Lake Burton WMA Four-Minute Bear Hunt

GON Staff | January 3, 2003

Gabe Kidd, of Calhoun, took one of the biggest bears of the season, this 451-lb. Lake Burton WMA bear that he shot Nov. 16.

Despite the heavy rain, Gabe Kidd, of Calhoun, and Chuck Cain went to the Lake Burton WMA bear, boar and either-sex hunt on Nov. 16-17. The result would be the first—and likely the last—big bear either will ever choose to tangle with.

Chuck arrived at the campsite Saturday at about noon. Gabe had hunted that morning and killed a 100-lb. spike buck. That afternoon about 3:45, the two men gathered their gear and began a 1 1/2-hour hike to their mountain-top hunting area. When they arrived at the top of the peak, they were looking south over Lake Burton. They sat down against the base of a big oak tree and had hardly caught their breath when they heard something walking in the leaves.

“It’s a hunter,” Gabe told Chuck. Then, “No, it’s not a hunter, it’s a bear—get your gun up. Man! It’s a big one. Get your gun up, and we’ll both shoot on the count of three.”

Then he said, “I’m going to drop him in his tracks.”

Gabe fired—twice with his 7mm mag—and the bear was down.

“All of that happened within four minutes of us sitting down,” said Chuck. “The bear looked small at 90 yards, but up close it was huge.”

After Gabe field-dressed it, they tied two straps to the bear and tried to move it.

“Ever try to push a parked car?” said Chuck. “It didn’t budge.”

The bear was shot at about 5:30, and they walked out at 6 p.m. to get help. Because of the rain, even a 4-wheel drive couldn’t make it up the logging roads, so they borrowed a game cart from someone in camp, and with Gabe’s 13-year-old nephew, they returned to the bear.

“Words can’t tell you what a pain it is trying to haul a bear that big down a mountain,” said Chuck. “After falling down, dragging and much exhaustion, we finally got the bear down to an old logging road. Then at approximately 2 a.m., the cart breaks.”

Shortly thereafter, they gave up for the night and returned  in the morning. Finally at 2 p.m. the next day, they arrived at the checking station with the bear.

The bear weighed 451 pounds field-dressed and likely weighed around 500 pounds live weight.

“I have shot one bear,” said Gabe. “I won’t ever shoot another one.”

Chuck calls the bear hunt the adventure of a lifetime, but said the overnight ordeal probably ruined his bear hunting desire forever, too.

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