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Alaska Grizzly Bear

Many of Alaska's Big Game Hunters consider the Grizzly Bear to be the prime hunting trophy currently offered in the State. This exceptional trophy animal is found throughout most of Alaska's interior. However, it is found in greater huntable numbers on the East side of the Alaska Mountain Range than in almost any other area. It is not uncommon to see more than 10 Bears in a single day during August and early September. The population of Grizzly Bears is large enough in this area that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has changed the regulations to allow two Grizzly Bears every regulatory year instead of the normal one Bear every four regulatory years. In addition, they do not count against the 1 Bear every 4 years regulation.

The interior Grizzly Bear is some what smaller than the coastal Brown Bear. Probably this has to do with the richer food source available to the coastal Bears which feed on the abundant salmon runs. However, with the current high density of Bears several are being taken each year that measure almost 9 feet square. These are big bruins that can weigh between 500 and 800 pounds. Truly outstanding interior Grizzly Bears. They traditionally are found feeding on the King Salmon and Red Salmon runs on the Skwentna River and Kichatna River during late July and August. In mid August they start to supplement their diet with wild Blue Berries that are found in abundance on the mountain side meadows.

The color of the fur can vary considerably with the Grizzly Bear. They will range in color from dark chocolate to very blond. Two or three cubs in one family will often have different colored hides. One color phase found here is the very desirable Tolklat Grizzly. This color phase begins with very dark chocolate legs and gradually lightens to a blond color on the back with light silver tips on the fur. A mature Tolklat Grizzly makes an outstanding trophy mount.

The interior Grizzly is well muscled with a prominent shoulder hump. They are capable of short bursts of speed that can and often do bring down Moose and Caribou. They have long claws that are used for digging out ground squirrels and excavating dens. When one comes across the remains of a Moose or Caribou kill that has been buried by a Grizzly Bear it can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It looks like a bull dozer has moved half an acre of sod and piled it six feet high over the kill.

Grizzlies are crafty and cunning and are not normally seen by people in their natural environment during the day. They are elusive and normally range about during the night. However, all Bears are gluttons and this trait brings about the seasonal situation that allows the hunter a chance to take an incredible trophy. When the Salmon spawn and the Blue Berries ripen Grizzlies lose their natural shyness and venture out onto the Salmon streams and the Blue Berry patches in good numbers during the day light hours. Hunting is still best during the early mornings and late evenings but Bears can be seen through out the entire day as they feed.

Hunting is done in several ways in the Spring. During the month of April, Grizzlies emerge from their winter hibernation. They spend five full months in their dens and can be hunted for several days as they lounge about the den's entrance. They make daily forages in search of food and to toughen up the tender pads on the underside of their paws. Once they leave the dens they are generally taken off of a Moose carcass that was winter killed or freshly hunted by the Bear. This is the time of the year that Moose and Caribou are the most vulnerable to Bear predation. Deep snows hinder the Moose and Caribou while the Grizzlies seem to be able to power right through it. Travel during this time of year is by super cub and by snow machine. Walking is done with the use of snow shoes.

Several methods are used to hunt Grizzly Bear in the Fall. When the season opens, on August 10th, the Grizzlies are fishing on the rivers. This is a good time to use a boat to drift past good fishing holes and to make stands at the entrances of streams that hold spawning Salmon. In mid August the Bears begin to migrate up off of the Salmon streams onto the mountain sides in search of Blue Berries and Parka Squirrels. Good binoculars are a necessity since much of the day is spent glassing the surrounding hillsides from a favorite look out. When a good trophy is spotted the chase begins and all of our efforts are used to get into position to make the final stalk. When the hunter has taken a Moose or Caribou trophy and all of the edible meat salvaged, a good method of hunting is to set up a blind and wait for a Grizzly to begin feeding on the remains of the kill. In late August the temperatures fall and the nights can be freezing. Generally by the first week of September the Fall colors are spectacular. Many of the animals begin to move about more and the Moose and Caribou gather on the annual breeding grounds. It's a great time to be in the wilderness in Alaska.

Next Fall we are offering a good hunt in Alaska's Game Unit 16B that is moderately priced where one can hunt Brown/Grizzly Bear and Black Bear. The Brown Bear taken in this area do not count against the 1 bear every 4 years regulation. These hunts are conducted from August 9 through October 15. The hunt is conducted in beautiful country about 70 miles from the coast on the upper Skwentna River. It is located below Rainy Pass Lodge where I spent over 25 years as a professional guide. During this time I literally flew thousands of hours here watching the Brown Bear as they worked the streams and sloughs and fed on the many species of Salmon that returned from the ocean. This is an exceptional area with a high population of bears where the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is trying to reduce the bear numbers in order to get a better Moose calf survival rate. As a result, each hunter is allowed to take 2 Brown Bear and 3 Black Bear each season. As the berries ripen the bear begin to migrate to higher elevations to enjoy the blue berry patches higher on the hillsides. There is a greater chance of success during this time period than at any other time of the year. We base this hunt from a comfortable heated cabin that has the luxury of hot showers. We have the use of an airboat and also use a specially made Alaskan Series boat, powered with a jet engine, that draws only a few inches of water to navigate the Skwentna River and the head waters of the Hayes River. For hunters that enjoy hunting above timberline arrangements can be made to establish a spike camp to hunt the Brown Bear and Black Bear as they feed on the berry patches. We also go up river about 25 miles and float back down the river, pitching a spike camp each night, until we arrive back at the cabin. This float hunt has been quite procuctive. We have modern cooking facilities at the cabin and provide food that is top quality which includes steaks, chops, barbequed chicken, sea foods, fruits and vegetables, nice desserts, and plenty of snacks and beverages.

Our hunters can also enjoy good fishing during this hunt for Rainbow Trout and several species of Salmon.

The Brown/Grizzly Bear is an outstanding trophy animal and the hunt is conducted in a spectacular majestic scenic setting at the entrance of the Alaska Mountains. The hunter will long remember an adventure that most sportsmen only dream about.

Alaska Brown/Grizzly Bear Combination Hunt
(Brown/Grizzly Bear & Black Bear)

Point of Outfitting:
Skwentna River Brown/Grizzly Camp
(Charter Flight to Hunting Camp From Anchorage is $595 per Person)

When: Fall - 10 Days, Aug. 9 through October 15

Price: $12,995 - This price allows the hunter to take 2 Brown/Grizzly Bear and 3 Black Bear. There are no trophy fees.

This is also Wolf, Wolverine, and Coyote country. There is no additional charge for taking these animals. No tag is required for non-residents to take Wolves or Coyotes. A tag is required for Wolverine.


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