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Old 10-29-2017, 02:02 PM
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TXstuckinGA TXstuckinGA is offline
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Default Thoughts on Chattahoochee WMA Hunt

I just wrapped up the gun hunt in the Chattahoochee WMA on Friday. We went ahead and broke camp on Friday to beat the rain out of the area that was coming in on Saturday. I arrived at Low Gap Campground last Sunday with the intention to do some scouting, prior to the hunt. When we arrived the camp had all cleared out, except for two sites so we had the campground to ourselves for the most part. The rain, early in the week, effected my ability to do a lot of scouting. The DNR folks don't open all of the gates until the day before the hunt, so that also doesn't allow for scouting unless you want to walk quite a ways to scout those areas.

I had two buddies of mine come up on Tuesday and the three of us hunted for 2 1/2 days. We covered 18 miles that ranged from about 1900 ft all the way up to 3500 ft in altitude. This was my second time, in seven years, bear hunting this area and although I am not a very experienced bear hunter I have quite a bit of deer hunting experience. I had some takeaways from the trip and wanted to share in this forum...

1. We did not see a bear, deer, or hog in the 2 1/2 days. Despite not seeing an animal we were able to see parts of the forest and National Forest Wilderness that few folks will probably ever see. I consider the hunt a success just for the fact I got to spend a week in the woods with a couple of friends and my dad.

2. We found quite a bit of bear scat but only one spot, near the Old Apple Orchard on FS Road 44A looked like it had been left there within a couple of days. All of the other bear scat that we saw was mainly around the upper food plot at the Old Apple Orchard or going NW out of the plot up the mountain up to about 2500 ft. The vast majority of it looked to be more than a week old and there was A LOT of it once your crossed into the "Wilderness Boundary". We did not see any climb marks on any trees over the 18 miles that we covered. We did find one bit of sign that had probably been left within the 24 hours prior to us being through there. As we came down the mountain through Locust Log Gap, down the creek, and working our way back to the parking area off of 44A, we found a yellow jacket nest that had been very recently dug up. It was recent enough that 10-15 yellow jackets were still a bit upset and making their way in and out of the dug-out nest. About 20 ft away, on the creek, there was one fresh paw slide mark in the mud. That print had to have been made recently because the downpours of rain from the week would have washed it away if it was older. That was at about 2100 ft altitude.

3. Hog sign was prevalent in all areas that we went through. The largest area we saw was approximately 20'x20' and was directly on the top of the mountain at 3500 ft. That was were the largest muddy hog pit was located. All of the hog sign was at every altitude and was both in creek/river bottoms as well as up the sides of the mountains.

4. The area around Low Gap, up the 3 miles of 44A, had very little pressure. Over the days while we were there, we saw four other vehicles parked that had hunters associated with them. I talked to most of those hunters and they had not seen any animals either. However, we did hear one shot on Thursday evening near dark and I wasn't able to talk to the Jeep driver that had still been in the woods. In talking with the DNR folks at the check station, no animals had been reported so it was either a coyote or a miss, most likely.

5. When we pulled out of the campground on Friday at 1400, we were the last ones there and left it vacant. I stopped at the DNR station and they said that they had about 80 hunters signed in on the entire WMA and 2 1/2 days into the four day hunt NO buck or bear kills had been reported on the entire 26,000 acre WMA. They expected the last day, on Saturday, to be just as slow since approx. 1" of rain was expected in the Helen area.

6. Every altitude that we found White Oaks, we found white oak acorns. They weren't raining down, but there were plenty on the ground in the areas that we spent our time. Not sure if this is the same throughout the entire NF or WMA.

Overall, we had a great time. The three of us that hunted are in pretty decent shape and we all are feeling the 18 miles that we covered. If someone is not in shape, I do not recommend trying to cover the same ground that we covered. I am transferring with the Navy to the West Coast next summer, but I am not sure if I would try to go back and hunt the same area if that wasn't the case. Despite seeing nature's beauty, a hunter still wants to see some type of animal even if they aren't a "shooter". It was a great experience and I am glad that I got to do it before I transfer from Georgia.

Rich
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Old 10-29-2017, 02:26 PM
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Killer Kyle Killer Kyle is offline
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Hey man, glad you guys had a good hunt and got some good exercise! I ran into your buddies at the check station Thursday evening when I was signing myself and a buddy in for Friday morning. I wish I could have been more help to you and your pals! I was out of answers and kinda grasping at straws myself. Me and my buddy did an experimental hunt Friday morning, and set up on a red oak ridge. I dropped him off lower on a red oak flat, and I went up high near a bench. I just wanted to see if any game were in the red oak stands yet, and to my surprise, I saw three does feeding on the red oak bench, and one was a monster old Nanny doe. They came in at 10:42 a.m.
I hunted the NF near Chattahoochee this a.m., and saw three does on a white oak ridge, and found some smoking hot bear sign. It's the freshest and most I have seen just about this whole season. So I definitely feel your pain. Been a slow go for me this season too. My hunting seems to be feast or famine, and for me, it's usually the latter rather than the former.
Thanks for posting this report. It was very informative, and I hope it can help someone out in the future!!
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Old 10-29-2017, 09:22 PM
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Nice report. Glad you all had a good trip. You guys definitely covered some ground in a few days. That climb up to Locust Log Gap and back down is not an easy day. Sorry you all didn’t see anything, but it can be feast or famine this time of year. If you ever have a chance to come back try to make it up for the early gun hunt or any time the first 4 - 5 weeks of the season after bow season opens. Seems like the bear are much easier to find the first few weeks, but once they have been pressured a little bit it can be tough sledding.
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