This could be the year. Waiting for daythe dayto break, your anticipation is so high your thoughts nearly become whispers. In a few minutes it will be a brand new deer season, a fresh start. The possibilities are as endless as the miles between you and the sun that seems to be taking forever to rise.
This could be the year everything goes right, when before noon you're looking over your shoulder at 10 high points of bone as you lean into the drag rope. You found the giant over Labor Day weekend, after you and some buddies put the new porch on your camp. He was standing at the edge of a nasty, blackberry-choked clear-cut no one dared enter. Except you. An hour ago you slipped into his hiding spot, creeping along the old logging road discovered on your third scouting trip, and in the chilly darkness you silently settled into your blind. The wind was perfect.
Maybe it's the year you kill your first buck. Somehow you just know it will be a big one. For more than half your 12-year lifetime, you've waited for this moment. What used to be just another day off school, provided by the district so older kids and teachers could hunt, now has real purpose. Before you merely listened to hunting stories; after today you'll be telling them. Grandpa's sitting on the other side of the treethis is his favorite spot. It's now yours, too.
It might be the year Dad finally fills his tag again. Too many seasons have passed since his last buck, and climbing mountains doesn't get any easier on a hunter in his 60s. But he's still out here, now following in your footsteps, waiting for his chance. He even bought new camo this year. Smiling through the sweat glistening on a beard more white than gray, he lets you know it's always worth the struggle.
Maybe this will be the year you take the first doe that wanders by, because times are tough and backstrap is not. You have just one day to hunt, not even a full one at that, and as a provider you're going to make the most of it. You wonder what your 3-year-old will think when he sees the glazed-over eyes of what will become this winter's meals. You hope he'll be curious and brave enough to run his fingers over the sleek hide, and pray you'll have a good answer when he asks why the animal is no longer breathing.
No matter your thoughts, your plans, your dreams on this opening day of deer season, let your mind revel in the unknownon what could happen. A chance at success in the deer woodsand never a guarantee of itis why we're out here in the first place.
How to Put Down A Black Bear
Most hunters are used to aiming behind the shoulder on deer for a double-lung shot. This works on bears, too; you can aim right behind the top of the shoulder and nearly halfway up the side. Better yet, break one or both shoulders. A bullet that busts bone and bursts lungs is the best way to anchor a bear. Bullet and bone fragments should damage the lungs and maybe even the heart. If you accidentally hit high you should still sever the bear's spine.
Take this shot only on a wounded bear that needs to be anchored. Your target is the top of the tail, not below it, so nervous and skeletal systems are hit. You want to split the pelvis and take out the back legs so a finishing shot can be taken.
Try to brain a charging bear. From the front, your target is just above a line that would join the top of the eyes. If possible, wait till the head points down or at a 90-degree angle to the bullet path. Keep shooting until it is down, as an adrenaline-charged bruin can be hard to stop.
If it's facing you, aim just below the jaw to drive the bullet through the neck and chest. If it's quartering toward you, aim for the shoulder you can see and send the bullet through the chest cavity. If it's quartering away, do this in reverse by shooting up through the chest to the far shoulder.
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We Hunt Bear by Adam Heggenstaller, Editor in Chief, Shooting Illustrated
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