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Thread: Unimak Island Brownie Spring 2015

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    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    Default Unimak Island Brownie Spring 2015

    Hello everyone! Although i have known about this forum for quite some time now, only recently have i started really combing through it, and this morning i decided to go ahead and write up my first post. So here goes...

    Everyone has their own idea of a "dream hunt". For some, those "dreams" can become a reality when ADF&G announce the results of the Draw Hunt Lottery. One of MY "dream hunts" will be becoming a reality for me in May of 2015. I was fortunate enough to draw DB376, Spring Unimak Brown Bear. After i finished jumping up and down, and slugging my unfortunate co-worker in the arm, he suggested that i get on here and ask for information/advice/suggestions for this hunt. I have spoke with several other hunters and buddies of mine, picking whatever brain i could about the hunt, and the name i kept hearing was Rod Schuh. Over the past week, i have spoken with Rod a few times, and am heavily leaning towards hiring him for air-taxi and lodging while in Cold Bay (definitely going unguided). Besides that, i still have plenty of research to do on this particular hunt. Has anyone out here done Unimak before? Does anyone have any knowledge of the Cold Bay/Sand Point area? Suggestion? Comments? Pictures? Is there anyone on this blog that drew the same permit?

    Any insight will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and good luck to everyone out there this coming season!

  2. #2
    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    If it were my hunt,

    I would buy Topo maps of the entire island & Study them so I know exactly where I was at all times.

    I would check with Game & fish to find out what you can & cant do on the refuge, IE ( Quads, access points for landing, Ect.)

    I would take Salt with me just in case you have to flesh the bear out yourself because your flight gets delayed.

    Think about what kind of mount you want before you go & talk to your taxidermist ahead of time for skinning & fleshing dirrections.

    I Got a HUGE bear in last year & the guy is doing a lifesize mount , But he cut All 4 pads off the feet because he was thinking about a rug, then changed his mind. Now I have to put pads on his bear. Lots easier to do it right the first time.

    I don't cut off the pads until the bear is on the rugging board because I have had several folks change their mind to another pose.

    RAIN GEAR can not be stressed enough.

    Gortex Everything.

    A GOOD tent that can handle the wind. ( I have a Cabelas Guide model with aluminum poles & it holds up Very well in winds over 40 miles an hour.)

    Spotting scope so your not walking/ sneaking for miles on a bear that has bad rubs or smaller than you are willing to shoot.

    Sat Phone so you can call the pilot as soon as you get a bear to arrange pickup. ( & to call your buddies & Brag. LOL)

    I have heard that in the spring most of the bears will be down towards the beaches looking for Whale & fish carcasses washing up on the beach.

    There are some VERY large bears on the Island so I would set my sights on shooting a large one & not just settle for a Nice bear.

    Have fun & Good luck on your hunt.

    RJ Simington
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

  3. #3
    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    Protax...,

    Thanks for the info!

    Yeah, gear and optics can make or break your hunt, so i'l be sure and have everything lined out on that front.

    As far as transportation goes, i have found that there is a small road system on the island. I was told that it might not hurt to get a hold of someone in False Pass. They have been known to rent trucks to hunters, and you can "cruise for bears", kinda like on parts of Kodiak, but on a smaller scale. To be honest though, i'l probably just get dropped somewhere, set up, and hoof it.

    Will definitely have a good base camp set up for this one.

    Going to be bring salt.

    Sat phone for sure.

    Heard the exact same thing about the bear's spring habits. Haven't decided exactly where i'm going to set up yet though.

    I know that Unimak has produced its fare share of B&C Bears over the years, and i am myself, gunning for just that. At the same time though, am going to be realistic and open-minded about the hunt.

    A healthy wolf population out there too. Have a couple buddies going with to film, and try and "down some dogs" themselves.

    Thanks again...

