Teen hunter takes big Onslow County black bear

Onslow County bear
Youth hunter Colby Richard of Butner, N.C. killed this black bear in Onslow County on Dec. 20, 2019.

He’s an experienced hunter, but this was his first bear

Thirteen-year-old Colby Richard of Butner, N.C. killed a 370-pound Onslow County black bear on Dec. 20. He shot the bear just a few feet from where he stood in the thick brambles. The bear measured almost eight feet tall.

The youth hunter isn’t new to hunting. His two older sisters and father all share a similar passion for the outdoors. Deer and turkey make up the majority of their take each year. But he has dreamed of killing a big black bear at close range. So the family met up with Richard Carpenter for an old fashioned Onslow County bear hunt with hounds.

That morning, the group traveled the roadways and sandy ridges looking for fresh bear sign, and hopefully sign of a big bruin. They quickly found solid evidence of a big bear that had moved through the area the previous night.

Carpenter prepared his Plott hounds with tracking collars to help keep track of their movements, which can be long distances when chasing bears. Once on the path, the dogs filled the woods with a familiar melody of howling and barking in unison.

The dogs quickly corralled the Onslow County bear in the seemingly-impenetrable bay. The hunters had to crawl and shimmy through thick cover to reach the bear.

“We had to crawl on all fours for most of the way,” said Anthony Richard, Colby’s dad. “It was at least 140 yards in there and we could only stand a few times along the way.”

The bear was determined to get away

As the hunters got closer to the bear, the beast pushed further into the brush. The dogs quickly hemmed it up once again, but not for long.

“As I got closer to the bayed bear and all the dogs barking, the more my heart raced,” said Colby.

Onslow County bear
Colby Richard poses with the Onslow County black bear he killed on Dec. 20, 2109.

In sight of the dogs now, Colby suddenly saw the bushes and trees moving violently in front of them.

“I looked back at Dad and gave him a negative head shake. The bear was still on the move,” he said.

Finally, the bear found a small oak tree and climbed about 12 feet up.

The hunters finally got their first good look at the bear, and Colby was even more excited.

“It was more than either of us expected to see. It was a huge and mad boar bear,” said Anthony Richard.

Colby eased into position with his Marlin .30-30 as his heart raced. He waited for the perfect head shot. A body shot would be dangerous for the hunters in such tight quarters.

Finally, the bear looked away, giving Colby the ideal opportunity for a head shot. At the crack of the rifle, the bear folded up and tumbled to the ground.

“Colby crawled to the big brute and it was nothing but pure excitement,” his dad said.

Now, they had a second job to do — getting the big bear out. After a couple of hours working with bush axes and machetes, they cleared a path and got the bear loaded into the back of the truck.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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