Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

Bear hunting trip started out slow

I finally slept in my own bed last night — the first time in forever.

This black bear hunting is killing me this time around! Traveling from one bear state to the other not only puts on the miles, but is wearing thin on this old body.

I just returned from hunting the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it was some hunt. I tagged out on Thursday, taking a nice 199-pound dry sow. The story, however, doesn’t start nor end there. It actually starts on the first Monday morning of the hunt.

I have hunted with guides and outfitters all over this country, but these guys have to be the most disorganized in the world. It seems like they were snake bitten.

Without going into every little detail, here are some of the things that went wrong on the first day. Before we even left the lodge they needed to stop and get gas. Shouldn’t they have done that before I got there? Then the right front brakes went out. They told me they changed the one on the left the week before, but hadn’t gotten to the other one, so there we were heading down one of the highest mountains in the United States with no brakes.

In years past with these guys there has always been ATV noise on their private road. This year, they assured me, it had been taken care of. Two hours into my hunt came the roar of 4WD traffic. That was short lived though, as the trespassers were told to leave. Although I could hear them talking I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I could tell they were not happy about having to leave. But they were the ones on private property without permission.

Heading to the mountains on Day Two we stopped to get gas. Wait a minute, I asked, didn’t we just do this yesterday? Well we just put enough gas in to do the day. In case you kill out we don’t have to let this truck sit with a full tank in it. Do what? I told them to fill the thing up and I would pay for it.

After about three hours in the mountains I saw one of the guides heading toward me. We need to run, he said, there has been an issue at his home. Another day shot.

Then on Wednesday it started to feel like a hunt when I shot at a big black bear, well over 300 pounds, and missed. My luck changed the next day when I took my gun to the shooting range and found that my scope was off. A few major adjustments and the next bear paid the price.

I will be hunting Letcher County on Saturday (October 27), the first day of archery season. I hope to see some of you there. Wish me luck.

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