SG2
Brown bear in Alaska with Jonah
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
JG 31-Dec-20
Scoot 31-Dec-20
bowonly 31-Dec-20
wildwilderness 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
wildwilderness 31-Dec-20
JG 31-Dec-20
JG 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
Shug 31-Dec-20
Ned mobile 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
Dale06 31-Dec-20
Jasper 31-Dec-20
JG 31-Dec-20
Bono 31-Dec-20
Tradmike 31-Dec-20
Kurt 31-Dec-20
Franklin 01-Jan-21
JG 01-Jan-21
Chief 419 01-Jan-21
Dale06 01-Jan-21
WVFarrier 01-Jan-21
Bou'bound 01-Jan-21
Kurt 01-Jan-21
wildwilderness 01-Jan-21
JG 01-Jan-21
Dale06 01-Jan-21
WVFarrier 02-Jan-21
Leo17 02-Jan-21
Nick Muche 04-Jan-21
njbuck 04-Jan-21
JG 04-Jan-21
Nick Muche 04-Jan-21
SBH 04-Jan-21
MathewsMan 05-Jan-21
Nick Muche 05-Jan-21
tobywon 05-Jan-21
huntinelk 05-Jan-21
huntinelk 05-Jan-21
huntinelk 05-Jan-21
BowJangles 18-Jan-21
JG 18-Jan-21
welka 24-Jan-21
huntinelk 24-Jan-21
JG 12-Feb-21
From: JG
31-Dec-20
I’m 5 months out from this hunt and I know a number of you have went on it. This is my lifeline #1 bucket list hunt and really want to do it well

I’m neck deep into planning

I’d love any advice like:

Is there something you brought not on jonah’s list you were glad you had?

Any prep you did that you were thankful for or didn’t do and wish you had?

How many black bear tags do you recommend buying? I think you can but 3?

Anything you’d do differently or make sure you did if you went back?

Any other advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks

From: Scoot
31-Dec-20
JG,

I can't offer any help to you on this, but I will wish you good luck and tell you I'm green with envy! This is also my #1 bucket list hunt, but unlike you, I'm sure I'll never do it. But that's ok... good to have dreams too! I hope you get some good, helpful info here and I also hope you take lots of pics and share them back here after your hunt is done. Good luck and enjoy the heck outta the trip!

From: bowonly
31-Dec-20
What hunt are you doing, treestand or spot and stalk? In either case, listen to Jonah.

31-Dec-20
I recommend 0 black bear tags. Who wants to mess with one on a brown bear hunt?

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
I and a friend went with Jonah on a baited brown and black bear hunt two years ago. I killed a brownie first night at 345 am. And killed a black two days later at 9pm. My friend killed both also, but took about six days. I can’t think of anything out of the ordinary to bring. But do have good rain gear and quiet rain gear, as you will sit all night. Though it’s normally not rainy that time of the year, if you get wet on an all night set, it would be miserable. Temps were mild, I suppose 45-50 at night and about 60 daytime. I bought only one black tag, as that’s really all I wanted to arrow. I saw several brown and numerous blacks on the two sits I made. Interestingly, my friend was hunting miles from me. I really don’t know details, but he saw some browns and never got a shot till well in to the hunt. If I were you, I’d not shoot a black, until I had the brown in the salt. And listen to your guide on which bear to shoot. Browns are way more wary than blacks. PM me if any any questions.

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
Delete, duplicate

31-Dec-20
My point is like Dale said- brown bear can be a grind. Hopefully you tag first day, but it can take the whole hunt and still may go empty. Having a pocket full of black bear tags will May add to the mental challenge. If you kill a brown you won’t care so much if you get a black bear or not, if you don’t get a brown and still eat black bear tags it will be worse. If you shoot a black bear before a brown you may ruin a bait or scare off a brown for later. Not much upside to a black bear, plus those hunts are a dime a dozen...

