Prince of Wales Bear Hunting
I'm planning my first trip to Alaska for the sping of 2008. My intentions is to do a DIY Black Bear Bow hunt some were on Prince Of Wales Island. I was hoping to get some info possible locations, things to look out for, transportion on boats including costs.
Would you recommend chartering a boat and sleeping on it vs. camping? What are your recommendations for handling the meat and the skin? Anything that you can recommend I would appreciate. Thanks for the help.
A quick answer is you'll access more bear by water than by camping.
A transporter or charter would be an excellent way to get around.
Most of POW is road accessible, due to a major web of older and newer logging roads.
There are some noteworthy large black bear there. Finding them was never difficult for me. Typically, I would see several of them on many of my road trips there, working from village to village, whether going up the East side of the Island toward Thorne Bay, or travelling up the West side of the Island toward Lab Bay, etc. They were plentiful.
But that was also almost 20 years ago, too.
At times, finding dry places there can be -the- challenge. Places like Sarkar Lake are a virtual rain forest.
There are MANY Forest Circus cabins that can be rented for what used to be reasonable fees. Can't necessarily attest to security at said cabins in your absence, if gone hunting during the day, but they are dry, and often out-fitted with your basic bare necessities. There used to be a USFS office in Craig where a person could reserve a cabin. You might also be able to reserve cabins over the telephone out of Ketchikan's USFS or Thorne Bay's USFS offices also.
Those cabins that are across a lake, such as at Sarkar Lake (and elsewhere), used to come with boats/oars.
Tenting can be wet at times, but I'd hesitate (personally speaking) to lay out the coin for a chartered boat to live aboard. But that's me. And I'm known to be on the cheap side of things much of the time.
There are vast, older clear-cuts there where I've sat and watched many a bear, while shucking day-old raw oysters from one of the local farms on the Island when the weather kept them from flying them to Ketchikan or elsewhere..
Try Prince William Sound
The bear and deer hunting on POW has suffered dramatically from overhunting and winterkill. There are hunters everywhere. Cabelas alone is sending dozens of hunters in and out. Nugent has been televising his spring hunts heavily the last few years.
I've been there before.
Definitely try Whittier or Valdez instead......
I would choose Prince of Wales over Prince William Sound. There is a large number of hunters that go out of Whittier in the Spring looking for bears. I believe it was last summer there was even talk about making Prince William Sound a registration or drawing hunt. Does anybody else remember anything like this?
The PWS pressure is nothing like the POW pressure!
There is pressure but the bears are definetly there.
Seems like DaveAk wants all the POW hunting to himself. He could even be responsible for some of the pressure !!!!
While we have seen it go from 2 Guides (me being one) working the Island for many years to now over 10. There still is good hunting. The guided hunters (kill) is not the largest user group at all. The largest user group is self-guided non-residents, then Transported hunters, then Guided, then Alaska Residents.
One guide has Cabela's for a booking agent and he is allowed 16 hunters this season. Guides have been put on quotas (based on 2006 activity) and no new guide permits will be issued. The new Transporter laws have cut the number of transporters by quite allot also. Last years bust of one of the largest Transporters on the Island slowed that action down. Many of the fishing lodges that were working the Transporter angle are not even going there now, in the wake of this bust.
More restrictions are on the horizon, for all user groups.
POW Black Bear hunting is still very good for those who do their homework. There is just as good Black Bear hunting in most all of the S SE islands. The reason POW is so popular is it has daily ferry service, the roads and the infrastructure. The majority of the kill is from the roaded central part of the Island and that has always been off limits for any Guides. Remote parts of the Island (like all the rest of S SE) are hard to get to and expensive to charter by vessel or air to access. Most self guided non-residents and non-area Alaskans don't want to pay that much. The ones that do just hire a Guide mostly. Yes I have guided several Alaskan residents (from the north country) over the years. Few go through the logistics and gear planning (and expense) it takes to go remote.
It looks like POW has had some Deer winter kill but early surveys are not showing anything catastrophic like in some parts of SE and Kodiak.
It is trying to turn spring.
No reports of any dead Bears yet.
Do you think a cap or limited draw on licenses is in the near future for POW? I've heard this rumor from a couple people. I'm headed back in '08.
POW Black Bear
Well ... if anyone thinks that some type of Black bear restriction is not on the horizon for unit 2 ... they are not paying attention.
The USFS is taking the first steps in that direction by capping the Guides and not issuing any new Guide permits. That is the easiest limitations that can be placed on POW Blacks. both the state and the USFS is working hard to ratchet back on the basically unregulated Transporter hunts.
The base population of Blacks on POW is unknown. There is only a loose scientific guess. Because of that ADF&G is having a hard time justifying any limiting. Before the limits were placed on Kuiu (non-resident kill cap) they did a population study.
One thing for sure is that the POW Kill is in the yellow and nearing the red line.
Some sort of restriction on the non-resident hunter is on the horizon. Regulating the Guiding industry is the first step in regulating the non-resident kill.