILL of the hunt . Let the puny rely on luck.

    • BuckyT
      Post count: 138

      I’ll help you lug him out if you get him. I’m sure you’ll do the same if the roles are reversed.:wink:

      I’ll help Tailfeather too.:D

      I’m fired up about getting back in those hills to chase those bruins!!!

    • paleoman
      Member
      Post count: 918

      Sweet Potato of a story! N. Ga. looks like the place to be for Blackie. My record was 4 in one day, so I know you are in primo habitat. Be ready when they attack:lol:!

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Looks like a good-sized blackie in those pics! Good luck out there!

    • Bunyan Morris
      Member
      Post count: 135

      I’m still amazed at the size of this guy. Looking forward to sharing the mountain with him and his kin in September.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Sorry, I haven’t posted in a while about this. I’ve been up two more times. The first time I went in to my low elevation area which is a LOOOONG way from the truck and bumped a sow and two cubs and found the best bear sign I’ve ever seen back there. Tailfeather will be hunting the hottest white oak I’ve ever found in a few weeks.

      Yesterday, I went and checked my high elevation ridges where I killed the bear last year. The sign from last year in the red oaks was amazing. I’ve never seen such destruction! Some trees will have a tough time dealing with the hurting put on them.

      I did find a few white oaks getting climbed and that’s where I plan to start on opening morning. I would go back into the low elevation area which is much better but I don’t want to try to get a bear out of there alone and I’ll be hunting by myself opening weekend.

      The second weekend, I’ll be back in there with tail feather and I think things are going to get western pretty quick! I have four buddies coming up to hunt for three days on the second weekend and I think I’ve gotten a good plan developed for all of them.

      Tailfeather hates when I say things like this but: Everyone is going to see bears. Hopefully the arrows will fly true!

      All the bears I’ve seen and the tracks and climbing marks tell me that there are a lot of good bears this year. Last year there were TONS of little and illegal bears but aside from cubs, I’m only seeing sign of good bears.

      I did come across two deer beds yesterday on a high bench. The first I’ve ever seen up there. We very rarely see deer in the mtns anymore. Too many bears.

      Black widow is shooting flawlessly and broadheads are sharp. The waiting is killing me!

      Oh yeah, and lots and lots of pigs this year.

    • Bunyan Morris
      Member
      Post count: 135

      Etter1 wrote: Sorry, I haven’t posted in a while about this. I’ve been up two more times. The first time I went in to my low elevation area which is a LOOOONG way from the truck and bumped a sow and two cubs and found the best bear sign I’ve ever seen back there. Tailfeather will be hunting the hottest white oak I’ve ever found in a few weeks.

      Yesterday, I went and checked my high elevation ridges where I killed the bear last year. The sign from last year in the red oaks was amazing. I’ve never seen such destruction! Some trees will have a tough time dealing with the hurting put on them.

      I did find a few white oaks getting climbed and that’s where I plan to start on opening morning. I would go back into the low elevation area which is much better but I don’t want to try to get a bear out of there alone and I’ll be hunting by myself opening weekend.

      The second weekend, I’ll be back in there with tail feather and I think things are going to get western pretty quick! I have four buddies coming up to hunt for three days on the second weekend and I think I’ve gotten a good plan developed for all of them.

      Tailfeather hates when I say things like this but: Everyone is going to see bears. Hopefully the arrows will fly true!

      All the bears I’ve seen and the tracks and climbing marks tell me that there are a lot of good bears this year. Last year there were TONS of little and illegal bears but aside from cubs, I’m only seeing sign of good bears.

      I did come across two deer beds yesterday on a high bench. The first I’ve ever seen up there. We very rarely see deer in the mtns anymore. Too many bears.

      Black widow is shooting flawlessly and broadheads are sharp. The waiting is killing me!

      Oh yeah, and lots and lots of pigs this year.

      It’s getting close!

    • Tradnut
      Post count: 5

      Excellent story and pics! Thanks for sharing and taking us along. Good luck and hope you are successful.

