Bear Hunt

December 26, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

For years I had meant to get out and shoot something, anything of the one day bear season here in Middle Georgia. I made it this year.

The backstory is that we have a smallish and largely uncounted bear population that a few years ago was opened up to the one day hunt.

 In the meantime, a population study by biologists at the University of Georgia aims to figure out how many bears we actually have and how connected they are to larger populations both north and south of us. 

So the day of the hunt, I slid the VW down the forest service road to the check station where every dead bear had to be brought. Then I waited. 

It was only a few hours until a kill came in. A male, around 140 pounds. Taken in Twiggs County, more or less on the other side of the Ocmulgee River from the wildlife management area where the check station was located. 

Bear_HuntBear_HuntGRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH Perry, GA 12/14/13
Georgia Department of Natural Resources Ranger Ronnie Beard helps Justin Sapp, center, and his father Stevie Sapp hoist the bear Justin killed on family property near the Twiggs County/Bleckley County line during the one day Middle Georgia bear season Saturday.

 

Turns out he would be the only bear killed that day. The biologists took samples to add his data to the pile of data they had gathered through less lethal methods during the study. 

 

Bear_HuntBear_HuntGRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH Perry, GA 12/14/13
Mike Hooker, a UGA graduate student and biologist working on the long term Middle Georgia bear study, prepares to collect DNA and other samples from the first bear brought into the Oaky Woods check station during the one day Middle Georgia bear season Saturday. The almost 130 lb. male was taken in Twiggs County near the Bleckley County line.

The study had already prompted Department of Natural Resources officials to move the hunt a month later, from November to December, in an effort to give females a chance to stay out of harm's way. It was also a colossally rainy day. Hard to say which influence the hunt's outcome, but far fewer animals were taken in 2013 than in previous years. 


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