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Thread: Spring Brown Bear - Kodiak 2013 - weather effects on hunting?

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    Default Spring Brown Bear - Kodiak 2013 - weather effects on hunting?

    I live in the Anchorage area and am currently planning to do a Kodiak bear hunt this coming spring (actually on Afognak). I am curious with all this awkwardly warm weather what the effects will be on the spring bear hunts. What do you guys think? Think they will come out of the den early and start rubbing earlier? I'm debating whether or not I should stick with my original plan of hunting 1-15MAY or if I should move up the dates to an earlier time - I am trying to get a bear with no rubs so I can rug it out..

    Thanks for the info,
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    Every year is different and we have several more months of winter to endure. I would check the harvest statistics for the specific hunt. The stats will tell you the exact day each bear has been killed each spring and this should give you a pretty good idea about timing. I think your timing of May 1st is a good plan.

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    Not only the past statistics..but check the historical weather data for Koodiak say over the last 10 years, contact a member over there as well and have them keep you updated through March and April. I went in spring 2010, had some concerns and its normal. Talk to the biologist Larry V over there and see what he thinks..he did tell me when i checked in that only 25% if that are harvested before the end of April. The 15 day window in May seems to gather the rest. Lot of information if you got through the archives on here and search for it. Bottome line, is enjoy the trip, give it your all and shoot a big one..

    Personally .. I would not go until after the 25th or April. I think the last week of April and first week of May seems to be the most productive. After that your chances of rubs increase and the bigger boars are on the move. the rock is a great experience and i cant wait to get back myself.
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    Keep in mind, they can exit their dens with a completely "tattered" hide. It doesn't always have to do with "rubbing" after the fact, which is a common misconception. Good luck, find a big one!!!


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    There is alot of Winter left!!
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    too early to tell...anwhere that brown bear live. important to remember how high bears normally den (1000 to 3000ft as a general rule, but definitely nothing set in stone...in western alaska where i guide some big boars dont even climb, while i've seen some sows take there cubs up to 4000ft) and warmer weather this early isnt likely to affect there denning in my opinion. not sure how the snowpack is in kodiak, but snowpack seems to play a big part in how well bears handle winter, and whether they're bumped out before normal time to "wake up".

    if i had to give some general advice about spring bear hunt dates anywhere i've ever hunted it would be your choice...first half of may. april hunts produce the big flawless boars...but the same bears are out moving where a guy can see em better in may....and theres more of em awake. april tends to be tougher hunting, traveling, and theres much more of a chance to get screwed by a "late" spring. where i spend most of my time bear guiding we dont have the rubbing problems so common on kodiak and parts of upper southeast alaska...i beleive this has to do with temperate climates along the souther coast, longer hours of sunlight earlier in the year, and normal shedding (rubbing). not knowing how the winter will go and if it'll be a late or early spring (and who the hell ever knows till it gets **** close) dictates my advice to stick to your dates...generally cant go wrong with the first half of may man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J in AK View Post
    Keep in mind, they can exit their dens with a completely "tattered" hide. It doesn't always have to do with "rubbing" after the fact, which is a common misconception. Good luck, find a big one!!!
    ]
    exactly... Freeze thaw cycles can be hell on hides... my understanding is that there are times where any water in the den will freeze the hide to the earth and as the bear moves around pulls out some hair.. that said I wouldnt go changin my plans yet especially based on weather this time of year.. as with all spring bears just look em over good..

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    last the bio's checked bear dens never get below freezing if the hole is covered up, i'm thinking 39 or so was the tempt the vast majority of dens stayed at, when i found this out it kinda boggled my freezing to the den wall idea for bad hides. Be neat to here from others but the super fresh dens i've been in never had water in them, they were dug with almost a catch area for water and they bears denned above it so to speak.

