There is a bear, Where? Over there!

by david on November 18, 2019

I hope it is ok with you if I stray from Africa for the next two stories. Bear hunting turned out to be much more exciting than I thought it would and ended up lighting a fire in me. This first story takes place close to home and the second would take me 2/3 of the way around the world. I hope you enjoy. The hunt took place in November 2017.                                                                                                                                         DB

Somewhere back in the dark ages when I resembled someone young, I remember a story or rhyme or something starting with: “There is a bear. Where? Over there …”.  I don’t really remember where it came from, but the words keep running through my mind this morning. Why you ask? Because I am sitting at the edge of a field and there are literally bears everywhere.  Before I go too far with my story, I guess I should start back at the beginning.

My little brother, Doug, and I have shared many adventures in the outdoors over the years.  Here at home in North Carolina, we have fished for crappie, stripers, and catfish on Lake Norman.  We fished for whatever happened to be biting in the surf on Ocracoke Island. We have hunted for ducks in the marshes and sounds close to the Core Banks.  We have hunted quail on my “back 40”. He and I have traveled internationally to hunt doves, pigeons, perdiz, and ducks in Argentina. The previous summer found us in Africa hunting plains game.  We both love the outdoors and the adventures offered there. Africa was my suggestion, and it was his turn to pick something for this year. His choice brought us back home to North Carolina. We were going down east to hunt some of the huge black bears living in the coastal plain.  A great many hunters and most other folks do not know North Carolina has a lot of bears (15,000-20,000 depending where you get your numbers), and more than a few really huge bears (600 to 800 plus pounds). We were both going to do our best to find one or two in the really huge category.  We did our research and decided to book a hunt with “Dare to Hyde Adventures” for the first week of the 2017 hunting season, and we started making plans to get there.

Turns out getting there was pretty easy.  We just climb in the truck and head east. Gear wasn’t a problem as our normal hunting camo would work just fine.  The only thing I needed (I have to admit putting off buying a pair for years) was a set of muck boots. Muck boots are waterproof, knee-high, ankle fit, have (hopefully) a steel shank, and are designed to be worn all day without wearing blisters on your feet as some rubber boots are prone to do.  I broke down and bought a pair and it turned out to be a very wise move. Rifles would not be a problem either. We would be taking two rifles each, one scoped and one open-sighted. The rifles we took to Africa would be great bear medicine also. His .375 Holland and Holland, and my 9.3×62 Mauser were adequate for anything up to and including elephants.  The calibers, which have been used for well over 100 years, have a reputation of proven game stoppers. Our open-sighted rifles were another throwback to the old days. We would be using lever guns chambered in the venerable 45-70 Government. The 45-70 has been around even longer (1873) and is also more than capable of taking a bear. The scoped rifles would handle anything at distance and the iron sights were perfect for working in close or if we had to follow the bears into some of the brambles and bogs found along our coast.  With the rifles decided on, all we had to do now was practice our shooting. Doug lives about an hour away, and we were able to get several practice sessions in. We practiced from the shooting sticks like we did to prepare for Africa. We practiced shooting from a sitting position, from a rest like in a blind or stand, and even freehand. We felt well prepared when we were done.

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