Loaded for deer, he #8216;settled#8217; for bear

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

Chad Jones went hunting on a week ago Wednesday with his dad, Roger. Nothing unusual about that.

He took his gun, climbed into a deer stand on a friend’s farm in Suffolk, just over the Southampton County line, and waited for his prey.

“There’s been a lot of logging done in the area,” he said, and the land was what he called swampy.

But soon enough, his prey wandered up within site of Chad’s perch on the stand. But what ambled up wasn’t a deer. Dear, no.

It was a pretty good sized black bear.

“He was maybe 20 yards from the stand, sat down and smelled something,” said Chad, still pumped about telling the story a few days after it happened.

He raised his .50-caliber muzzle-loader, squeezed, “and luckily I hit it,” he said. Chad’s shot hit the bear in its head, dropping it.

However, that was only phase one of the day. The bear was obviously good size. “His paws were bigger than my hands,” said Chad, who stands a beefy 6-foot-1.

He and his cousin, Jason, fetched a front-end loader and picked up the bear, heaving it onto a pickup.

“It was a very big load,” he said. “It was the biggest thing he’d seen.”

From there it was back to Franklin and the bear checking station alongside Dail’s Hardware on Armory Drive. According to Chad, the bear topped the scale at 300 pounds with a portion of its head and shoulder still resting on the floor.

Using his own frame for reference, Chad figured the bear stood 6-foot-6.

The word spread across Armory Drive, drawing employees and customers from Advance Auto Parts across the street to get a look at what is being considered a 400-pound black bear, shot once and felled in Suffolk.

The plans for the bear’s remains are pretty straightforward: They spent five hours at the butcher’s turning the meat into steaks and hamburger — “it’s better than beef,” Chad said.

The bear may also become a floor covering.

“I’ve always wanted to kill a bear,” said Chad.

Now, he has.