A Year For Bear

Bears, bears and more Georgia bears in 2009, including a 500-lb. White County bruin for a bowhunter.

GON Staff | October 4, 2009

Earl Massey, of Cleveland, killed this White County bear at 6:05 p.m. Sept. 13 as it fed on muscadines. The bear’s estimated live weight was 500 pounds, and it has 19 1/2 inches of Pope & Young skull measurements.

The topic around the breakfast meeting places across the north Georgia mountains the past month has been bears.

Bears in the backyard bird feeders. Bears in the trash. Bears almost getting hit on mountain roads and highways.

The past few weeks another topic of the conversation is bears — and some big ones — being taken by Georgia bowhunters.

Hunt advisor Terry Fowler, of Ellijay, has lived in the mountains all his life, and he’s never heard so much bear talk.

“The state folks say there are about 1,200 bears up here. You about see that many driving around in a week,” Terry said jokingly. But he is serious about his opinion that the north Georgia bear population is up, possibly way up.

“You can’t really blame all these sightings and encounters on development pushing them out this year with the economy the way it’s been,” Terry said.

A key for bowhunters after a mountain bear this month is finding acorns, especially white oaks. Look for acorn trees the bears have been climbing up and breaking off branches to get at still-green acorns.

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