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Thread: Black Bear Hunting Advice...Kenai Peninsula

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    Default Black Bear Hunting Advice...Kenai Peninsula

    I am coming up to the peninsula for the last two weeks of August for our annual fishing trip and am interested in doing some black bear hunting this year as well. I've done a lot of hunting in the lower 48 over the years but never been bear hunting and never hunted in AK so I'm hoping some folks here might be willing to share in their wisdom to help increase our odds of a successful hunt.

    I'm going to bring my .270, and I am planning on shooting Barnes TSX 130s or Nosler Partition 150s, I think either should be effective on black bears. Since baiting is not really an option for us the plan is to spot and stalk in the high country. It might be easier to get a bear down by the river but I think the excitement of the hunt and quality of the meat should be better higher up. I am envisioning basically driving around the area up in the higher country, glassing hillsides, locating a suitable bear that can be approached within shooting distance and heading after it.

    Any advice on good potential hunting areas, getting within shooting range, how to best handle the animal once harvested and where to have meat processed and hide tanned would all be greatly appreciated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    I am coming up to the peninsula for the last two weeks of August for our annual fishing trip and am interested in doing some black bear hunting this year as well. I've done a lot of hunting in the lower 48 over the years but never been bear hunting and never hunted in AK so I'm hoping some folks here might be willing to share in their wisdom to help increase our odds of a successful hunt.

    I'm going to bring my .270, and I am planning on shooting Barnes TSX 130s or Nosler Partition 150s, I think either should be effective on black bears. Since baiting is not really an option for us the plan is to spot and stalk in the high country. It might be easier to get a bear down by the river but I think the excitement of the hunt and quality of the meat should be better higher up. I am envisioning basically driving around the area up in the higher country, glassing hillsides, locating a suitable bear that can be approached within shooting distance and heading after it.

    Any advice on good potential hunting areas, getting within shooting range, how to best handle the animal once harvested and where to have meat processed and hide tanned would all be greatly appreciated!
    Find a trail getting you a mile or more from highway. Success rate will be much higher doing that. Glass, glass, glass

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    Look High! If you find one that is moving like he is on a mission or one that would take longer then 3 hours to get to, then let him walk. Most of my bear trips ended with me climbing a mountain to find out that the bear was already gone. If they are on a good berry patch, they will probably hang out for a little while. Make sure you play the wind. Their primary defense is their sense of smell.

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    .270 is a good choice and either bullet should work well. Make the first shot the last shot. They can run far even when mortally wounded.



    Release Lake Trout

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    .270 is a good choice and either bullet should work well. Make the first shot the last shot. They can run far even when mortally wounded.
    And.....having as much fat as some of them do, the fat can close up around the wound and leave little, to no, blood at all to track.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_pride View Post
    Look High! If you find one that is moving like he is on a mission or one that would take longer then 3 hours to get to, then let him walk. Most of my bear trips ended with me climbing a mountain to find out that the bear was already gone. If they are on a good berry patch, they will probably hang out for a little while. Make sure you play the wind. Their primary defense is their sense of smell.
    You've received lots of great advice, i'll add that you should bring a quality set of mountain boots. There are lots of guys that do it without them but they sure make that climb a lot nicer: Lowa/Meindle/Kennetrek/Scarpa etc... Some of those mountains are steep!

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    I've said it more than once, think sheep hunting for bears. You most likely will have to get above tree line, which means glassing with both good binos and spotting scope, then bush whacking though spruce forest, then alders and devil's club to get into the alpine up high. I've tried it, and I don't mean to discourage, but you've just got to be prepared for what you probably will face. That said, you may run into one you can shoot from the river or just off the road. To get one down, you are going to need a good pack.

    Carry some bear spray just in case you run into something bigger and meaner than a black bear.

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    Thanks for all of the input, I appreciate it! Getting the bear back out is really one of big concerns as we won't have large frame packs or ATV. I'm going to have to stay close enough to my vehicle that I can carrry or drag it out in a reasonable amount of time.

    Do most of you recommend a behind-the-shoulder hear/lung shot on blackies? That makes the most sense to me but I have heard of some people taking a front shoulder to try to drop them in their tracks.

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    You're looking at a time-consuming and hard-working hunt, since your best chance will be above timberline. That'll put you above 2,000' higher than the surrounding flatland. Try the mountain between Skilak and Lower Russian Lakes. It can be attained from either side. The bears will be on the berries, and Surprise Mountain [also called Russian Mountain] has plenty of both. As has been said, stalk your bear upwind. It will take two of you to pack out everything, so have a partner. Lastly, the 150-grain Nosler is best, in my opinion, with a .270. I've taken a handful of blacks over the years with that combination. Good luck. Use an Alaskan taxidermist for your bear, as stateside taxidermists don't have the practice that local taxidermists have. In years past, I used Boondock Taxidermy in Eagle River. Don't know if they're still in operation . . . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    You're looking at a time-consuming and hard-working hunt, since your best chance will be above timberline. That'll put you above 2,000' higher than the surrounding flatland. Try the mountain between Skilak and Lower Russian Lakes. It can be attained from either side. The bears will be on the berries, and Surprise Mountain [also called Russian Mountain] has plenty of both. As has been said, stalk your bear upwind. It will take two of you to pack out everything, so have a partner. Lastly, the 150-grain Nosler is best, in my opinion, with a .270. I've taken a handful of blacks over the years with that combination. Good luck. Use an Alaskan taxidermist for your bear, as stateside taxidermists don't have the practice that local taxidermists have. In years past, I used Boondock Taxidermy in Eagle River. Don't know if they're still in operation . . . . .
    I have passed on several bears on that mountain, super tough climb from the east, may be better from the west but it will require a boat and someone that knows how to navigate Skilak.

    If your in shape there are certainly lots of bears up there!

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    Skilak Lake Rd and glass up high. Be prepared to bushwack and climb

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    I have passed on several bears on that mountain, super tough climb from the east, may be better from the west but it will require a boat and someone that knows how to navigate Skilak.

    If your in shape there are certainly lots of bears up there!
    I looked at that mountain on Google Earth, it definitely looks like it would be a challenge to get into and out of. We have a boat and I have been across Skilak several times last fall when portions of the Kenai were closed due to flooding. I have seen first hand how nasty that lake can get when the weather kicks up, I'd be a little nervous about running all the way to the East end and getting stuck over there.

    Quote Originally Posted by akpolaris View Post
    Skilak Lake Rd and glass up high. Be prepared to bushwack and climb
    It was my understanding that Skilak loop was closed to hunting?

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    As for your question on shot placement, I've made both shots (behind for heart/lung and in the shoulder) with both bow and rifle (.44 mag carbine). In all shots the bears went about the same distance before piling up. None of them made it past 30 yrds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenaiKeys View Post
    It was my understanding that Skilak loop was closed to hunting?
    Nearly everything accessible from the road, without crossing water is closed, not sure what he's talking about. Now I'm thinking Skilak LOOP road, so maybe there is something named Skilak over toward Seward?

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Nearly everything accessible from the road, without crossing water is closed, not sure what he's talking about. Now I'm thinking Skilak LOOP road, so maybe there is something named Skilak over toward Seward?
    As far as I know Skilak Lake Rd. is Skilak Loop Rd. and it is closed to hunting.

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