Penn Yan man bags first black bear in Yates County

Gwen Chamberlain
Jeff Tietjen with the black bear he shot in the town of Jerusalem.

Jeff Tietjen has been hunting for longer than many people have been married or building a career. He’s bagged some notable prey over the years and he’s still looking for the ultimate white tail.

But last month he accomplished something that will put his name in the record book. Tietjen shot a black bear that he’d been keeping track of for several months in Yates County.

Tietjen shot the 220 lbs. bruin at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25.  It is the first bear harvested in Yates County since hunting regulations allowed hunters with Super Sportsman permits to hunt bear.

Tietjen is an experienced hunter who got a bear in Quebec earlier this year, so this accomplishment was no fluke. He had been keeping track of signs that the bear was in the area for several months, and when he saw a spot in a nearby cornfield that was flattened down, he was confident a bear was in the area.

Then he found the tracks that pulled all the other clues together.

“When I saw the tracks I knew I was going to see it,” he says.

He said he didn’t use any different hunting techniques than he uses in other situations. “I just got where it wouldn’t ‘wind’ me,” he explains.

And although he’s got 36 years of hunting experience, he admits this opportunity got his heart racing. “It’s been a long time since I couldn’t hold my leg still,” he says, describing how his anxious nerves tried to take control.

But, he downed the bear with just one shot. He called in a friend with a digital camera to take a photo in the field before loading up the bear to take it to another friend’s house, where a growing crowd was gathering to see it.

He will be making a bear skin rug and sending a tooth to the the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), where the bear’s age will be determined.

And Tietjen will head back out to the field, looking for the elusive 140 in. white tail buck.

According to information found on the DEC’s web page, two bears were taken in Schuyler County in 2007, one by bow and one by gun. Hunters in Steuben County killed 47 bears last year — three in the town of Bath and one in the town of Bradford.

In all of New York state in 2007, 1,094 bears were killed by hunters, according to DEC records.