    On kodiak i've never seen snow fall dictate when the bears come out, i've never seen that anywhere actually. so i wouldn't really worry about the winter and how it'll effect bears coming out. they don't know whats going on outside the hole. Over in western alaska we snowmachines for bears in april and it wasn't till about the 15-20th EVERY year that the bears started getting active. That said, last week of april first week of may would be my choice for coastal bears. Unless i'm on the ak pen, then i'd go last half of the season which is second week of may, but they don't seem to have as severe a rub problem as kodiak does.
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    I think you will find that your dates may be a bit on the late side. Do your research on the fish and game website. You are able to check the kill dates that go back 15-20 yrs and also the sex. When I did mine last year I averaged all the dated out and came up with April 18. That was on Uganik Island. Do your homework and it will come together. Good luck!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    last the bio's checked bear dens never get below freezing if the hole is covered up, i'm thinking 39 or so was the tempt the vast majority of dens stayed at, when i found this out it kinda boggled my freezing to the den wall idea for bad hides. Be neat to here from others but the super fresh dens i've been in never had water in them, they were dug with almost a catch area for water and they bears denned above it so to speak.

    On kodiak i've never seen snow fall dictate when the bears come out, i've never seen that anywhere actually. so i wouldn't really worry about the winter and how it'll effect bears coming out. they don't know whats going on outside the hole. Over in western alaska we snowmachines for bears in april and it wasn't till about the 15-20th EVERY year that the bears started getting active. That said, last week of april first week of may would be my choice for coastal bears. Unless i'm on the ak pen, then i'd go last half of the season which is second week of may, but they don't seem to have as severe a rub problem as kodiak does.
    Boy Jake I'd love to read more on the den temps... I learned from an old dog on Kodiak and even read about temps being below freezing.. Even in this link. Funny how modern technology can teach old dogs new tricks. Does blow my mind though too...

    OP here is a denning study from kodiak you may find interesting...

    http://www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin...es_Smith_8.pdf

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    ya larry van deale on kodiak was the one telling me about the den temps if i recall, i did an arcticle a while back for bear hunting magazine and interviewed all the names in the bear bio areana and thats where i got my info from. its amazing that we can read study after study on bears and things seem to change all the time. one of the cool things about bears is that there is no pattern or constant that we can really put our finger on, myths and legend is about what they are!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    ya larry van deale on kodiak was the one telling me about the den temps if i recall, i did an arcticle a while back for bear hunting magazine and interviewed all the names in the bear bio areana and thats where i got my info from. its amazing that we can read study after study on bears and things seem to change all the time. one of the cool things about bears is that there is no pattern or constant that we can really put our finger on, myths and legend is about what they are!!
    yeah constants are sure hard to find in the bear world...but there are definitely some things a guy (at least me) see's that happens more often than not with bears as a whole.

    maybe kodiak's different, but while i've never seen water in fresh dens...i've definitely never observed any water catchment or anything dug especially for that. in western ak, some of our big boars will walk up to a low little tundra hill (not even part of a mountain sometimes) and dig a super shallow "den" just a depression in the hill that might cover half their body. then they let the snow cover em up. its as simple as that for some of them. i think water drains from dens because theyre usually on a hill.

    and i for one HAVE DEFINITELY seen snowpack effect bears. abosulutely without a doubt. my boss and many pilots i know that fly the area (huge portion of the western alaska coast) have observed bears being bumped early by big thaws, and ****ty denning spots. young bears dont den well sometimes, and if they dont have the snow to insulate them, they'll move and dig, or not make it. theres a reason bears den in folds and terrain features that arent windswept and that fill with snow...because it insulates them. as i've mentioned some do not dig big elaborate holes or dens...they simply dig out a little depression, lay down in it, and let the snow make their "den".....just my real world observations here of course.

    09 was in our area the worst spring me or my boss (who has many more years experience) have ever seen. there are parts of the mountains that are seasonally good denning areas. that year the bears didnt come out of those areas, they were displaced throughout the spring season. the only thing we could figure is that the couple unseasonably warm spells in feb and march that year had to do with why things where so weird. bears where observed by the local air taxi pilots out moving about during both those months...way to early to be seeing multiple bear sighting in the hills. the snow pack was noticeably diminishing at the normal denning elevations, and i remember the boss saying in march that if the snow kept melting it was gonna be a wierd year....it sure was. took me 19 days to find a huntable bear...in three of our normal spring producers (camps). thats not coincidence...it hadnt happened before, and we havent seen it since. havent had those precise conditions either though. snow is important. at least where i do my hunting.

    but as jake said, and as has been shown consistently here amongst guys with lots of bear experience...you can hunt a lifetime, think you've got em figured out, say and write a bunch of stuff as if its set in stone: and then talk with a peer that has similiar experience and find that you havent necessarily observed the same **** out there. one of the things that makes em so amazing.

