WAUPACA COUNTY (WITI) -- It's being called the hunt of a lifetime. A Waupaca County man says he's still in shock after bagging a big black bear over the weekend. The bear weighed in at a whopping 780 pounds!
Dennis Arndt says he was hunting on private property near Ogdensburg.
"This is Sampson, in broad daylight, coming in, checking out the bait," Arndt said.
Arndt says the old black bear known to those in the area as "Sampson" had eluded hunters for years. Arndt recorded trail camera video about a week ago.
"I say he's been a local monarch. All the neighbors are like 'did you see him? Did you see him?' Yup, he showed up this year for me," Arndt said.
Arndt says he saw the bear around dusk.
"You just knew. His big head came in, and you could just tell. He whipped at that log, and I'm like 'that's him.' I tried to take the clip off real slow," Arndt said.
Arndt says he shot once, and the bear ran into a nearby swamp. He called for help, but fumbled for his phone.
"I'm like 'who is this?' 'This is Jeremy.' I'm like 'I got him, I got him!' I don't even know which friend I dialed first. I told him 'get the crew together, I got Sampson,'" Arndt said.
Arndt and his crew dragged the bear out of the swamp on a sled.
"We used a big skid-steer to lift him up, because there is no way any of us was going to lift him out of the woods," Arndt said.
"I didn't know how really big it was until we got him to the certified truck scale, and weighed him. He was 780 pounds," Arndt said.
The DNR says the bear population is growing in Waupaca County, but wardens say they have never seen a bear this big.
"Some of the bears in the Waupaca area that I'm familiar with have been in that 400-500 pound range, and I hear about one a year. But this is just an incredible animal," DNR Conservation Warden Ben Tremel said.
Tremel says bear records are based on skull-size, and it will take a few months before anything is official.
Arndt says he's just glad his crew helped him bag the bear of a lifetime.
"It was totally an experience for everybody. It was amazing," Arndt said.
Arndt says the bear is already at the taxidermist. He says it could take up to two years for the full-mount to be completed.