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Thread: Black bear in Chugach NF

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    Default Black bear in Chugach NF

    I am planning a September black bear hunt and would like to know if it's a realistic thing to do by flying into Anchorage, getting a vehicle and driving south towards Seward or Sterling and parking the vehicle somewhere and walking in to Chugach NF to camp and hunt for a about a week? Forgive me if this is a dumb question but being from Texas I'm not well versed in public land hunting and all the rules that apply. Thanks and good huntin
    TH

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    First off you will love the area. I am new so I would imaging you will get a better answer soon. But this is what I have come up with. The road system in AK is almost nonexistent. So plan to hike IE 10+ miles be for you camp and that time of the year the silvers should still be running so maybe think about a river. I also think that fish and game made changes to non-res bear tag this year for the fall hunts. I would check because you may need to have entered a draw in dec. I have only lived up here for a few months so I don't qualify as a res yet and have been trying to figure it all out. I know that the people of this site are going to ask you a few simple questions to help you along the way. What is your budget? What are you expecting out of this hunt(honestly)? Are you open to different things? IE boat based hunt or maybe a transporter. You can take a water taxi out of Whitter and do very well for bear. Thats what my plan is for a spring Black. Good luck and hunt hard.

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    Your plan is an excellent one. At the very least you'll spend a week in spectacular country and see some amazing sights. With a week to burn, though, you should also have a pretty decent chance of putting some stalks on bears. No worries about the tag - the change to the regulations regarding non-resident black bear hunting was made on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast. Non-residents can hunt black bear in Unit 7 with an over-the-counter tag. As for the hunt itself, the bears will be mostly found in the alpine that time of year feeding on blueberries and crowberries. They will be high - higher than the goats at times. If you're not able to climb 2-3,000' of reasonably steep terrain, you might end up seeing a lot of bears that you can't pursue. If you're in decent shape, though, you could have a number of opportunities. There may be bears down low as well, but spotting them is challenging at best.

    Good luck to you, sir, and make sure you come back and share a report with pictures if you end up making this hunt a reality.

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    Thanks for the info. I am wanting to do a DIY hunt with a good chance of seeing some bears with a possibility of getting a shot at one. Not trophy hunting. I have never hunted bear so any adult bear would be a trophy to me. I don't mind the hike but just wasn't sure what kind of access would be available from the road. I will be traveling light and my plans were to go in along a river or some type of waterway so if I was successful I could bring some of my gear/bear meat out on a raft. Thanks and good huntin

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    The raft idea isn't very realistic. I can't think of many floatable rivers in that area, though there are a number of very nice hiking trails. If you're willing to do two trips to get your gear, meat, and hide out, then you should be fine without a river to float on.

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    As Brian said, that is a great time to hunt that area and beautiful scenery. With the exception of Girdwood and the Portage area, there is almost nowhere along the Seward Highway that you can't stop and be hunting almost immeaditely. There are lots of pull offs to glass the hillsides from the highway. I'd probably spend one day driving from Girdwood to Tern Lake; pulling over and glassing at every opportunity. You might see a good bear from the highway or you might find a hillside with more than one bear that requires a closer look. That is where I'd find a place to camp, probably over a ridge from the highway.

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    Wow, thanks for that info. The river thing was just a thought(chock it up to inexperience). Two trips is not a problem, medic said about 10 miles one way. Is that pretty accurate in your experience? Also, is leaving a rental vehicle for a week generally a prob with thieves or vandals? If I can bother you with one more question; what doer an average bear weight after broken down to edible meat and hide? Thanks and good huntin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    With the exception of Girdwood and the Portage area, there is almost nowhere along the Seward Highway that you can't stop and be hunting almost immeaditely.
    Actually, from Indian on, it is all legal hunting area as long as you mind the private land requirements. I've checked with the troopers and APD and they all agree that permission to be on/pass through private land is the only thing you need. Girdwood is loaded with black bears and you can get on some trails that get out of the town site pretty fast if you know where you're going.

