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Brown Bear hunt recap
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Bono 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
MA-PAdeerslayer 10-Oct-21
t-roy 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Medicinemann 10-Oct-21
Oryx35 10-Oct-21
orionsbrother 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Guardian hunter 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Rackmastr 10-Oct-21
JW 10-Oct-21
SDHNTR(home) 10-Oct-21
Scoot 10-Oct-21
molsonarcher 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
Footshooter 10-Oct-21
HUNT MAN 10-Oct-21
Bowfinatic 10-Oct-21
SIP 10-Oct-21
drycreek 10-Oct-21
SDHNTR(home) 10-Oct-21
Dennis Razza 11-Oct-21
Julius Koenig 11-Oct-21
M.Pauls 11-Oct-21
brettpsu 11-Oct-21
Fields 11-Oct-21
Fields 11-Oct-21
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Oct-21
APauls 11-Oct-21
njbuck 11-Oct-21
drycreek 11-Oct-21
Shug 11-Oct-21
Michael 11-Oct-21
txhunter58 11-Oct-21
txhunter58 11-Oct-21
Whocares 11-Oct-21
bigswivle 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
RK 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 11-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
APauls 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
Footshooter 12-Oct-21
bigswivle 12-Oct-21
SBH 12-Oct-21
caribou77 12-Oct-21
Bowboy 12-Oct-21
SBH 12-Oct-21
Al Dente Laptop 12-Oct-21
drycreek 12-Oct-21
HUNT MAN 12-Oct-21
Old School 12-Oct-21
Shrewski 12-Oct-21
t-roy 12-Oct-21
Jason Stafford 12-Oct-21
bowhunter24 12-Oct-21
wam 13-Oct-21
Supernaut 13-Oct-21
CurveBow 13-Oct-21
BOWNBIRDHNTR 13-Oct-21
orionsbrother 13-Oct-21
Beav 13-Oct-21
Scoot 13-Oct-21
Southern draw 13-Oct-21
Potro 13-Oct-21
deerhunter72 13-Oct-21
Footshooter 13-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
sitO 13-Oct-21
Shug 13-Oct-21
DanaC 16-Oct-21
Drop tine 19-Oct-21
Bou'bound 20-Oct-21
BC 20-Oct-21
M.Pauls 20-Oct-21
Bou'bound 22-Oct-21
Missouribreaks 22-Oct-21
JG 22-Oct-21
JL 22-Oct-21
Chief 419 22-Oct-21
BowJangles 24-Oct-21
From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21
Just returned from my 2021 Brown Bear bow hunt in SE Alaska, and figured I would share some of the experience.

A little history before I start. Hunting a Brown Bear with a bow was not something that I really thought I would ever do. Living in Ohio we don’t have Bears, and encounters I have personally had out west on other hunts with Grizzly’s we’re always a long way out and we always turned and went the opposite way, pretty sure none of those bears ever knew we were there. Have bow hunted and taken Black bear from Canada in the past, but figured if I ever did hear out on a Brown bear that a firearm would be taken rather than my bow.

When 2021 hunt planning started I was thinking about another Elk hunt, but had been a little pre-occupied and did not book anything very early. By the time I started my planning for a solo hunt, I did not find many choices for Elk that I wanted to go for, and started looking through the BSC catalog a bit. The Brown bear hunts kept me looking and I started to communicate with them about a hunt. I did not have or know of any other resource for good info on a firearms hunt, so going into it I figured that maybe I’d book and could take a firearm as well as my bow. After some discussions and research I decided to book a hunt, the outfitter was looking for only Bow Hunters this year but was open to me bringing both if I wanted to do so. I really didn’t have a firearm I wanted to use, and I did look for one but ultimately never found what I wanted and took my bows along with a self protection pistol when heading out.

The hunt was to be conducted by hunting these bears as they are traveling and eating from active Salmon spawning grounds. We would be in and out of the water constantly, and weather in Alaska is always a question so good gear would be a must. I had most of what I needed but had to add a few things, and changed a couple as well.

New gear for this hunt: -Simms chest waders -Orvis wading boots -Razco holster for Ak Guide gear bino harness -Single pin MBG sight -Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan 44 Mag pistol

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

From: Bono
10-Oct-21
Keep coming

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Gear going into the Airline
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Gear going into the Airline
Footshooter's embedded Photo
My first view of Alaska
Footshooter's embedded Photo
My first view of Alaska
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Final destination
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Final destination
Hoping that I can figure out the picture tools as it seems to be rotating the pictures. I will add some pics, but there were lots of times when my hands were on a bow or a gun so didn’t get as many pics as I would have liked.

10-Oct-21
Great choice on the Ruger Super Red Hawk Alaskan in 44mag. I love mine. What size barrel did you get? Can’t wait to follow along for the rest!

From: t-roy
10-Oct-21
Keep it coming, Bill!

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21
Met my guide Ron at the airport and we drove to the bunkhouse where we would be staying for our 10 day adventure. On the way there we discussed our hunt strategy and plan as well as some of the stories from his earlier hunts from the year. Our basic strategy was to do all of the things you are always told to avoid in bear country. We would be sneaking around quietly around dawn and dusk, and trying to get closer to every bear we see. There are tons of Salmon in the rivers and streams so bear activity should be good as they prepare for winter hibernation. To this point I have never seen a Brown Bear other than taxidermy, so my excitement level was really high.

When we got to the bunkhouse I had time to organize all of my gear, and get unpacked. Once that was done we got out a target and did some shooting to make sure all was well after the long trip in bow cases for my equipment. As I shot we discussed average shot distances and experiences with these bears. Most of their hunters are rifle hunters, which is not unexpected with large bears but their long shots are 60 yards or less in the fall even with a rifle, and average shots are less than 50 yards. I was comfortable with my bow to those distances, but we would be trying to keep our shot under 30 yards.