From: JG
31-Dec-20
I’m sitting over bait with Jonah

If I have my info right each black bear tag is $450 and jonah charges $1000. Pretty cheap black bears

No way I’m shooting a black bear before a brown. My thought is if I shoot a brown bear early what am I gonna do for 7 days? Sounds like black bear are pretty easy

From: JG
31-Dec-20
One other question. Sitting 12 hours, did you guys bring a seat cushion?

I do this all the time whitetail hunting. If you don’t have a good comfy seat I’m not enjoying it

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
I did not bring a seat cushion. My recollection is that the stand that we sat in was pretty comfortable. Also forgot to mention above, my friend shot a black bear first. That possibly hurt his chance at getting a brownie at that bait. I would not shoot a black bear first.

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
JG, your comment on what am I going to do for a week if I shoot a brownie early. In my case, Jonah flew me back to anchorage as soon as I was done hunting (he has a landing strip in his back yard) and then I flew home the next day. Jonah is out baiting virtually every day, so, I suspect that if you’re tagged out, you can fly back to Anchorage within 24/48 hours.

From: Shug
31-Dec-20
Bring a thermacell as well as warm clothes it can be super chilly as well as comfortable.

Be mentally prepared to sit essentially light till light ...”many hours”

You should see loads of black bears.

Chemical hand warmers won’t hurt. Depending on which baits you hunt water crossing is likely. A spare pair of socks in your pack won’t hurt in case your feet do get wet.

Lastly... when I sit a ground blind to keep noise and movement to a minimum I tie a string to the glass rod in the blind roof then tie a small stick to the other end of the string. You put the stick through your upper wheel and let it hang.

When you lift the bow the string releases from the wheel.. It will take a lot to work to get best string and stick size so the stick falls easily out... try it I think you’ll see it works great.

Lastly there’s no one better than Jonah ... some as good but none better.

Good luck

31-Dec-20
Brownies come in and lay down to eat making tough shot angles. Position logs or something so they will give u a good angle. I was anxious and shot the first bear so now need a bigger one. Ugh

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
Ned, interesting. That’s exactly what mine did. He laid down facing me and ate for 15 min, got up and walked directly below my tree stand, and and bolted into the bush. Ten minutes later, he returned, again laid down and ate facing me. Then he got up, and started walking away, quartering away. That’s when I arrowed him.

From: Dale06
31-Dec-20
Sorry duplicate

From: Jasper
31-Dec-20
Good luck! Hope you kill a giant!

From: JG
31-Dec-20
Thanks Jasper

Ok, rookie question. During black bear hunting we always took laying down shots with them scooping out of barrel. Deadly

Do you take a laying down shot at a brown bear?

From: Bono
31-Dec-20
Good luck. I am sure you will kill a very big one. I have heard only good things about Johan and his operación.

From: Tradmike
31-Dec-20
I hunted with Jonah in 2015. Shot a 27" brownie. The hunt lasted less than an hour. Dont bother with a black bear. Your hunt will be over when your brownie is down.

From: Kurt
31-Dec-20
Good luck on the hunt! Was a great time. Roy Roth and I got mine at 12:40 AM. Poor light at that time of day. We followed up in the bright light 5 hrs later. Bear went 200 yds shot low in heart. Glad Roy had the shotgun on the blood trail! Bear was dead but it was hairy in the thick stuff.

As noted above the browns are spooky. Treat them like Coues bucks when they are around. Blacks were like cows in the barnyard.

From: Franklin
01-Jan-21
Big bear hunting can be painfully boring at times. You understand the perimeters of the hunt so bring anything you think you will need to meet those perimeters. If you think you need to bring a seat to be able to sit for 10 hrs....bring it. Same goes for anything else YOU think will get you through the hunt.

From: JG
01-Jan-21
Thanks for all the great advice and encouragement. This has been very helpful

Worried about my rain gear being quiet - I have Cabelas dry plus

Does anyone have the Sitka cloud burst? Is this quiet enough for brown bear?