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    DSC00414.jpg
    heres a den very similiar to the little shallow depressions i mentioned in my last posts...not the best pic to show, but if you look behind me the top of the tundra grass is merely a foot and a half or so above my boots. a ten foot class bear was killed right outside of this little depression...and i promise only about a third of him fit into the actual "dug" part of the den...the rest of the den is very simply: snow

    the most elaborate dens i've found (deep and dugout and obviously took some major work on the bears part) nearly always belong to sows with little ones.

    there are reasons why different drainages and parts of mountains are better denning areas than others

    possibly kodiak is different, but i've seen similiar den "dugouts" on the penninsula, interior mnts, and the northern portion of southeast alaska....

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    i've seen dugouts like that in the talkeetnas and kodiak, in those same areas i've also see the "cave" den that we typically think of. what amazes me about bears and denning, i've hunted them in unit 6, 9, 13, 8, 17 and 19 in the spring and none of these bears act the same in each area, seems that each area has it's own customs so to speak, like bears in 13 don't seem to act the same when they come outa the den as bears in unit 6 or 8.or...seems like a city almost. spenard folks act different than hillside folks and downtown folks and so on and so forth. bears are just cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    i've seen dugouts like that in the talkeetnas and kodiak, in those same areas i've also see the "cave" den that we typically think of. what amazes me about bears and denning, i've hunted them in unit 6, 9, 13, 8, 17 and 19 in the spring and none of these bears act the same in each area, seems that each area has it's own customs so to speak, like bears in 13 don't seem to act the same when they come outa the den as bears in unit 6 or 8.or...seems like a city almost. spenard folks act different than hillside folks and downtown folks and so on and so forth. bears are just cool.
    Geezh Jake sounds like a little too much travel and not enough sleep to me..lol. I've done the mad dash between kodiak to the peninsula then off the the interior but dang 6 units is humpin...

    Although i worked Kodiak most of my coastal experience is down Bechoraf way and where we were the bears like it high so didn't check out too many dens in the spring. Jake I will have to look a little closer the next time I visit a den as I am I really interested in the water catch area. Weather didn't seem to bother them too much but admittedly the early spring weather years we did of course see more bears but as I recall not really more shoot able boars. That figure seemed to be pretty consistent. I will say though as Jake said on the Ak peninsula I would prefer the later part of the season vs early. We rarely killed bears in the first few days of the season. But again that's where we were and as pointed out every area is different. That is the reason that if and when I hunt a new area and don't know a guide or friend from the area I always make it a point to talk to the bio or local.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ninefoot View Post
    DSC00414.jpg
    heres a den very similiar to the little shallow depressions i mentioned in my last posts...not the best pic to show, but if you look behind me the top of the tundra grass is merely a foot and a half or so above my boots. a ten foot class bear was killed right outside of this little depression...and i promise only about a third of him fit into the actual "dug" part of the den...the rest of the den is very simply: snow

    the most elaborate dens i've found (deep and dugout and obviously took some major work on the bears part) nearly always belong to sows with little ones.

    there are reasons why different drainages and parts of mountains are better denning areas than others

    possibly kodiak is different, but i've seen similiar den "dugouts" on the penninsula, interior mnts, and the northern portion of southeast alaska....
    Zack your posts are always so detailed oriented its like sittin round the table with the other guides at the end of the season ...really good stuff..

    I do know of such dens you speak of. Had a good friend and guide huntin down on an island and they were walking along and all of a sudden something swatted at them. After finally figuring out what happened they realized it was a bear in a shallow den and camped on him. Well after they smoked him out(so to speak of course) and it turned out to be a brute... The den from my understanding was just a deep fold on the tundra..

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    Default Spring Brown Bear - Kodiak 2013 - weather effects on hunting?

    Thanks for all the heads up. I think I will probably stick with my dates for now and possibly change them to a week earlier or so depending on what the statistics say that I can find.
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