Well I just returned from what was supposed to be a goat hunt that actualy turned into a bear viewing / deer hunt. We drew DG477 goat tags and had plans to fly into an alpin elake for about 7 months now. We had our hearts set on getting Billys with thick coats so we planned for a late Sept hunt (our first mistake). We were scheduled to fly out with Seahawk on Sat (this past Sat) morning at 8 am, and well if you know how things work on Kodiak, well the weather dictates when and where you can go. Seahawk was backed up with guys waiting on pick ups from the previous days storms so we couldn't fly out till later that afternoon. No biggy, we burned a few ours and showed back up at Seahahwk an hour or so before 4 pm waiting to fly out. When the pilot landed he advised us there was no way we were getting into any of the high lakes and it would probbaly be a few days or so. So we headed back to a buddys place we were staying at and rented a few movies, ate some Pizza and waited our time as the rain and wind came in large swaths. The next morning while sitting in bed the cell phone rings and guess who... its Seahawk saying that it looks god to get us out. So we throw our stuff together their van guy is at our door in 10 minutes and we are headed to the docks. We meet the pilot there who is now advising us that we still cant get into any of the high lakes and probably wont be able to till Fri.....maybe! But if we want to try something else this is the time to get in the air. I am thinking Friday is more than half way thru the time we have to hunt and with no guarantee on when we could even get flown out, the high lakes is out of the picture. So we study a map with the pilot and we come up with a place that has a lake he can land on that is about 3-4 miles from goats but not too (key word too) much brush to bust. So the pilot says its now or never cuz the weather buoys are showing that things are only going to get worse. So we load the Beaver and off we go. Its about an hour flight across Kodiak to the south end of the Island and the weather is just plain horrible, lots of wind, low ceiling and rain to go with it (usual Kodiak weather). Then as we near the south end it starts to open up a little and we can actually see the mountains and goats too! As we approach the lake that we are gonna get dumped on we start our decent onto the lake basin. And as we start our fly by of the lake we about chitt ourselves, theres a half dozen brown bear on the lakes edge, some on the beach some in the water and some running into the brush from the sound of the Beaver. We then circle the area and theres a creek that feeds into the lake, and that SOB has about 2 dozen brown bear in it! Some of them are stacked 2-3 together fishing one spot. We land the plane on the lake and get out to look around ( not that I even wanted to). We could see bears from right where the pilot is advising us that this is a good camp site. The brush is taller than I am and thicker than snot. My partner and I do a little whispering to each other and absolutely agree there is no freakin way we are gonna hike this lake and or sleep along it with all the bears in the area. I saw the Treadwell movie and dont want to star in part two of it. So as we are about to have him fly us back and call the whole trip we start going back and forth about maybe just turning it into a deer hunting trip. We talk to the pilot about a place to hunt deer that he can land on that isn't near SALMON cuz that equates to where the bears are. He says he knows a good lake he can land on that doesn't have salmon and is known for being a good place to hunt deer. So in the air we go, counting brown bear by the dozens from low altitude being very thankful we arent on the ground with them.(grin).