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    I agree with the above thread but would go gor-tex nothing.
    Fleece or other quick drying synthetic material and rubber rain gear hands down. While I've not hunted unimak I have hunted three or four different seasons on the south half of the alaska peninsula from sand point north and 15 years of Kodiak island.
    Good tent is a must and the rain gear.
    Good optics you can spend hours in.
    A clue on what a big bear looks like. Fish and game has a video I believe.
    Merino wool base layers. Stear clear of poly or under armour stuff.
    I'd just guess rubber boots....
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    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    Good points Brwnbr.

    I just like avoiding getting wet in the first place , that's why I wair gortex.

    Anyways, When I was planning the Unimak trip before the draw results told me I suck again,LOL,

    I was going to see if Fish & game would allow quads to be used on the refuge.

    Then I was going to take the ferry out to the island with my truck, quad, & boat.

    A couple years ago the ferry went out there I think every 2 weeks , which could leave a guy waiting an extended time , but like ya said, Wolves are fun to shoot.

    But since the fish & Game will not give me a tag, I guess I wont have to do any further looking into it. LOL

    RJ Simington
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Spent 6 summers out there commercial fishing, every month of June was around Unimak. If its blowing rain at less than 20 knots, its a good day! Absolutely want some helly Hansen gear.
    In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea
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  7. #7
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    IF this your true dream hunt, i would highly recomend Rod's guides, though you will have to pay for them, they know what they are doing, and they know the island "well". perhaps you are an experienced bear hunter, and can pull it off yourself, lots of guys do. if it was me out there, i would be with either Charlie or Scrom, great guides, very bear savvy, and holy crap can they pack a load!
    listen to BRNBR, rain gear, rain gear, rain gear, something that when it gets wet on the inside you can still wear it without soaking your next underlayer.
    most of all, "good Luck!"

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    Yup, been there, done that hunt!...it's a brown bear paradise!..I passed up two 9' and one 9.5' the first day, it's that good!...saw 55-60 bears on that hunt and ended up with an 9.5' (27 12/16 skull) on the last day!...althought we saw some monsters we couldn't get on them as they were moving, and you ain't catching up with them, believe me, we tried!...lol

    Schuh knows that area better than anyone, but he ain't going to put you in a great spot, trust me on that!... Unless you're paying 20k for a full guided hunt!..the good news is I don't think there is really a "bad" spot on the island to hunt bears!...we flew in with Warren Johnson (bear lake lodge) he put us at Winding Creek (west of the Tugamak range) we hunted there for about 5 days, then he moved us to Urilla Bay (east of the Tugamak range) Lots of bears at both places!

    good luck, it's an awesome place!

    Dave
    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Lol I enjoying staying dry as well, that's why I avoid gor-tex
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    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    BRWNBR - Assuming that this is going to be a hunt where i'm probably going to be doing a lot of sitting/glassing, i was definitely going to go with the rubber rain gear over the Gore-Tex. I just ordered some new Merino Wool clothing a couple weeks back. I love the stuff.

    Protax - I was unaware of a ferry to the island. I might have to look into that, just for the sake of recon.

    tlingitwarrior - For sure my man, hunting in Alaska - Always expect the worst weather, and feel lucky when you receive clear skies. Oh, and i have the Helly Hansen.

    'Bender - This is definitely one of the hunts i've been dying to do for a while now, i just can't bring myself -nor can i responsibly afford- to pay a guide 20K, for a hunt that i feel i can be successful at myself. Between me and the two guys coming with, i think we'll be quite alright. Just get us to the island. Although, it would be nice to have someone else do the heavy lifting sometime.

    ram hunter - I talked with Schuh about just that. He explained to me that he has clients paying big money, and that those guys are taken to the "honey holes', which i was fully expecting. He said something similar to your comment though, that you can bag a big bear just about anywhere on the island, and that once we get to the lodge, we will sit down with a map and go over possibilities. I guess we'll see...I had heard Warren Johnson's name before, i gave him a call yesterday. We were having trouble hearing one another, so i told him i'd give him a shout later on. I'm still interested in what he has to offer. Also, i took a look at a map of Unimak after reading your comments. Looks like you were hunting the North side of the island. Were you on a spring or fall permit?