    • David Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2270

      Etter,

      Good stories. Here in the Pocono region of NE PA we have had some of the largest black bears in the world. No small coincidence that we also have resorts, restaurants and plenty of dumpsters. However, I don’t think anybody sees bear the way you are seeing them. That’s just amazing. I wish you a good hunt and look forward to more stories. best, dwc

    • Bunyan Morris
      Member
      Post count: 135

      dwcphoto wrote: Etter,

      Good stories. Here in the Pocono region of NE PA we have had some of the largest black bears in the world. No small coincidence that we also have resorts, restaurants and plenty of dumpsters. However, I don’t think anybody sees bear the way you are seeing them. That’s just amazing. I wish you a good hunt and look forward to more stories. best, dwc

      You are correct. Etter puts his heart and soul into the bears. And, I appreciate it. As a matter of fact a good buddy of ours who happens to shoot a horizontal 2×4 (we tolerate this flaw in our mutual friend’s character because the rest of him is a pretty good guy) has nicknamed him “Bear.” It is a well deserved moniker.

      Etter has scouted this large parcel of public land for himsel and other TBH members, tailfeather, lackey and I.

      He has put in hours of time and miles of shoe leather simply because he is passionate about black bears.

      I am very grateful to him because I live five hours away in south Georgia. I am looking forward to bear camp more than any other hunt this fall. I’m actually a little disappointed that our camp comes so early in the. It’s like eating dessert before the main course. But, I will likely return to the mountain in early October for a second hunt and hike.

      Etter, thank you brother.:D

    • David Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2270

      Broadhead, Eat Desert First! I suspect that a horizontal 2×4 is a selfbow??

      Etter is lucky to have appreciative friends, as you are to have him to guide you to such a place.

      Good luck out there and keep the photos and stories coming. dwc

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      Can’t wait, fellas. See ya’ll in two weeks! Who’s bringing the bourbon and ceegars? Or is it wine and cheese this year? Can’t remember. 🙂

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Ive got one meal covered for you guys. Venison backstrap and chicken on the fire.

      Im just bringing beer and probably some red. Hopefully Ill get one down this weekend and then I can just be designated scouter/meat packer.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Well, daypack is packed, broad heads sharpened, water bottles filled. Only thing left to do is grocery shop and throw everything in the truck.

      It’s gonna be a long five days!!!!

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      See ya later folks. Hold down the fort for me. The truck is packed, groceries are bought, bows are tuned, and the hound has been walked.

      I’m going to bring my video camera and try to do a “hunt a long” but I doubt I’ll ever have the technological know how to put it together and get it on here. At the very least, maybe I’ll have a black, shaggy beast to post up on sunday.

      Have a great weekend! I know I will!

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Wow. I got it handed to me this first weekend. First off, the DNR opened a gate to a road that I usually walk over 3 miles to get to. I decided fist off to drive in and hunt a long ridge that I’ve found bears on all the time. Probably the best bear ridge I’ve found on the whole WMA. Nothing! Saw some trees that had been climbed but not within the last ten days.

      I may not have mentioned that EVERY oak up here is RAINING acorns this year. I’ve never seen so many acorns dropping on any piece of property EVER. So I hunted until about 11 yesterday and went back to camp and at 1 I headed to a different place. Climbed a big tall ridge and came slowly back down a little finger ridge. Sat for an hour over some 7 day old sign but saw nothing. BTW- The hammock seat is the greatest invention ever. If you are a mountain hunter, you need one of these.

      Anyway, as I slipped down the ridge, I heard a bunch of stuff coming and a group of 7 pigs came by me after they winded me. They ran through at about 30 yards.

      This morning I was in five miles before daylight and hiked a big ridge that was just raining acorns. Still didn’t see much fresh bear sign. Finally found one tree up there that had been climbed A LOT and there was fresh pig sign under it. Hopefully my buddy Tailfeather will sit there this week and do some good. On the way back down the trail I walked up on a nice bear at about 6 feet. We both saw each other at the same time and he booked it.

      Here is the main point:

      There are way too many acorns and they are raining which is keeping the bears from climbing the trees. It’s extremely odd for so many to be dropping so early but it is what it is.

      Sadly, we are going to have to “deer” hunt them next week and I’m not pumped about it at all.

      There were zero bears or pigs killed on the whole WMA but I think my buddies are going to change that next week. I talked to about 20 or so other hunters up there and I have never felt so confident about my own talents lol.

      So, 1.5 days of hunting and over 25 miles of hiking (by gps) and I saw 7 pigs and a bear, but I am confident that they weren’t moving at all. My buddies who were hunting great deer property nearby didn’t see anything either so I feel that the moon must have been out of whack and it was HOOOOTTTTT!

      Anyway, going to work for a few days and then we will be after e again for the long haul. I’ll probably hunt deer tomorrow afternoon.

      Ps- Camped alone but met some really nice guys and made a bunch of friends all over the WMA. Never felt lonely for a second.

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