First black bear taken in Norwich (with photos)

By Kelly McCarthy

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Regular hunting season is coming to an end on Sunday, Dec. 8, but the harvest will go down in the record books for people in the town of Norwich.

When a group of hunters were out in the woods last week, they were expecting to come home with deer if they were lucky.

When Derrick Miller heard rustling in the bushes during the hunt, the animal running toward him was the first one he's ever seen.

"When you see a deer you get a little shaky, you get nervous," Miller said, "This is the first time I had ever actually not gotten that. It was more, a little bit of fear, you know, it's a bear."

What he was feeling at the time didn't slow his reaction.

"It noticed me, it came straight at me and that's when," Miller said, "You know, I just, I had to shoot it."

It took five bullets to take down the 300 pound black bear. A harvest that could become more common in the Southern Tier.

"In New York their populations dropped by (year) 1900 and we started protecting them as a state," said Courtney LaMere, Big Game Biologist for the Department of Environmental Conservation, "And now they're doing very well, they've expanded their range."

Bear hunting expanded to Chenango County in 2008. The DEC said this is their first bear on record being taken in the town of Norwich.

"There's a lot of yelling, excitement, nobody was expecting it and they all surrounded me a few minutes after," Miller said, "Of course we all took out our cameras, a couple of us laid down right with it."

The DEC reports 95 bears were taken in the Southern Tier last year. Big game licenses allow for one bear tag per hunter.

The bear will eventually be stuffed and mounted to give Miller a souvenir that lasts longer than his freezer full of meat.

"I make a lot of jerky," Miller said, "So not very long."

That days hunt has given Miller a new kind of inspiration.

"I think I want to try going for something," Miller said, "I was strictly just deer, but now I think I might actually go out, and after the experience, try something else."

He said maybe moose will be on the list for next hunting season.

The DEC wants to remind all hunters to report their kill within seven days. They can do that online or by phone. They also have tips on how to handle bear sightings on their website. For more information click here.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.