    I appreciate all your guys' advice and warm wishes...

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    Wear breathable (quick drying) synthetic clothing when making heat and put the goretex on when you stop. That's usually the rule since you'll walk to places so you can sit quietly and glass. It isn't always raining there but it's usually windy. Gore Tex allows you to dry out while sitting rather than stewing inside a rubber suit. The terrain makes for good walking. Especially the cinder blows. Make time on the cinders and hope to use terrain to stay concealed. Quiet clothing will be important since there's very little cover.

    Oh, and make sure to take a laser rangefinder. Distance perspective on Unimak is very tricky.

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=
    ram hunter - I talked with Schuh about just that. He explained to me that he has clients paying big money, and that those guys are taken to the "honey holes', which i was fully expecting. He said something similar to your comment though, that you can bag a big bear just about anywhere on the island, and that once we get to the lodge, we will sit down with a map and go over possibilities. I guess we'll see...I had heard Warren Johnson's name before, i gave him a call yesterday. We were having trouble hearing one another, so i told him i'd give him a shout later on. I'm still interested in what he has to offer. Also, i took a look at a map of Unimak after reading your comments. Looks like you were hunting the North side of the island. Were you on a spring or fall permit?[/QUOTE]

    I had the spring tag, I heard that Warren wasn't doing drop off hunts on Unimak anymore?...if he is tho, I would go with him!...he hunted Unimak for years, so knows it very well...he will be cheaper than R&R, and will put you in a better hunting area!...IMO

    One thing good, is that there is no spring bear hunt on the penn, so those guys won't be that busy, the only hunting R&R will have is Unimak! I would hunt the western half of the Island, R&R likes the west end, Cape Sarichef/Scotch Cap! but they will be flying the whole Island looking for washed up dead whales and that's where they'll be! Unimak Bight is also a good place for big bears!
    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    A clue on what a big bear looks like. Fish and game has a video I believe. .
    Can't stress this one enough. SO VERY important for a guy that want's a big bear.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    I drew the same tag in 2010, did my hunt wo Rod, and you'll see my pics.....yes it can be done IF you know where to go.....

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    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    Jeff U - Well ??

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    Member Johnny Bruin's Avatar
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    ramhunter - I have tried to send you a PM, but its telling me that you can not receive it due to your inbox being full.....

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Bruin View Post
    ramhunter - I have tried to send you a PM, but its telling me that you can not receive it due to your inbox being full.....
    I emptied my folder....
    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

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    Member SLA's Avatar
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    Great tag, good luck!

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    caltopo.com has great topographic maps...

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    when it comes to the island there arent many options and if it were me the choice is simple... Rod. No one knows the island better. Rod does have the best guides too.. Sure he is gonna drop his guides in his honey holes but that doesnt mean he will put you in a bad spot, but of course we all have our opinions and own experiences. Rod can be a bit rough around the edges but he is one hell of a pilot!! .. The island is unique and there are bigggg bears there. If you truely want a big bear dont shoot a small on one and dont go camping.. Look at Rods page... you know why they get so many 10's because they pass on the 9's.. that simple..Get after it really early,all day, and really late.. Find a good vantage poing even take shifts if needed. This is a possible once in a liftime hunt for bears.. Who cares what gear as long as it is the highest of quality tested for the harshest of environments!!! especially when it comes to tents.. The island has and will punish you with wind and a crappy tent or any gear for that matter will be a mistake.. Even bomb shelters can be destroyed in that wind. Be prepared to sit in the weather all day comfortably.. Its not a hard place to hunt as long as you hunt.. Like said learn what a big bear looks like.. Personally I wouldnt be stinking up the place chasin wolves till I had a bear down but thats just me... Congrats on the tag and have a great hunt!!!

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