From: Medicinemann
10-Oct-21
Really looking forward to this. Brown Bears were my nemesis.

From: Oryx35
10-Oct-21
Can't wait to hear the rest!

10-Oct-21
Following.

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
View from the riverbank
Footshooter's embedded Photo
View from the riverbank
Day 1 of the Hunt started with a 30 minute walk in the dark through the Alaska wilderness. The trail we followed in starts out from an old two track river access road and begins through an old clear cut area where the loggers are not required to clean up after themselves. It was tight and twisty with lots of deadfall and leftover timber to go over and or around. Weather had been good for the last couple of days so footing was good, but I really watched where my guide was stepping so that I could follow the same path. The first half of the trail was this way, and then you step put into what looks like a meadow. From that point on the trail cuts through small timber patches and meadows that are all marshland. Even with the last few days locally being dry, you would sink about 2-3 inches with each step into the marsh.

As we neared the stand location at a pinch point in the river we stopped a couple times to listen for anything in the water, and Ron chambered a cartridge in his 458 Mag rifle. I could hear all kinds of commotion in the water and we continued into the river bank where we would sit for a while and glass until daylight. We each took a position on the rivers edge beside or behind some trees and I looked downstream while he glassed upstream.

As the sun came out and we could see a little better I spotted my first bear downstream from our location about 250 yards. The bear came to the middle of the stream, and then retreated back to the edge where I could not see him. Ron had not seen it yet, so we grabbed our stuff and proceeded to close distance to get a better look. Next to the river there were some trails that allowed us to gain distance while staying somewhat quiet. We got down to where I had seen the bear but there was nothing in the river, suddenly behind us about 30 yards away we heard a grunt and saw that bear running away from us. It appeared to be a smaller bear, but I had now seen my first Brown bear in the wild.

We did see another bear in the morning but it stepped out and quickly disappeared into the thick brush cover. We looked and got closer but that bear had vanished before we could get there. First AM hunt (2 bears sighted).

(Side note…. For anyone who has never worn or walked in chest waders, the reason I mentioned “somewhat quiet” on our stalk is cause there was nothing quiet about my new waders. We could have been a herd of elephants going down that trail with the swoosh, swoosh sounds coming from the legs on my waders. Ron’s were a little less noisy but for someone not ready for it the additional noise was a concern for me.)

10-Oct-21
Giddy up

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Bear is at 16 yards here, stayed a while and easily could have gotten a shot
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Bear is at 16 yards here, stayed a while and easily could have gotten a shot
For the evening hunt we had to take a small V-bottom boat (I’m calling it 12 foot) about 4-1/2 miles from the Yakutat Harbor through the bay. The view was pretty great, perfect sea’s and white capped mountains behind smaller foothills covered in pine trees. The water was so calm that you would have thought we were on a small lake and not in the ocean. For the last 1/2 mile or so the engine was on, but more like an idle as we slowly drifted into the coast. As we went along Ron was showing me all of the Salmon that were schooled up at every freshwater outlet from the shore. Basically where the water comes off the lakes and mountains and feeds through the creeks and rivers they flow into the ocean bay, and the salmon gather there to try and swim up these waterways to spawn. There were literally several hundreds of salmon in front of each of these locations, some of which didn’t have any way to get up into the timber covered creeks.

We docked the boat and headed up to our evening hunting spot. There was a large Boulder on the shoreline with some small trees around it, and Ron’s had created a small blind from some pine limbs and the boulders. There is a stream that runs up to the woods from the location and runs from the bay about 80 yards up to the timber where it opens up into a small creek. The stream passes by the boulders we are hiding behind at about 15 yards.

As we sat there the first bear we spotted was a small cub all by itself, it was out walking the shoreline grabbing dead fish and retreating into the woods near a group of deadfall trees. It kept coming back out and stayed down 100 yards or so from us, and we figured that the cub had either been left behind or that it’s mother was likely killed. (We would later name this cub “Baby Yoda” because he was so damn cute).

We had another bear come start to come in from the location where the stream meets the woods. It is a dark hole in the woods where the stream turns and appears to become a creek. There were salmon visibly swimming up there as others were fighting to get to that point through the very small stream of water. The wind was shifting on us a little and this bear did not stay around long. It came out long enough to see it was not a bear we wanted, and went right back into the woods.

The next bear was much larger than the cub, and came from the woods opposite the creek, but came on a straight walk right to the spot 15 yards from us to start eating the salmon. I alerted Ron as the bear stepped out and he got to glass it before it got to the stream. He let me know this was not the bear we wanted to take, and we watched and listened to it eating Salmon. You can literally hear the bones crack and crunch when the bear bites them it is pretty intense. As with other things what do we do in this situation…. We try to get a selfie and some phone video, which is what we did. The bear stayed close and gave many perfect shot opportunities as we took some video and got my selfie. We decided to back out just before dark as we did not want to have to shoot that bear if we waited. Got to the boat and got it into the waters then watched another bear chase that one off after we did not spook it at all leaving. (Day 1 total of 6 bears seen)

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Boating out the bay, I took some pano pics but this shows some of the view
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Boating out the bay, I took some pano pics but this shows some of the view

From: Rackmastr
10-Oct-21
Man this is awesome!!!

From: JW
10-Oct-21
I was waiting to hear the recap down at the farm, but this will work!

From: SDHNTR(home)
10-Oct-21
Loving it so far. keep it coming.

From: Scoot
10-Oct-21
Great stuff!

From: molsonarcher
10-Oct-21
From a fellow Ohioan, keep it coming! I can’t wait to hear the rest.

