“I was running out of shooting light and so I was going to go ahead and climb out of my tree, so I climbed down my tree and stepped out of my stand and I picked my bow up off the ground and started to untie my pull-up rope, then when I looked up there was a bear about 10 yards away from me,” Chastain said.
Luckily for Chastain, he was able to draw his bow and take down the approximately 360-pound bear before the situation escalated.
“I didn’t think about it until after I shot it and calmed down a little bit, but it was walking right toward me and he walked the same path I walked to my tree, so I think he was kind of smelling me, but didn’t know what it was,” Chastain said.
Chastain, who played second base on the 2013 CHS Canes state championship baseball team, said he hopes to become an environmental engineer following college.
While bear sightings aren’t uncommon in northern Georgia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division says bear attacks are not.
According to the Georgia DNR’s website, www.georgiawildlife.com, “There are no recorded bear attacks on humans in Georgia, and no fatalities. There have only been two documented fatal black bear attacks in the Southeastern United States.”
The website further states, “In Georgia, there are three population centers for black bears. These include the North Georgia mountains, the Ocmuglee River drainage system in central Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeastern part of the state.
“However, black bears can and do range over larger areas, especially in early spring and late summer when natural food sources are scarce. Young male bears also roam larger areas in an effort to establish their own territory.”