Returned home, recently,from the Sand Point area on the AK Peninsular with Deltana Outfitters. This was our second trip to the Peninsular. The first was 4 years ago and ended unsuccessfully. My daughter, Holly, who was 4 months pregnant at the time, swore she wouldn’t return due to the brutal weather.
Four years, and 3 daughters later (twins the second time), the pain seemed to have subsided. When I called her from SCI Vegas to ask her what hunt she would like to book, there was no hesitation. “I reee-ally want a big bear” was her immediate response. Fortunately, Deltana had one opening for the spring and I booked Holly, with me as an observer, the same day.
We departed Ft. Lauderdale on May 11, overnighted in ANC, then on to Sand Point on May 12. We were greeted at the Sand Point airport by Jim Weidner, one of the owners, and were taken to a local B&B which served as their headquarters for the hunting season. After the paperwork was complete, Holly checked the sighting on her RCM 375 at the local dump. We were told later that her ¾” group was the best of the season. Needless to say, I was quite proud.
We proceeded to the airport and were met by the pilots who would be flying us to our spike camp. Having loaded our bags into two well maintained Super Cubs, owned by Deltana, we were off to spike camp. The anticipation of the hunt was unreal.
We spent 7 days looking for bears without sighting a single bear. The weather went from sunny to 55 kt sustained winds with sleet, rain, and snow. 36 hours straight in a tent is not fun. The only complaint, however, from Holly was that we ran out of reading material. On the seventh day it was decided to move us to another camp where a 10’+ bear was feeding on a previous bear kill. Ironically, after Holly was flown to the new camp and just as the guide and I lifted off, a 9 ½’ bear showed up on the beach about a ½ mile from camp. Murphy’s Law was hard at work.
We settled into the new camp, anticipating the next day when we could begin hunting. The next morning we high tailed it to the bear carcass but, alas, nobody was home. The weather deteriorated throughout the day and we endured 30 kt winds, rain , and sleet for the better part of 9 hours.
About 5 PM the guide sited a bear and off we went. We were able to get into a good position ahead of the bear and when it came into range the guide told Holly it was a good bear. With that, Holly needed no further prodding. Her first shot was a miss, but the second was right in the boiler room and she added two more into the vitals as the bear made it’s escape attempt.
Upon reaching the bear, we realized that the bear was not as big as the guide had thought. In fact, it turned out to be an 8’6” sow. With what we had endured with the weather, however, Holly was satisfied with the bear. It has a beautiful coat with dark brown legs, blonde highlights on it’s back and long, long hair. Holly is already making plans to return in four years for a rematch with her goal, a 10 footer. I’m blessed to have a daughter who still enjoys hunting with me, and to have a son in law who, although he does not hunt, encourages Holly in her quest.