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Fresh bear chewings, things like this were all over the place
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Fresh bear chewings, things like this were all over the place
Day 2 started with a short walk in the dark to a new river location. This trail was made by the DNR for the majority of it and where we broke from the trail was a moss covered area where walking was very quiet (other than my waders that is…). Again as we get closer we stop to listen, and again I hear everything splashing and flopping around in the river, in my head this is always bears but in reality the salmon are ridiculously loud and pretty fun to watch as they jump and splash around all day.

As the sun came up we had some recent bear “chewings” around us and lots of sign from recent activity. The river bed smells just like dead fish and there are dead salmon everywhere. Some are from bears, and others are just dead in or along the river. We sat there for an hour or two and did some snooping around the area for any other bears along the river. The cover on the edges of the river is thick, and it is really something how these big bears can just disappear in them. Our morning sit was a (0) bear outing but we did grab the SD card from a nearby trail cam he had out. We had pics of a Sow and cub, and the local Fish and Game folks who had been walking and doing some salmon research and counting a couple days earlier.

From: Footshooter
10-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
View upstream
Footshooter's embedded Photo
View upstream
The afternoon of Day 2 we revisited the same spot from the first day, weather was good and the walk in was about 30 minutes. The logging clear cut was a little easier but slippery as our temps were in the 30’s now and there was frost on the ground. Each step onto a cut tree or new growth root was slick and footing was difficult. The wind was good for us and on the way in through the marsh closer to the river we found new spots where a bear had been digging up roots in a line going at least 40 yards or so. We got setup in the same locations as a starting point, and held tight in location as Ron had seen a lot of bears at a pinch point just upstream from our location.

The Salmon are everywhere around us here. The water appears to be a foot deep to a couple feet in the small pools, and the pink salmon (ugly fish that looked more like zombie fish) are all over and right beneath me so I have been watching them swim around. In this spawning ground we are seeing Pink and Coho salmon (which are larger and more pretty fish with red and grey colors).

Right as we are looking to pack up we spot a bear feeding upstream just up from our pinch point. The bear walked into the river and grabbed a salmon, then went to a little gravel bar and proceeded to lay down (reminded me of my dogs at home with a treat) and eat the fish. We had a good view to see the bear and glassed it up, it was not a bear we wanted to try for so we did not make any move on this bear. As the light faded we left and headed back to the bunkhouse. The next several days are calling for allot of rain and weather, this hunt unlike some of the tent based camps we can still hunt in most conditions and rain was not going to be an issue.

From: HUNT MAN
10-Oct-21
A good thread:)

10-Oct-21
Great write up so far! Looking forward to following along

From: SIP
10-Oct-21
Love it. Cant wait for the rest…

From: drycreek
10-Oct-21
HUNT X 2 ;-)

From: SDHNTR(home)
10-Oct-21
I want to hunt a place in AK where rain is not an issue! Who’s your outfitter?

From: Dennis Razza
11-Oct-21
Great thread. Keep it coming.

11-Oct-21
This one has my attention!

From: M.Pauls
11-Oct-21
Alright, I’m hooked!

From: brettpsu
11-Oct-21
Great thread so far! Bring it

From: Fields
11-Oct-21
damn reset button must not be working... nothing new here lately.... Great post so far!!!

From: Fields
11-Oct-21
damn reset button must not be working... nothing new here lately.... Great post so far!!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Oct-21
I'm in! Great hunt so far!!

From: APauls
11-Oct-21
Count me in!! Keep it comin!

From: njbuck
11-Oct-21
Keep it coming faster!! So far its been great.

From: drycreek
11-Oct-21
Did a bear get him ?

From: Shug
11-Oct-21
Hey bruh… you alive?

From: Michael
11-Oct-21
Just our luck. A non Covid thread and the thread owner is MIA. Hopefully he didn’t get the Rona when he got back.

From: txhunter58
11-Oct-21
More likely life or work got in the way :-) all in good time

From: txhunter58
11-Oct-21
More likely life or work got in the way :-) all in good time

From: Whocares
11-Oct-21
FINE then! I don't want to hear anymore of the story!

From: bigswivle
11-Oct-21
This is unacceptable

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21
MA-PA Deerslayer - I got the 2.5” barrel (figure if I need it it is a last resort)

Day-3 - Today the Alaskan weather turned to a chilly all day and night rain. It started after we got back from our previous evening hunt, and has not stopped and is not going to for a few days. This morning our plan is to use our waders for what they were intended for, we are gonna walk the river edges and try to catch up with a big bear who is busy eating Salmon. Like most if the river this bit we plan to walk has lots of twists and turns where we can hug tight to the cover and glass around the bends as we work our way slowly through our trip.

I have never been much of a fisherman, and have never used waders before this hunt. The temps were in the high 30’s as we started and would get into the mid 40’s today as it rained all morning to the point where the rain hoods were going to be up all day. Stepping into the creek the waders are pushed against your legs by the force of the water, and there is more warmth there than I expected. My fear was going to be falling on the slippery bottom, or into one of the many deep spots as the current pushes your legs with each step.

The down stream walk was a 90 minute or so walk in water that was over waist high at points. The wind was at our backs on that part of the walk blowing our scent downstream ahead of us and we did not see or hear anything. But the walking was easy, and really quiet when we hit the deeper spots. Once we got far enough downstream we had to turn around and walk back upstream against the current.

Soon after we began our return trip (now with the wind in our face) we saw the first bear along the bank to our right about 10 minutes into our walk. This bear was keeping in the brushy rivers edge cover and would step out just far enough to allow it to snag one of the salmon, at this point I could have just reached down and grabbed fish pretty easily myself. The bear was not one that we wanted and we got a bit closer, when it noticed us it retreated back into the cover and out of sight. We made our way past keeping an eye on the cover to make sure we did not get an unwanted surprise.

