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Hunting and Fishing
We all have an interesting story about the pitfalls and success' in hunting. This story is one to put back in the memory banks for the next time you may tell yourself "I know I hit them hard" and end up not finding the animal.
*The following is a true story based on a 2004 bear hunt in Oregon.
Never owned a .30-30 carbine, but I have always' thought they were pretty cool -kind of have a neat western feel to them. Wouldn't have much use for a .30-.30 but having a this new Benelli Shotgun that had been traded to me (noisy sucker! couldn't hold a candle to grand-dad's 'old model 12), I would have been willing to trade it for any old mule, I traded this real nice fellow for a beautiful .30-.30 Winchester model 95 at a gun show in Portland. *note; Two honest Americans traded straight across at a gun show. It cost us each $10 and 45 minutes to get federal approval for the trade. I see some of the reasoning behind the idea but we both were somewhat offended, as we should have as much right to bare,transfer & collect firearms as honest Americans as ANY tactical, judicial or the like.
Playing at the range, this thing held it's own (for an open sight). Wow, I had started to like this new cowboy style of gun. Considering I was well aware that hunting with a holstered bolt action long barrel would carry better than the 95 and a long barrel can sure enough out range a carbine, what use do I have for this gun. No Matter, I'm going to kill me a bear with it. May even be easy to carry.
Loaded up with Federal Premium 165 grain Nosler Partition Bullets (I really had faith). Rounded up my hunting buddies and off we went. Our bear hunting secret is located near a large river and the brush is large. We call it "combat hunting", due to the fact that most of our shots are at 50yds or less -sometimes at a charging bear (not on the attack but getting out of dodge). There is no tree stand to hide in, no vehicle and defiantly no quick movements as your usually stuck in briar's hip-deep. Hunting bears like this is pretty exciting but difficult nonetheless.
It was my lucky day and I had the perfect situation. A nice coast bear was standing broadside reaching for apples in a tree, arm up. Boy I had the perfect shot, this bruin was only 50 or 60 yd's away, no obstructions. I didn't even mention anything to my partner walking behind me, no reason. I had it done..So I thought. I knew I hit this bear right. Whoo-Hoo, I excitedly described the situation to 'old wild bill that had been standing behind me and we walked up to where the bear was standing to find No Bear, No Blood, no trail.
You talk about an unsettling situation. Ass-deep in brush, wounded bear -and a gun that I wasn't "really" sure about. The bear was shot at the base of a steep wooded hill. We heard light noises coming from the side hill through some dense brush that stood between us. Wild Bill and myself decided to give the bear some time and look for any sign of the "hit" while we wait. After a couple of minutes, Bill Hollered "I found your Bullet" What! I replied. You found WHAT? Is it Bloody? Nope! Is there Hair or meat on it? Nope!
This is the photo of the bullet bill found. It had not been cleaned or messed with!
A Nosler Partition bullet is basically two pieces of lead separated and enclosed in a copper casing. In the photo, you will see the rear piece of lead and the whole copper casing intact (60yd shot). This bullet hit this small bear in the armpit area, between ribs. The bullet opened up and "space shuttled" the tip piece of lead (size of a .22.bullet) through the bear. 75% of the projectile fired merely bounced off this bear.
We heard more action on the hillside and had to get down & dirty in order to finish the job (with a little help from wild bill's trusty .06). We found that the small piece of lead that actually penetrated this bear, grazed his heart and ended up going completely through the animal. It left no blood., bears are tough...for those who have not hunted much bear...BEARS ARE TOUGH! A hunter needs good bullets. Federal recommends the Nosler Partition bullets for large game. My gun fired normally. "My bullet hit it's mark. Was it just a faulty bullet? Is a .30-.30 just too slow for this type of bullet? I emailed Federal and explained the situation -they seemed pretty excited to examine the actual bullet. The bullet, along with the balance of the box has been sent to federal for research and we are waiting for their reply -will keep you posted as to their response.
I must say, it is a hunters worst day when there is a possibility of an un-clean kill involving any big game mammal. I do not know of any seasoned hunter who would congratulate an animal's suffering. If you show up, you'll have just plain "weird" things happen every once in a while. You will, at some point shoot an animal in the perfect situation and it will escape -leaving No Sign. Experience and persistence can often answer the questions we all will ask ourselves when we walk up to find No-animal or No-sign (there's usually some kind of tell-tale sign, maybe even a bullet carcass or something you wouldn't expect). Did I hit it? Is my gun off? Was there a branch? Too much wind? Out of range? etc. are the first things that will come to mind. *ever had a bullet bounce off a bear?
Moral of the story:
Don't leave "Betsy" at home, and use solid bullets on tough game!
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