From: Chief 419
01-Jan-21
JG - I don't have the Sitka cloud burst, but I do have the Kuiu Chugach rain gear. Couldn't ask for quite, better rain gear. Highly recommended.

From: Dale06
01-Jan-21
I used cabelas. Can’t remember what it’s called but I think dri plus. It has an outer brushed soft material. Worked fine in terms of quietness, cause I wore it all the time on stand.

From: WVFarrier
01-Jan-21
You hunt at night?

From: Bou'bound
01-Jan-21
There is no night

From: Kurt
01-Jan-21
June in Alaska is the land of the mid-night sun...almost anyway. But it is fairly dark in the woods versus out in the open.

I remember drinking a beer (or two) with Nick and his buddy at 11:30 PM around Fairbanks around June 3rd or 4th and it was very light out. Driving up from BC, I drove until 1:30 AM in the morning the second day and finally shut it down...never was dark in the Yukon that night.

01-Jan-21
There also is no rule in Alaska against hunting big game “at night”. The only law says you cannot use artificial light (unless you want to crawl in a black bear den in some units then you can use a light :)

So if you can see the animal with natural light you can shoot. That’s pretty much the common method for baited brown bears since they are super smart, jumpy and nocturnal.

From: JG
01-Jan-21
I need to look into Kuiu. I keep hearing good things about it

The dry plus is ok. Quiet if sitting but makes noise when I walk.

One of the biggest thing I’ve learned is how spooky brown bears are. I wouldn’t have guessed. No predators. I wonder why they are so skid-dish.

From: Dale06
01-Jan-21
WVfarrier, I got in my brown bear stand about 630 pm. From roughly midnight till about 3:00 am it was too dark to see my sight pins. I was in pretty thick forest. I could see and hear bears, but not well enough for a shot. Arrowed a brown bear at about 3:45 am. The guide said sit down and take a nap for a while, just in case the bear isn’t dead. I snoozed till 6:00 am. We then tracked the brown bear. He was dead and stiff 80 yards away.

From: WVFarrier
02-Jan-21
I never even thought about the day/night cycle up there. So crazy

From: Leo17
02-Jan-21
I was supposed to be on that bear hunt in 2020 but Covid cancelled the season so Jonah let me come up and sheep hunt instead . You will be in good hands. One of the most organized camps I've ever been too. his guides are great as well and I have heard impressive things about his bear hunts. Good luck

From: Nick Muche
04-Jan-21
Absolutely get a black bear tag. After you kill a brown bear I am sure that he will let you hunt the same bait for a black bear and there will be plenty around. Your hunt with Jonah is going to be awesome, just be ready for long sits. Brown Bears are spooky as shit, most of the time, on baits. When I hunt them, I do my best to be as quiet as possible, limit movement to a minimum, and be prepared for a long sit. While it can happen at any time, the few I've killed have been very late (2am)...and I began sitting in the early evening. I keep my bow on my lap 90% of the time when hunting browns or grizzlies on bait so that I can grab it with little effort, not bang a bow hanger, keep my arrow from falling off the rest, etc.

His area is beautiful, you're in for a great time... Make a good shot and that bear won't go far at all!

From: njbuck
04-Jan-21
Great info here, this is a hunt high on my list.

From: JG
04-Jan-21
Nick, I never thought of holding my bow for a 12 hour sit. Good thought. I’m hoping the stands are set up so I can shoot sitting down. That’s my preferred way - calms me for whatever reason

I keep thinking my 55 year old bladder is gonna become a pain on this hunt.