As we kept walking we were making a ton of noise as any spot that was not at least knee deep the current would splash against our legs with each step. Deeper sections still allowed us to move quietly, but stepping in and out of these spots was tricky in some spots, really thought I was going down a couple of times. Soon we saw another bear eating salmon, that bear noticed us and crossed the river directly in front of us at 46 yds, as it crossed it stopped in the center of the river and stood up on it’s hind legs showing us how big it was. We already knew this was not a bear we wanted and as we got closer the bear was in the brush watching us, and we could see at least 1 more bear, so we figured this was a Sow with Cubs. We definitely saw 2 but could have been 3, honestly I lost track as the bear started to “Huff” and snap its teeth a bit. I was in the middle of my first ever “HEY BEAR” moment and my hand was firmly grasping my pistol for the first time.

Ron began in a deep voice to talk to the bear, as it stood facing us about 15 yards away. It’s a really good thing he was keeping his cool as I was about to soil myself if I’m being honest. His 458 Mag is still down at his waist, as he swings his arm and sends a splash of water towards the bears. It was as if you could see the bear going through it’s options and although the whole thing likely only lasted a few seconds it seemed like much longer. The bears moved off into deeper cover, and a few minutes later we kept going, but we would not see another bear this morning.

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
First bear on rivers edge on our wadding trip
Footshooter's embedded Photo
First bear on rivers edge on our wadding trip

From: RK
11-Oct-21
No dead bear yet? Check on this in a week. Great story so far

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21
Day 3- Afternoon Rafting adventures…

The rain has been pretty relentless all day, I really love my Kuiu Yukon rain gear, and it kept me dry this morning, but there is definitely something to be said for multiple sets. Luckily I have a Sitka Cloudburst coat as well, so this evening I can start in a dry coat which was really nice as the temps and the rain can get you feeling pretty chilly quick. All my gear is soaked, and I have decided not to carry my pack for the evening as I really was only taking some extra layers anyhow.

When discussing our evening hunt plans Ron let me know about the raft he has stashed in the riverbank. The river is broken into 3 sections (Upper, Middle, and Lower) and each is best hunted in certain conditions and some have historically been better in AM or PM. Our float tonight was the Middle section, where the raft was left after the last hunter killed his bear on the upper river float. We walked into the location and lowered the boat out of the tree, and removed the oars and 2”x6” timber’s which would be our seats. There is a foot pump rolled up in our boat and we took turns pumping up the raft until it was solid and ready to go. We lowered the boat down the riverbank and loaded up to start our float trip down river.

My first lesson was that you cannot legally shoot anything from a boat or raft, it is a no-no and you have to make an effort to get out of the boat and be on the ground to take any shot. We went over this before we started down the river so I would be prepared and would pay attention to water depth and how to work to a shot, if one presented itself.

The first bear we saw was a smaller bear, that was on our right and quickly moved back into the timber as it saw our raft appear from behind the brushy rivers edge. We then parked the boat and sat for about an hour in a pinch point, no bears there but lots of sign. This was a spot where they have had a lot of bears over the years and if any bear did show itself we would be in a great spot to take it. No bears stepped out though so we got back into the raft and floated up to another bear (largest so far) when I saw it the ears looked close together, so I called it out as small (Ron let me know that was an 8’ bear and was boarder-line shooter but young). Obviously I am not ready to judge a Brown bear yet, but this was not to be our bear.

During this bear encounter Ron had pulled the raft over to the side of the river so he could glass that bear. We both had our rain hoods up, and mine was over the side of my face which blocks my peripheral vision a bit. While we were still there I was looking at that 8’ bear that was still in the middle of our path, when out of nowhere Ron said “YES”and touched me, asking if I saw the bear. I had not noticed that a much larger bear had come down into the river less that 15yds from us. This bear was a definite shooter, but I was a little late seeing the bear. By time I saw it this bear had reached the rivers edge, and was looking into the water for a fish, as it surveyed the water it looked up and saw our raft and both of us sitting half in the boat. The large bear spun around and went quickly back to the woods, with a gun I am confident a shot would have happened. For me with my bow, no nocked arrow, while in a rubber raft that I did not want to pop with a broad head, I was not quick enough to make it happen. We continued the float and saw one more small bear in the same location as the night before, and got some video of that bear from my phone. As we got closer it was eating a fish but decided to run, splashing water for a hundred yards or so before leaving the water.

Floating a river for Brown bear is really fun, lots of action and close encounters. Tonight I needed a few more layers as it got pretty cold with all the rain and water. At the end of the night we deflated the boat in the spot for the lower river float, and hung it. Then walked out to where we had left a recovery vehicle earlier that day.

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Broad heads and rubber rafts…
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Broad heads and rubber rafts…

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21
Day 4

The rain for the last day and a half has not stopped or slowed. Our morning plan is to head back in and get our raft to float the lower river section. The walk into the raft looks like it would be a nice trail, but by now there are areas where the water is over my knees. Tree roots and mud patches make the walk into the raft more interesting for sure. Also the boots for stocking foot waders are huge, they fit well, but are just bigger than you are used to.

This float trip had 3 known logjams which we would need to navigate, but can hold some good bears. The trip was very cool, with even more sign and fresh dead salmon carcasses than we had been seeing. As we came through a brushy pinch point section there was a bear eating a salmon that we were about on top of before we could see him. In truth I would have floated by and never seen him, but Ron pointed him out. It is amazing how something so large can just disappear in this country.

