Father, daughter bag first bears while hunting in Canada
VIDALIA — Facing a lull in the local hunting season, Vidalia-native Don Tassin decided it was time to head north and go after game he had always wanted to hunt.
Tassin took one of his favorite hunting partners, his daughter Allison Netterville, and went to Quebec, Canada, for his outdoor adventure.
“I always wanted to hunt black bears,” Tassin said. “And down here they are protected. I had been out west and hunted elk and deer, but never bears.”
Tassin spent the first day of the hunt in his tree stand, watching bears come in and out of sight. He was unable to take a shot on any of the five bears he saw, but on the second day, just before dark, he killed a 250-pound bear that was estimated to be 7 years old.
“It was bigger than average, but not as big as they come,” Tassin said about his bear.
Netterville’s first bear did not come as quickly as her father’s, but she said she was happy for him when she heard about his kill.
“I wasn’t frustrated (that he got one first),” she said. “I was excited for him.”
Netterville, who now lives in Woodville, started hunting with her father at the age of 3, and she said some of the lessons he taught her over the years came in handy during her bear hunt.
“He taught me to sit and be patient,” she said.
Netterville’s patience never waned and on the final hours of the final day, she too killed her first bear.
“I sat in the stand for about 30 hours waiting,” she said. “I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but I got one on the last minute of the last night. I was so excited. I never got down or discouraged and just kept staying positive.”
Netterville said she has been deer hunting many times, but this hunt was different.
“It’s a bear,” she said. “We’re not used to seeing bears down here. It’s just different.”
Netterville’s bear turned out to be a spitting image of her father’s. It weighed approximately 250 pounds and was approximately 7 years old too.
Tassin said he was much more excited about his daughter’s kill than his own.
“I was already through hunting and riding around with the guys, and they called on the radio and said she had killed one,” he said.
Tassin did get a small amount of bragging rights on the nearly identical bears, however.
“Mine was a little bigger,” he said.
Tassin said being able to spend time with his daughter on the trip was just as special as bagging his first bear.
“It was great,” he said. “It was the first time for us to hunt together, without having other people with us (in a long time).”
Netterville said it was a rare opportunity for her to spend quality time with her father.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I really enjoyed spending time with him. Thirty-four-year-old women don’t get to spend a lot of time with their fathers.”
Tassin said he and his daughter began duck hunting when she was a small child. They moved up to deer and by the time Netterville was a teen, she had killed her first buck.
Netterville said the lessons her father taught her about deer hunting applied to bears as well.
“It’s pretty much the same thing,” she said. “You just sit and wait for them to come by.”
Netterville said the all-male hunting party treated her like one of the guys.
“They treated me great,” she said. “Being a woman, I was kind of nervous about going up there, but it was great.”
Tassin said one difference between bear and deer hunting is the slight fear that sometimes creeps in during a bear hunt.
“We were never really fearful of a bear attack,” he said.
Tassin said he did hear a story of a bear trying to climb a tree to get into another hunter’s stand, however.
Netterville said she did not witness a bear trying to climb in a stand, but she did have a couple of much smaller scares.
“I had squirrels crawl up in the stand with me that I thought were bears,” she said.
Tassin said their trophies should be arriving later this year. He and his daughter are both having rugs and skull mounts made from their bears. Tassin said the meat was given to a local homeless shelter in Canada.
Tassin said his next big hunting adventure might take him to Africa.
“There was a guy that sets up hunts to South Africa,” he said. “A safari in South Africa, that could be a possibility next year.”
Netterville said that trip might not include her.
“He wants to go to Africa. I don’t know if I can swing Africa,” she said.