About 20 minutes later we approach a lagoon that is seperated from the salt and has no feeder creek for the salmon to get in there by. We circle and land and find a neat place to make camp haul all our stuff to it and the pilot is gone. After an hour or so we have camp set up, we got our binos and spotters up and we are hiking up a valley in search of deer. I spot a small group of deer approx 700 yards out (I ranged them) and start our stalk. We are tickled pink, no bears, deer in sight and the weather isn't too bad. We are thinking we are gonna salvage this trip and make it worth something. So we are closing the distance on the deer and they are a small ridge from us so they cant see us. We spread out about 60 yards and start our way up the little ridge that sperates us and who knows for sure how many deer I counted 8 when we started the stalk. As I clear the ridge I immediately spot something to my left and its a buck standing there looking at me. With pack on and breathing a little heavy I decide to shoot form the standing position. The Kimber Montana Barks and the 165 TSX does the job, the buck is down. We now advance across the top of this little ridge looking to see what else was with him. My partner is now about 80 yards from me on my right. I dont see any deer, I start moving to the left towards me deer and where there is a small drainage thinking maybe the other deer went down into it. When all of a sudden I see movement on the other side of the gulley and at first I am thinking holy cow its a moose till my mind computes what the heck is going on and I realize its a freaking monster Brown Bear. Dark choclate in color and absolutely the biggest bear/thing I have ever seen in my life! He is running out of the alders coming my way at about 200 yards and his nose is working overtime in the air and I realize that he is looking for the deer I just shot. Now on to this dinner bell theory with the brown bears on Kodiak, thats exactly what was going on here, its the only thing I could come up with. The site of him immediately puts me on my azz cuz I dont want him to see me, I signal to my partner that theres a bear coming our way as he is coming towards me. We take a position on the only hill with some rocks and get ready to shoot if neccessary. I have seen a lot of bears in my years hunting Alaska and I have seen dozens of grizzlies. But I have never seen a bear this size this close to me in my life, it was like something out of a Bart Lancaster movie I have seen. This big brown SOB had me sweating it big time. We then realized that he cant pick up the scent because we are downwind of him, and it gives us a scary sense of security. We watch him for like 15 minutes when its evident he is giving up the search with his nose of where that shot came from, and he starts to stroll down towards the beach and our camp (which we were not too excited about). We quiclky scramble back and start workin on the deer while watching our six the whole time. We are now pretty bumbed, hell I am afraid to shoot anything if this is what we are gonna have to deal with once you shoot one. But after hauling all the meat back to camp and realizing that the bear didn't mess with our camp we are thinking that things are ok. So we hang the meat about 170 yards from camp (where we can see it from a distance) and cover it with a tarp and head back for supper and some sleep. Its a little hard to sleep thinking about the size of the brown bear I had seen earlier and I just layed there thinking about how big he was (and how little my 300WSM felt) and wondering about the whole dinner bell thing, that really bothered me but I eventually fell asleep. It was 2 AM (I later find out) when I am being woken up my partner who can sleep through a hurricane, shoooshing me to listen that there is something outside in our camp walking around. Well this is about all I can stand of this chitt, I lay there hearing the steps and gripping my Kimber with all I have. I just went from a resting heart rate of maybe 62 bpm to about 300 bpm and I'm wondering whats next, my heart is about to jump out of my chest, how do these events unfold, I mean I've heard a hundred stories about em, even have a few of my own but none with big brown bears mostly small blacks and griz. Well the bear ends up leaving as far as we can tell and I cant undrstand it but it didn't take our meat. The only thing I can think of is that the way the wind was blowing the meat smell out towards the ocean with a steady gust he would have had to walk right in front of it to smell it. The wind really saved our azz on this trip though it wasn't much fun. The next morning we woke up checked out camp and looked for brown bear tracks though in the gravel they werent easily identifiable. We hunted that morning till about 1pm when the weather turned into a small hurricane and we were confined to out tent to ride out the storm. That night we decided that there werent enough deer and **** sure too many bears and to call the whole thing. I never regret any of the hunts I go on and enjoy all of them to some degree and by no means consider thi sexperience a failure but definately thi swas the most nervous I have ever been hunting in Alaska. I know that the guys that are around brown bears a lot are kinda used to them and their size isn't such a eye opener as it was for us two interior boys but man its really something to be on Kodiak Island and be able to enjoy the outdoors when in thick brown bear country and not ne worrying about em. I can repsect all those that can do it big time. Anyway, Seahawk was great, they did what they could for us but mother nature just wasn't going to cooperate and we knew that was gonna be a possibility. I did get to kill my first blacktail deer and will be eating frsh venison for dinner tonight with my wife and son and I got to see more brown bears than I could have ever imagined. Heres a few pics from the trip. The first one is not great but it was a while after the bear encounter before I wasn't gripping my gun and actually thought of taking a picture of the big boy.