The water is higher than before now, and the current is going pretty well. Ron is very good at controlling the raft and even in these conditions we were able to slowly work through the area. The first couple of log-jams were ok, having to lift the raft up and carry it over these logs really isn’t that difficult. The number of dead salmon that are trapped against the logs by the current is astonishing. Everywhere you step is a slippery dead fish in some places. The last log-jamb is at a very tight brush section, and the water is very deep. To pass this spot we had to stand on the log, and hold the raft, so that if you lod]st your footing you would most likely land in the raft. We got past this without any issue but it was definitely more challenging. We only saw that single bear on this float and the end of this float is at a boat ramp where we packed up the boat to carry it to our next outing.

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21
Day 4 evening and rain is still falling…

For the evening our plan was to pack in the boat to float the same section as our day 3 afternoon, hoping to maybe get another encounter with that larger bear. Ron did most of the heavy lifting by packing in the raft, while I carried all our gear and the oars, and seats for the boat. Before this hunt I came close to getting another pack, but since we were doing day outings from a cabin, I decided against it. I also did not pay much attention to the frame I would be using, and would have 2”x6” lumber sticking up past my head as we hiked the trail. Other than a few interesting sections of me going under low limbs the hike was fine, and I had the light load so I definitely had the easier walk.

Once unpacked and inflated we set off for another rainy float trip. Our first bear sighting was again in the brushy areas boarder it the river. We were almost past that bear before we saw it, and it was a small bear that ran off pretty quickly. Definitely not anything we wanted.

just a few hundred feet later we saw another bear, not quite the size we were after, but much larger than the previous bear. This would be another boarder line sized bear but we were still looking for the right bear, and he was not going to be it. He was out on a deadfall in the river and did not see us till we were within about 30 yards. Just walking on the down tree above the water as we approached. He retreated into the cover as he noticed us, and we were both looking forward to our selected spot to stop and sit for a while.

The location of our Larger bear encounter was another choke point in the river where they tend to have allot of bear movement. Once there we sat about an hour and though there were fresh chewed salmon around us we did not have any action. Our large bear was not going to repeat his river visit from the night before.

As we continued the float we had 2 more close up and quick encounters, and had another bear that spooked out and we saw the brush shaking and heard it run off (but no sighting so it is not counted). The river water levels have risen pretty noticeably today, the bench where we got video of the bear last night is now completely submerged.

Tonight’s float was over, so we hung the boat and went back to dry off and get some dinner.

From: Footshooter
11-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Packing in for a raft trip. I had the light pack for sure
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Packing in for a raft trip. I had the light pack for sure

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
Day 5 -morning went into the old situk river spots, again not allot of action but really good looking pinch point and evidence of recent bears. As we got to the river there was a new salmon chewing laying on the trail just off the river. Sat there for a couple of hours and did not see any bears, so we made our way to another spot where we sat again for a couple of hours with no bears coming in. This morning it did not rain on us and the trails in were noticeably lower water leaving than when we walked in this morning.

- This afternoon the weather was nice (no rain) and it appeared that the sea’s were a bit more calm than they were for the last few days. So we headed back out to Redbank (selfie central and salmon suicide ground zero). We had taken out a trail camera from an unproductive location and planned to place it at this location to see what we can get on camera.

When we arrived there were several Eagles eating the dead fish, and hundreds of seagulls today with a much lower tide than the previous visit to this location. Our first action was to setup the trail camera, so we got that set to catch anything in the location of the selfie bear from before. We then settled in for the afternoon sit. The bear cub “Baby Yoda”from the previous visit came out, and was doing his best to try and catch some fish, poor little guy is smaller than the eagles, and even the seagulls don’t move for him. I had been focused on the top of the hill where there were several salmon that made it up the rock face to the woods, when I saw a nose appear.

It was only seconds later that the Bear stepped out, and Ron immediately let me know this was another “YES” Bear (the first that we may have a legit shot at). The bear started down the path and Ron got some short video of him as he came down grabbing salmon as he walked. But soon he was getting close to range so the video stopped at 40 yards when we prepared for what could be my opportunity. The bear was headed directly to us and facing us then paused as the wind must have shifted very slightly. I ranged the bear as he was still facing me and he started to turn, he was at 32 yards, but now was moving up the very short grass patch back towards the woods. Bow was up, arrow was nocked, released was ready to hook my loop, but this bear did not stop, or pause and no shot happened. (I needed a 20-30 second pause before he headed up to the woods) He disappeared into the woods behind us, and we waited till dark with no other bear movements.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Big bear that I needed 15 seconds more with. A very slight wind shif sent him back to cover when it looked like he was coming to us
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Big bear that I needed 15 seconds more with. A very slight wind shif sent him back to cover when it looked like he was coming to us

From: APauls
12-Oct-21
SO CLOSE!

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
-after our close call last night we headed back into the same spot for an AM sit. Took the skiff across the bay and got there well before sunrise. Much colder this morning and there was frost and ice on the ground around the hide we have been using. The seagulls were going crazy and covering most of the small stream where we have been getting the bear action. Sat until about 10am without seeing any bears. We could hear large logging equipment and it sounded like they may have been in the woods behind this spot opening up some roads to start working there next. Pulled the SD card from the camera and left to head back to camp. (Checked the SD cards and it seems that our bear returned to the spot about an hour after dark, and we got 6 pics of him).

-PM sit we were between a couple different options but knowing our bear had been back, we headed right back to the location. We sat there for several hours, and the wind stayed more consistent, but we only saw our bear cub tonight. We have named him “Baby Yoda” because he is about as cute as any bear could ever be. He walked up and down the coastline as if he were the biggest bear alive, walking slowly with a swagger about how he walks. Poor little guy cannot even intimidate the seagulls into flying away, and an eagle was following him tonight cleaning up any fish he left. It is odd that he understands how to catch fish already at his size, but he seems to. Also he seems to avoid the stream were the other bears go, it would be very easy to get fish there, but he never comes anywhere near it. Hopefully little “baby yoda” makes it, but gonna be tough for him to do so alone.

