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Virginia Bear

Old 10-16-2013, 07:27 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Free Union, VA
Posts: 750
Default Virginia Bear

I have the good fortune to be allowed to hunt the woods surrounding a vineyard outside of Charlottesville VA. I go there hunting Deer and Turkey. This year, they suffered a great deal of crop damage from Deer, Bear, Turkey, and Raccoon. Mostly from the Bear who would come in and gorge themselves on huge amounts of grapes every night. For that reason, the owner broke with his previous stance and asked me to try to take a bear if I had a chance. He didn't have to ask twice, but since I have not seen a bear in 23 years I wasn't holding my breath. The deer are plentiful and any large game I can take off the property helps them and and helps fill my fridge as well as some family members.
I was in a ground blind about 40 yds from the edge of the vineyard fence. Grapes were picked more than a week before. I had seen 4 deer Saturday but only had a shot at one. I used the 20 yd mark on my crossbow scope and it was 30+ yds. a clean miss. Around 530 I was thinking that if I didn't see anything by 6 I would probably head over to a family member's house for dinner. I leaned forward to get a better look at something I noticed thru the woods. As I was easing backward in my chair, I caught something out of the corner of my left eye. Black movement and I knew immediately that it was a bear. As I turned my head in it's direction my mind began to work at warps speed. It was about 4 yds from me and had come up from directly behind me. I never heard it. First thing I noticed was that this was a smaller bear. I looked for other bears. It was alone. I judged it to be an adolescent. It was of legal weight and I was going to take this bear if I had a shot. it was walking away at an angle that was giving me a very extreme quartering shot. it would shortly be out of my small shooting lane. I placed my 30 yd pin on a spot halfway between his front shoulder and his rump. I shot but felt like it hit too far back. He snarled and snapped at the air over his right shoulder when he was hit, then took off running. I recocked the bow and loaded an arrow. About this time I heard two low moans. Like Chewbaca from starwars. I would have sat for at least an hour but it was raining and had been all day. I waited 20 minutes then went to the spot I shot him. I found nothing at all. no arrow, no blood, no hair. I started searching and spent the next 3 hours traipsing around the side of the mountain finding nothing at all. I decided to come back in the morning. it took less than an hour in daylight, working from the spot of the shot to find him. He was only about 150 yds from the place he was shot. Hit high on his right rump, arrow crossed internal cavity cut open his liver and punched a small hole in his left lung, near the rear before exiting high on the left side. First assessment was that he was small. Legal weight here is 100 lbs live weight. His weight was estimated at 170. Certainly not a beast.

Last edited by dpv; 10-17-2013 at 06:37 PM. Reason: spelling errors
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:33 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 1,071

congrats! I hope to get my first one before season closes here!
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:20 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eastern wv
Posts: 3,410

congrats on your first bear, not near 170 pounds though from what I can see (head and feet are too small) nice long claws, you can tell there have been no dogs on it.
what you heard was the death bawl, when a bear makes that sound, he's dead.

Last edited by Ridge Runner; 10-17-2013 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:33 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Trumbull County, Ohio
Posts: 9,154

Congrats, gonna try to shoot my first one this year. Thanks for posting the story.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:39 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Free Union, VA
Posts: 750

Weight estimation was from me grabbing front and back legs and shrugging it a few times before I unzipped it. I based it on what it felt like compared to the gym. I was expecting it to be weighed at the checking station, but the women working there didn't seem to enthused about that.
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:39 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 168

congrats. really nice
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 5

Congrats on your first bear and I enjoyed reading your story. Most bears because their hides and fur is so thick wont even leave a spot of blood where you had shot him. Best thing to do with bears since their lungs and heart are right inside the front shoulders is just to take em out so they don't run. A bear can run a loooong ways with just one Lung I've learned, very lucky he died only that far away. Congrats again
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:50 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: elmira ny
Posts: 1,676

looks about 125lbs or so.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:21 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 9,227

Sweet. I've been hunting VA pretty regular for the last decade or so. The Navy has kept me in the Hampton Roads area. Shot a lot of whitetails here and a ton of waterfowl but I've yet to get a bear. Seen a couple but have never seen one when the season is open.

I've spent a lot of time on Cavalier WMA in Chesapeake. Lots of bear sign there. I figure it is only a matter of time and I'm going to put a 12 ga slug into one.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:56 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Where the ducks don't come no more
Posts: 4,420

Flags I live in Suffolk, and we have some of the biggest black bears in North America around here in the swamp and in north-eastern NC.

Oddly enough, with all the hunting I do... I have never even seen one. Not just while hunting, but even just riding down the road. The place I hunt is kinda an island from the rest of the world, so unless a bear swims a lake or crosses the major highway, he won't be in there. And if he did either... there isn't much for him... no reason for one to be. But I know guys who have a hard time killing a deer for the amount of bears around their place.
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