Brads First Bear
Thank you EOTech! My name is Brad Marcello and I'm 15 years old from Wisconsin. I was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) which makes my bones very brittle and break easily. I use a power wheel chair to get around and I am 3 feet tall. Having OI restricts me from doing some of the normal everyday tasks that most people take for granted, but I don't let that get in my way. When I was 12 years old, my friends were going through hunter's safety and I thought, that's something I can do and I would love to go hunting someday. I successfully completed hunter's safety and have been deer hunting with the Clark County Disabled Hunters/ Rock Creek Disabled Organization (RCDO). I've shot 1 deer. I've also been turkey hunting a few times with no success. Last January, John, a friend from my community called and asked me if I'd like to go bear hunting with him in the fall. I was really excited. John's son, Brock, had a kill tag after 7 years of applying. He plays hockey for the University of Nebraska Omaha and his hockey schedule did not allow for him to take time off for bear hunting, so Brock donated his tag to me. My parents and I were not sure how I would be able to hunt bear with dogs, get into the woods with all the obstacles and shoot the gun, given the bear would be up in a tree and I cannot hold and shoot a rifle. When I hunt deer and turkey, I shoot with a lead sled mounted to the side of my wheelchair which absorbs the recoil of the gun and doesn't break my bones which limits the range of motion of the gun. John said not to worry; he and Ron would figure something out to make this happen. Ron took the lead sled and mounted it onto a tripod that swiveled and tilted up and down allowing for more range and ease in handling. In early September, we tried it out and it worked perfect except that I was not able to sight in the bear through the scope with the angle of the gun pointing up into a tree. Ron called a buddy of his, Mike Schoby, and between the two of them they decided that a laser was the best way for me to see where I was aiming on the bear. Mike told Ron that EoTech made a laser that was able to be seen in the daylight hours, and spoke very highly of them. So we contacted them, and with the help of Amy Miller she had us ready to go. Being a class A disabled hunter, I am able to use a laser. They mounted the laser on the scope of my gun and sighted it in. My mom, stepdad and I drove to Dairyland, Wisconsin on Thursday September 15th after school. We hunted Friday and another guy in our hunting group shot his bear Friday morning. On Saturday morning, the guys went out and checked baits and trail cams. We found a bait that had been hit by only one bear and decided to let the dogs loose on that bait. About a half hour into the chase, the dogs had the bear treed in a small poplar. It was across a swamp and alongside a creek which was impossible for me to safely get to. They pulled the dogs and the bear was on the run again. It treed again not far from the first tree so they let it come down and the chase was on again. This time she treed in a nice size tree that we thought we could get back to, but not without a lot of work. Dick brought in the 6 wheeler; they put my power wheelchair into the back of the 6 wheeler and strapped it down with racket straps so it was secure. I was lifted into the wheelchair and the slow crawl into the woods began. The bear was about 1/2 of a mile into the woods from where the trucks were and we had to drive very slowly and carefully as the slightest bump would fracture a bone or compress a vertebra in my back. We crossed rough terrain and a creek, up a hill and through quite a bit of brush. There was a tree down across our path so 3 other hunters had to pull the tree back off the trail. Another large tree was down; however we were able to drive under the trunk that was partially broken off. As we got closer to the bear, the sound of the 6 wheeler was making the bear quite nervous and it looked like she was going to bail again. We had to ditch the idea of shooting the bear from my wheelchair as it would be impossible to get my chair into where I needed to be. We stopped with the 6 wheeler and my step dad carried me the remainder of the 40-50 yards to a spot where I could pull off a shot. Mark and Ron carried the tripod and gun to where I'd be shooting form and set it up. John knelt down and he became my chair from which I would shoot from. The excitement in the woods was like nothing I've ever experienced. Everyone was working fast and furious to get me in a position to shoot the bear and working together like it was a rehearsed event, even though we were flying by the seat of our pants. My adrenalin was pumping and I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. I've never had a feeling like this in my life! Once in position to shoot, the call was made to go for it. I made a good shot to the back of the bears head. It fell out of the tree. There were loud screams of joy from everyone in the woods! My hands and body shook as everyone congratulated me. I could not have pulled this off without the help and generosity of so many wonderful people. This has been the best experience in my life so far and I hope that there are many more adventures as fun and exciting as this was!