-I have 2 days left and have not taken a shot yet, last night was close, but I don’t think shooting a walking Brown bear with a bow is a good idea. Before this hunt I considered a rifle, but didn’t own one that I felt was setup correctly. Any other time I could have found one, and ammo, but currently I had no luck. If I had a rifle with me, I would start to carry it tomorrow, coming to a realization that my hunt may not get me a brown bear, but we will push as hard as we can to make it happen, it would only take 1 bear in a good spot for a minute to get it done

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
- Driving to the spot today we saw our first road bear. We went back in to Situk river and floated the raft down the lower river to the bridge. We had hung the raft in a tree last time we used it so we walked in to that location. Right when we arrived I spotted a bear across theriver from us, he was eating salmon on the bank opposite from us at 52yds. He did not go into the river far and stayed in the trees, I tried to video him but it was tough to get anything clear with my phone.

Got the raft inflated and into the river and we were off. I have had a series of firsts on this trip, and am finally getting a bit better at getting into and out of the raft for a shot. Also starting to be allot more aggressive about getting into position when we see bears. About half way Into this float there is a section that must be walked, and as we came around the bend I saw a bear 75yds ahead of us. We sat the boat on a shoreline, and headed towards the bear. As we walked I could see the bear in the river, but could not really tell if he was mature or not, Ron did not see it in the open, and we never got a real good look at him and never caught up. Then a bit further down, I saw the brush to our right side moving, and we hopped out of the raft quickly to setup. Once in the river I nocked an arrow and we slowly creeped up till we could see the Bear, it was a young Sow and not something we should shoot. I got some good video on my phone from 25 yards,and as we walked by, she stayed on the side just watching us. She did huff a couple of times but never got too aggressive and we left her to continue eating. Got to the bridge and dock wIthout seeing any more bears

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
-for the PM hunt we went to a totally new location for me, it was up off of an isolated lake that feeds into the upper river. To start this evening hunt we had to pack in the raft, oars, seats, and all our gear back to this lake. The hike was down a trail that starts off as a very well maintained path, but towards the end it gets a little more jungle-like. Again Ron did the heavy lifting and packed in the raft while I took our gear, oars, and seats. The hike was about an hour and ten minutes and a little more than 2.5 miles to get to the lake.

The area around the lake is stunning to look at, there are snow capped mountains behind smaller mountains with heavy dense pine forests and what look like meadows but I am sure are 6’ tall alder bushes above the tree line. We started the float and this area of the river looks like it should be bear heaven, thick cover on both sides and no easy access to the spot. The last hunter killed a 9’1” bear on this section of river, and they saw several during that float. Anticipation was very high as we entered the river from the lake we passed fresh bear chewing salmon carcasses and hundreds of sockeye salmon were all through the river. We started the float, and pulled out of the current at each of the spawning areas to peek around the next bends and to see if there were any bears in the brush lined river edges. The wind was perfect blowing our scent back upstream, and we saw lots of eagles, seagulls and ducks around every turn, we even spotted an Owl sitting on a limb just above the water under a pine tree (seemed odd neither of us had ever seen one out like that)…. There were many good places for a bear to be, but we saw no bears this night.

The spot where the 9’1’ bear carcass was left had been cleaned out by other bears, no evidence remained from that kill 10 days earlier. Crazy to think about what could drag off a carcass of that size, but I was hoping to see it. Made it all the way down the river, and pulled the boat out, for our morning hunt tomorrow where we will float the middle section again, hoping for a good chance. This night we did not deflate and hang the raft, it was left on the ground tied to a tree to get an earlier start the next day.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
*this is the final scheduled hunt day on my trip.

-this morning we headed back into the river to float the middle section. This is the second time on this section of river and it is usually one of the most productive. The weather is holding so far with a very slight sprinkle of rain on our way into the river, but we left the raft inflated last night so after a short 20 minute or so walk in, we go to the raft.

We set afloat in the river right at first light and earlier than we had on any float yet. We really took our time and at each bend we would get to a good viewing spot and stop, watching the brushy edges for any Movement. As we came around a bend a bear was in the middle of the creek about 100yds ahead, we quickly got positioned and exited the raft. Bow in hand we were walking in the river next to the raft and had a nice Boulder that we had positioned between us and the bear to allow us to close some distance. Upon closer look the bear just was not the size we wanted to take, so we held tight to the Boulder and I took some video on my phone and we continued to watch the bear for around 10 minutes or so. We decided to get moving and I was back in the raft, while Ron walked the raft through getting closer to the bear. I was taking some more video when Ron was able to spot that there was a cub in the brush with that bear. Once we spotted that we quickly moved on to ensure that we got out of there without any issue from that Sow. As we passed by she took the cub a little deeper into the brush and was back in there snapping her teeth to warn us to stay away, which we very happily did.

We still had another hour of floating on the river, and we stopped at a few of the spots where Ron has over the years had encounters and bears killed. The spot where we saw our first shooter, years ago another guide had a Sow jump into their raft once and I got to hear that story, as well as the small island he called “Nightmare island”. The island was where a previous bow hunter had an opportunity at a large bear, but the shot was off, hitting the bears elbow and it got away. We stopped in that spot and it was everything you would picture for a Brown bear hunting spot, but on this day no more bears would be seen on this float.

Leaving the river we thought about our options for this evening we have some weather coming with 1.3” of rain so it will be a soaker no matter what. I want to go and sit at Redfield where little Baby Yoda lives, as it has a great setup and if we were to see another shooter a shot could be a good one. Plus I really want a better pic of Baby Yoda iaf I can get one.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
-We headed to the Shoreline location and the weather seemed to be holding out for us from the 1.3” rain projections. On our way across the bay we ran into a pod of Killer Whales (Orcas) and took a small detour to watch them swim through. The largest one had a fin that was easily 6-7’ above the water when he breeches to breathe. We saw a total of 3-4 of them while our on a 12’ skiff in the middle of Yakutat bay within about 50 yards at closest. Not something I ever thought I would see on a bow hunt for sure. I tried to get some pics but a phone camera really does not do this sight justice.