    It probably would be better going further, though. Hope road would be exactly what you want, tex. It's only about 90 miles from Anchorage on the main highways. It would probably be the cheapest way to go. Your could rent a car in Anchorage and be there in 2 hours. That place is absolutely festering with black bears and is beautiful turf. The name of the game there is hiking a ways to get above the treeline, where all the bears will be in September. Good spot and stalk hunting.

    Plus there's a forum member who lives there in Hope and keeps a close eye out for where the bears are. You could message him before you get going and he could give you the lowdown on where to start looking. PM me if you get stuck in Anchorage at all.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    Actually, from Indian on, it is all legal hunting area as long as you mind the private land requirements. I've checked with the troopers and APD and they all agree that permission to be on/pass through private land is the only thing you need. Girdwood is loaded with black bears and you can get on some trails that get out of the town site pretty fast if you know where you're going.

    It probably would be better going further, though. Hope road would be exactly what you want, tex. It's only about 90 miles from Anchorage on the main highways. It would probably be the cheapest way to go. Your could rent a car in Anchorage and be there in 2 hours. That place is absolutely festering with black bears and is beautiful turf. The name of the game there is hiking a ways to get above the treeline, where all the bears will be in September. Good spot and stalk hunting.

    Plus there's a forum member who lives there in Hope and keeps a close eye out for where the bears are. You could message him before you get going and he could give you the lowdown on where to start looking. PM me if you get stuck in Anchorage at all.
    Thanks! This information is priceless

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    Quote Originally Posted by tex hunter View Post
    If I can bother you with one more question; what doer an average bear weight after broken down to edible meat and hide? Thanks and good huntin
    The state doesn't require that you salvage the meat after June 1st I think. You might want that meat, you might not. If that bear has gotten into fish, he's going to smell and taste like a rotten salmon when you get him open. If you're interested in getting good bear meat (which does exist) you should go in May, not September. Still be good weather, but the bears haven't had the chance to eat any fish yet. Generally, spring bear is the best tasting bear meat. Fall can be ok, or it can be vile.

    Also if you come in May, you can potentially hunt over bait. A quick read through of the regs. I don't see anything preventing a non-resident from hunting over bait. I could be wrong. but it seems that way. Bait increases your chances and gives you the chance to choose which one to take if you get multiple bears on the station.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Ok, I was under the impression that the bears eating on berries were fairly decent to eat. I have heard that the bears eating fish were basically unedible. Any guess on weight? Just tryin to figure how much I need to start putting on my back when I get on the tread mill.

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    Is the same area productive for bears in may? Have not baited many bears down here on the gulf coast. Any special bait, any bait not legal?

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    A lot of the bears that you'll see up high along the Seward hwy don't have access to fish and are supposedly great table fare in the fall. Rake the Hope reports with a grain of salt. I've seen lots of bears along the main hwy and they are very high that time of year. I've seen zero out of Hope. It gets hit hard and not the best access. There are some good trail heads I would hit and just find one that gets you high. I'll send you a pm with some general areas but Hope road is one I won't even return to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    A lot of the bears that you'll see up high along the Seward hwy don't have access to fish and are supposedly great table fare in the fall. Rake the Hope reports with a grain of salt. I've seen lots of bears along the main hwy and they are very high that time of year. I've seen zero out of Hope. It gets hit hard and not the best access. There are some good trail heads I would hit and just find one that gets you high. I'll send you a pm with some general areas but Hope road is one I won't even return to.
    Thanks, will look for the PM

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    Bears up on berries can be good. It's just a bit of a gamble. That bear in a berry pathc could have just spent 2 months gorging on dead salmon. The taste gets in their fat which they keep up from the fish runs on.

    Tons of people hunt over bait in Hope in the springtime. Bit of combat hunting from what I hear. Certainly a productive area from what I've heard, spring or fall. They'll be at lower elevation in spring because the berries haven't grown in yet. They come down into the treeline and start eating the young green plants. Once they're down below the treeline, you pretty much have to hunt them over bait. That's some intense forest and its hard to get around easily.