I know your cousin Bruce btw, great guy, class act. Speaks highly of you and your family. I’ve even been sturgeon spearing with the famous Muche family

From: Nick Muche
04-Jan-21
John,

I just take my quiver off and set my bow on my lap, arrow nocked. It's not too bad and makes it easy to be ready for a shot when one comes in. Bring a pee bottle, or piss out of the tree (up to the guide I guess), we routinely piss out of the tree as I don't think it does any harm. I too like shooting while sitting, less movement, but I will stand if I hear something coming (sometimes they come in silent) so that I can make a shot should they steer clear of the bait and just mosey on through. Again, get a black bear tag...when I helped Jonah out with his baits a few years ago, we hunted the last bait of the day for a black bear and there were 3 or 4 on the bait before we even climbed up and we were blood trailing about 30 minutes later. Better than paying 20K and possibly going home after the first night!

Bruce is my uncle, he came up here this fall and we went Caribou hunting. Fun times!

From: SBH
04-Jan-21
Good for you man! Hope you have an AWESOME trip. Good luck, and soak it all in.

From: MathewsMan
05-Jan-21
I’m new to all this up here but baiting bears last spring I have to say that I learned really quick that mosquitoes are an issue and I used a headnet and even used my bug suit as they would get me really good through my gloves and behind my ears even while wearing my headnet. Thermacell and 100% deet.

I keep seeing all these bracelets and stuff available for bug control but have no experience with it.

I’m O positive and the one thing I cannot stand about Alaska is the bites and bugs....

From: Nick Muche
05-Jan-21
The only thing better than a thermacell, is two thermacells. Learned that from Pete!

I keep all the replacement pads, unwrapped and in my pocket so I can quietly replace them as needed. The butane will last roughly 5-6 hours, so I like to start with a half full one so that I can change it out around 9pm instead of midnight when I’m more likely to see bears.

From: tobywon
05-Jan-21
I've got nothing to add, but I wish you good luck on your hunt. Sounds like a great time. Interesting thread. I never would have guessed that they are as spooky as some have commented. You figure they would own the place and have no care in the world since they are an apex predator, but I imagine bears are afraid of other bears as well especially when coming to a bait.

From: huntinelk
05-Jan-21
Camera says 4:14am, but I'm thinking it was 3:14am, laying facing the blind as stated above.

From: huntinelk
05-Jan-21

huntinelk's embedded Photo
huntinelk's embedded Photo

From: huntinelk
05-Jan-21

huntinelk's embedded Photo
huntinelk's embedded Photo
About 80 yards away, after waiting a few hours to track.

When the arrow struck him, as he raised on his rear legs, he starred directly in the window of the ground blind. Guessing he heard the bow go off and wasn't liking the feeling that sound gave him. They definitely don't make many mistakes even as the biggest , baddest critter in the area.

From: BowJangles
18-Jan-21
Gene talked me into this hunt and I'll be up there in the spring of '23. Best of luck on your hunt and keep us posted!

Also, I've hunted Canada several times and never have issues with bugs or flies. Not sure why but they don't seem to like me. My wife could be standing 3ft away and they're about to carry her off and I won't have a single one on me. Maybe my O Negative blood has something to do with it?

From: JG
18-Jan-21
Gene was extremely helpful to me too. The man plays way above the rim in the bow hunting world and took time to help me with this hunt. Pretty cool.

I had a bunch of Cabelas points and bought the Sitka rain gear. Gortex. Not quiet at all. High quality, I’ll keep it for fishing and other stuff

From: welka
24-Jan-21
Buddy and I are going in 22 - can't wait. For those of you who have killed a brown, just curious if the best shot is still "Middle of the Middle" like it is for black bears? Thanks for the info.

From: huntinelk
24-Jan-21

huntinelk's embedded Photo
huntinelk's embedded Photo
I've only shot 1 brown bear with an arrow, I can't say what placement is best, but can share my results. You can see the shot location in this picture, the bear made it about 80 yards.

From: JG
12-Feb-21
Gene was extremely helpful to me too. The man plays way above the rim in the bow hunting world and took time to help me with this hunt. Pretty cool.

I had a bunch of Cabelas points and bought the Sitka rain gear. Gortex. Not quiet at all. High quality, I’ll keep it for fishing and other stuff

  • Sitka Gear