As we got closer to the location we had been docking the boat we noticed that there was already a bear on the beach there. It was down at the ocean and was actually in the saltwater eating fish from there. When that bear was in the water you could only see it’s head, scary that it would be really easy to miss and come right into that location. As the bear ate we landed the boat and tried for a better look. It was not a bear that I wanted to take, and it went into the woods as we worked to our stand location. The water was really low on the freshwater stream to the ocean, but there were still several salmon alive in it working to the top.

As I sat looking and hoping for another bear to show up, Ron saw little Baby Yoda on the beach. The place we docked the boat seemed to affect him some tonight and he did not go near our boat. I got some short video using my binoculars and phone to try and digiscope but it is pretty choppy footage. Can’t help but feel for the little guy, he looks very healthy now but would not know about hibernation and has little chance to make it through the winter. As it got darker we did not see any more bears. Ron pulled the trail camera on our way out, and back at camp we had 63 photos, mostly a group of fishermen that landed a boat to fish from shore right at our stand for some reason. There were 3 bear pics and about 6 eagles as well. (This is the end of my booked hunt, but when I originally arranged my flights I had gotten the date wrong. Since there were no other hunters coming, and Ron still had to get equipment out of the areas we planned to bring the bow and hunt another day as we worked on closing up the bear camp)

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
-if I would have booked my flight correctly, and if Ron had another hunter coming, this morning I would be packing and getting ready for my flights home. But as luck would have it, I messed up my dates and I am the last booked hunter for the season.

So we planned to go out and get the raft and float hunt the lower section of river back to the dock where we had left a truck the day before. We arrived at the river and it was still dark, so we sat near the edge watching for bears, quickly Ron got my attention as there was a bear at the pinch point just up river from us. We had cleared those trails a little a few days ago, so we worked up the trails hoping to get a better look at the bear.

As we worked up towards him the bear backed into the thick cover and we lost sight of him. Never could relocate that bear. A short time later I spotted another bear, as Ron was working on inflating the raft, we were making tons of noise and the bear was unaffected. That bear was chasing salmon into the river and I got some phone video before it went out of sight. We soon had the raft in the water and caught up to that second bear, as he was out on a log at the rivers edge. While videotaping him I noticed another bear with him and at first thought it was a cub, but both soon came out and appeared to be young siblings. They found cover as we got closer to their location, and we finished our float without seeing a bear we wanted to take.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
After we floated back the raft in the morning, we retrieved the trail cameras and vehicles stored during our hunt. So for the evening we were going to just go and sit somewhere to see if we could find a willing bear. We decided to try our shoreline spot one last time, which made good sense as we had see a couple of times where the bears were in good position for us.

Running out there the weather that was supposed to have been steady rain was replaced by some blue sky with small amounts of clouds. The trip across the bay we saw lots of debris and the tide was really high compared to our trip back the previous night. We got to the spot and there were several eagles eating the fish from the small stream, walking up I was able to get some video of the eagles which I had hoped to do.

As we sat there waiting and hoping that our big bear would return we got to see little Baby Yoda come out, and were able to watch him find a live salmon and catch it, then he continued to fish in the bay and actually ran into the sea water a couple times running after fish he was seeing. It was really cool to see a bear so young and alone acting like a much larger bear and doing the fishing like the big guys do.

Another eagle (immature without the white head) landed and started to eat one of the dead fish, but a larger mature eagle came down and took it from him. I was back to cell phone video and captured the older eagle run off the smaller one, and continued to film as he went directly to the creek and grabbed a live pink salmon from the stream and proceeded to carry it in his talon to the dry ground where he stabbed it repeatedly with his claws and killed the fish. He stayed there and consumed the either salmon, I got some of it on video but watched the rest through my binoculars and it was an incredible show to sit and watch from only 10 yards or so away. We waited as the wind swirled a little and although we had high hopes there was no more bears on this night other than our cub.

We got back to our skiff at dark and found that the 12 foot tide shift had left our boat grounded and about 100’ out of the water. We had to use PVC rollers to get it back into the water. It was a little easier to see on the way back, and we found a sea lion who felt like playing in the dock who swam up close to the skiff and spit water out repeatedly in our general direction.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21
-Day 11 departure day.

-Today was my day to leave camp, I did not kill a bear but am leaving totally satisfied that we hunted our butts off and can’t think of anything we would have done differently. My flight is not until this afternoon, and Ron had offered to let us hunt the morning but I felt like getting some of my gear dried out and thought we probably shouldn’t.

Today is the opening day for the local’s special Moose season, and so we headed out to see how that was going. The locals have a specific number of Moose allowed to be taken so they all rush to try and kill a moose to have food before the season is stopped. We saw a whole moose on a trailer as we drove out, and came to find another hunter with a bull laying next to the road. We stopped and talked to some of the hunters and of coarse heard lots of big bear stories, everyone we ran into seemed really nice and willing to stand in the pouring rain to swap hunting stories.

-I really enjoyed this hunt, Ron is a great guide and really knows the bears. The area is thick and hunts are conducted following active Salmon streams and rivers. We did river rafting floats, we waded up and down rivers hunting through the brush covered edges, and we did some spot and stalk style and some stand style hunting from make shift ground blinds.