    There's quite a bit of rules regarding bait and how it's done. Lot of separation distances, and protocols. I use a barrel full of popcorn, all the bacon grease from winter and scent lures.

    Here's the page of rules 'Important information for all bear hunters.'
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re.../pdfs/bear.pdf

    Here's the link to the online bear baiting clinic. You can read the whole thing without taking the test. It'll clear things up about the how, why, what and where of baiting. Again, I dont see offhand, any prohibitions of non-residents hunting over bait.
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...arbaiting.main

    God bless little ol' Texas.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Thanks, looks like it will be a Sept. hunt so I will just have to play the meat thing by ear. This hunt really seems great to me because any other Alaska hunt I have planned for required a lot of logistics, planes and boats.

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    You will have a great time! Contact forum member "AGL4now", he is a wealth of knowledge and routinely posts locations of bears he has sighted from his Hope residence. Look through his old posts on this forum and make sure you have a good topo map of the area in hand. That way, you can find the mountains, streams, roads that he and others on here) name.

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    For what it's worth, I'd disagree with a couple bits of advice given above. First of all, while Hope road does indeed have a lot of bears, the hiking is absolutely horrendous with terrible jungles of deadfall, devil's club, and the like. Going 10 miles on a trail is easier than going one mile straight up through that stuff. There are just as many bears 20 miles up the road and the walking is way better (as is the spotting).

    In the mountains the bear meat in September is generally excellent. If you smell a strong flavor, then perhaps it's not a good one - but the general rule for those late season berry bears is that they're great.

    Baiting in May is indeed an option, but with only a week to work with it's not a great choice for you. Getting a bait site established, hanging treestands, hauling barrels and such will take at least a couple of days. Then you have to wait for the bears to find your stand, which can take a while as well. If you're in a good area in September you'll potentially see multiple bears every day. Why bother with baiting if you're not going to be here long enough to make it work?

    You may find that you don't need to go quite as far as you're thinking. It's common to spot bears from the highway, so going in 1-5 miles should be fine since there will be bears and little to no competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    For what it's worth, I'd disagree with a couple bits of advice given above. First of all, while Hope road does indeed have a lot of bears, the hiking is absolutely horrendous with terrible jungles of deadfall, devil's club, and the like. Going 10 miles on a trail is easier than going one mile straight up through that stuff. There are just as many bears 20 miles up the road and the walking is way better (as is the spotting).

    In the mountains the bear meat in September is generally excellent. If you smell a strong flavor, then perhaps it's not a good one - but the general rule for those late season berry bears is that they're great.

    Baiting in May is indeed an option, but with only a week to work with it's not a great choice for you. Getting a bait site established, hanging treestands, hauling barrels and such will take at least a couple of days. Then you have to wait for the bears to find your stand, which can take a while as well. If you're in a good area in September you'll potentially see multiple bears every day. Why bother with baiting if you're not going to be here long enough to make it work?

    You may find that you don't need to go quite as far as you're thinking. It's common to spot bears from the highway, so going in 1-5 miles should be fine since there will be bears and little to no competition.

    x2^^^^ Brian M 's advice is very good!
    if you are serious about this hunt pm me and I can give you a point in the right direction
    Dave

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    This is a great hunt, as Brian said it is not uncommon to see bears right from the highway. Matter of fact, my whole group of hunting buddies used to leave work and look for bears every day in the spring and fall. We have all taken bears, some of the true hikers have killed quite a few. Anyway my suggestion is to get the book 55 Ways to Southcentral Alaska, a hiking book, and look for the trails that are in hunting areas and get you the requisite 1/4 mile off the road. No secret spots, all areas will have bears.

    My brother came up from MI for a caribou/brown bear hunt. After getting in from Dillingham he still had a tag so we got a harvest ticket, went down one early afternoon and spotted a hog feeding up a valley in the berries. After determining it was nice we hiked up, shot it, skinned it out and made town in time for our Poker Game.

    You'll have a blast.
    Mike
    www.coffmancoveak.com
    Prince of Wales Island

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