We saw had approx 35 bear encounters on the hunt, I had a couple perfect shot opportunities on a 7’ bears, but chose to take a selfie and some pics. Had (2) encounters with bears that may have been as large as 9 foot one at 14 yards in the rain, and the other at 32 yards where I was seconds from getting my bow shot. We saw a Baby bear who has lost it’s mother learn to fish, and saw an eagle kill and eat a pink salmon. We were rained on, had sunshine, had cold, and got rained on some more. We had close encounters with Sea otters, Sea Lions, Killer Whales, dolphins, and saw more types of ducks than I knew existed. I learned how to get myself out of a raft and into a legal shooting position on a river, and how to get around and over log-jambs while wearing waders for 10 straight days. Shooting a Bear was my goal starting out, but I really don’t think I missed anything. A slightly different wind for a few seconds, or a bit less rain and I would have gotten my shot at a mature Boar. If I had hunted with a gun, I easily would have killed either of the larger Boars we saw, but I would not have had the same hunt.

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Boat was in the water when we parked it here…
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Boat was in the water when we parked it here…

From: Footshooter
12-Oct-21

Footshooter's embedded Photo
Eagle grabbing a live pink salmon 10 yards from me, got a show as it consumed the entire thing.
Footshooter's embedded Photo
Eagle grabbing a live pink salmon 10 yards from me, got a show as it consumed the entire thing.

From: bigswivle
12-Oct-21
Great recap man, sounds like a trip of a lifetime, kill or not.

From: SBH
12-Oct-21
What a great adventure. Awesome recap. Thanks for the post. Loved it.

From: caribou77
12-Oct-21
Great hunt! And great story! Congratulations on memories of a lifetime

From: Bowboy
12-Oct-21
Great pictures and story thanks for posting!

From: SBH
12-Oct-21
Forgot to mention, its great to read and hear about some of these hunts that aren't "successful" as far as punching the tag goes. Obviously at the end of the day that's what we all hope for and want but it doesn't always pan out and that doesn't mean the trip wasn't successful. Again, thank you. Well done.

12-Oct-21
Sometimes it's not the thrill of the kill. You come away with a lifetime of memories and "firsts". Glad you had a great time.

From: drycreek
12-Oct-21
Well, you didn’t connect on a bear, but you had a helluva time and a great adventure. We got to read all about it too, so that spells success to me. One of the most fun hunts I was ever on was my first mule deer hunt. I never saw a muley over two years old but I had a fine time, and that really what it’s all about !

From: HUNT MAN
12-Oct-21
Great recap. I enjoyed it . I have a feeling you will be back. Hunt

From: Old School
12-Oct-21
Thanks for taking the time to do a recap for us. Sounds like you had a great hunt.

From: Shrewski
12-Oct-21
Great trip. Bow hunting is NOT easy!

From: t-roy
12-Oct-21
Nice write up, Bill! Some incredible memories of a successful hunt.

12-Oct-21
Good stuff Bill!

From: bowhunter24
12-Oct-21
Thank you very much for taking us along on your hunt I really enjoyed it and I know you did too!

From: wam
13-Oct-21
Great Recap Bill!

From: Supernaut
13-Oct-21
Outstanding recap and pictures, what an awesome adventure. Thanks for sharing with us!

From: CurveBow
13-Oct-21
Awesome! I was riveted reading it!! Thank you for sharing & you did a GREAT job on the write up!

>>>>-------->

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
13-Oct-21
What a great adventure and hunt! Memories of a lifetime for sure. I hope you get to go back and experience it all again someday.

13-Oct-21
Great recap! Hope you take another bite of this apple in the future. We’ll be pulling for you.

From: Beav
13-Oct-21
That was a great read and appreciate you sharing it with us!

From: Scoot
13-Oct-21
Excellent story and hunt- thanks so much for sharing!

13-Oct-21
Enjoyed following along.

From: Potro
13-Oct-21
Great adventure and nice story Well written, thanks who was your guide?

From: deerhunter72
13-Oct-21
Thanks for sharing your hunt with us! Sounds like your guide did everything he could to put you on a good bear. You sure saw some fantastic sights!

From: Footshooter
13-Oct-21
Porto Guide was Ron Warren (AK Guide Service)

Thanks everyone for the comments, had a great time on the hunt for sure.

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21
Thanks for writing this up. Very enjoyable!

From: sitO
13-Oct-21
It's all about the hunt, thanks for taking the time to share the experience!

From: Shug
13-Oct-21
Great write up… ty

From: DanaC
16-Oct-21
Excellent thread, thanks!

From: Drop tine
19-Oct-21
That was a great story. Love the details on everything that was involved. Thanks for sharing. I had pushed a hunt like this way down my list of hunts to do (because of cost and not eating the meat), but this story makes me want to do one now. What an experience.

From: Bou'bound
20-Oct-21
Livin the dream

From: BC
20-Oct-21
What an adventure. Great hunt.

From: M.Pauls
20-Oct-21
Excellent recap!! Love it, thanks for sharing. Great when guys recap hunts without a kill. I think this hunt gives us some insight into how tough it can be to kill a big bear even in these great bear areas. Often times 1000 miles away and sitting at a computer it can seem easy, this definitely puts it into perspective. I love your attitude. Sounds like you won, and enjoyed the entire experience

From: Bou'bound
22-Oct-21
Livin the dream

22-Oct-21
Nice adventure, thank you for sharing.

From: JG
22-Oct-21
Pulled me in. Great document. Sounds like a hunt id really like Thanks for sharing

From: JL
22-Oct-21
Congrats on a fun hunt. Thanks for taking the time to tell the story.

From: Chief 419
22-Oct-21
Some of the best hunts I’ve ever had were when I came home sore with nothing but smelly clothes. It’s all about the adventure. Sounds like you had the time of your life. Thanks for taking the time to write this up and share with us. Great recap.

From: BowJangles
24-Oct-21
What a hunt! Thanks for sharing!

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