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Thread: POW spring bear hunt questions

  1. #1

    Default POW spring bear hunt questions

    I have been researching this a long time, my first bear hunt, first AK hunt, first boat hunt & first time boating myself on the ocean where there are big tide shifts.

    So I have some questions, some I know but want to confirm others I need ideas!

    We will have a 16' boat and a truck and are hunting the last week of May from the Staney Forest service cabin on the West side of the island, it is a little north of Craig and Klawock.


    1. What is the best plan to locate bears, boat looking for them or boat to a vantage point and sit tight and glass? Or is boating around looking for sign, then stopping and glassing best? In other words get to know and area vs moving looking for bears constantly.

    2. I want to bring my hide home with me, but I am not sure that is possible. If I choose to do this how can I? How big of a cooler is needed? How can I get it frozen folded before it spoils?

    3. What meat am I not required to salvage (I read regs but want to be sure I hear from others first hand)?

    4. Any suggestions to DIY fishing - is it possible, what to bring etc.

    5. More tips to identify a mature bear and how to spot good hair.

    6. Where to look for bears, besides obvious tidal flats and green areas. I hear sunny days are best?

    7. Boating tips I might not have already.

    8. How in the world can I get around without busting a prop? Continously look over the bow for them? Seems like sooner or later we will bust a prop.

    9. How far from shore do you boat when looking for bears? How far can you typically see bears from a boat? What do you do when you see a bear from a boat - continue on, or cut engine, circle back and go to first hidden place (out of sight of the bear) and stalk. Basically how tolerant can I expect the bears to be of a boat.

    10. How much luck have you had in the morning and midday?

    11. Any ideas for some scenic areas to see and get pics?

    12. Any ideas for whale watching?

    13. How can we get help if we have problems on the water? Like a motor breaking.

    14. Any idea how far from Craig I can get cell phone reception?

    15. What places are there on the west side of POW to launch a boat?

    16. How fast can I reasonably expect to travel in a 16' boat with a 18hp motor - 10mph?

    Thanks Don!

  2. #2

    Default POWhunt

    Don, there are two launch spots close to Staney creek one is at Naukati and the other is at Winter harbor. The cabin at Staney is up the creek a ways and you will only be able to get there at high tide . Staney creeek has a big tidal flat that will make getting in and out difficult. When hunting from the boat go slow and glass half mile off the beach or so . You will have to judge the wind and keep it in your favor when stalking. I would get a couple fifty pound bags of fine salt and salt your hides make sure you split the lips and turn the ears .If you get a fish box you can take the hide back as luggage.Be careful around Staney and the Islands out front as there are lots of rocks. Eighteen horse engine isn't much to push a skiff especially when you get a load with people and a bear or two. Might have a problem getting up on step.I would take a sat phone or a hand held VHF with you and emergency stuff just in case. A garmin gps would help to ,the new Colorado 400's have all the charts on them . Good luck.

  3. #3


    8. How in the world can I get around without busting a prop? Continously look over the bow for them? Seems like sooner or later we will bust a prop.
    Don't go without a chartplotter gps.

  4. #4

    Default Tips

    Here in northern Southeast, we hunt a couple different ways. If new to the area, I would cruise the shoreline glassing (if the waves aren't boucing you around) looking for black spots that move between the treeline and the shore. Once spotted, do not cut you engine or change it's speed, that has been known to alert a bear to your presence. They are used to engine noice, but will look up if the sound changes. Rather, keep on course and plan a slow turn to go back or slowly move behind the next point(out of sight) before going to shore.

    If you find a great estuary and want to stay and glass, that works too. We have a spot we camp at each year and just glass from a good vantage point; it's relaxing,there's a lot of spring animal/bird activity to watch and we see many more bears in that cove than anyone would see from a boat. We've seen bears at all time of the day. If you see a bear and then it disappears into the woods, wait it out. Provided you didn't spook it, it's likely gone back intothe woods to take a nap and may appear in the same spot and hour or so later. Be patient and watch the wind closely. Bears have great noses.

    The hide will fit in a large garbage bag. Be sure you salt and turn the lips and ears as said already. Don't worry about spoiling the hide if you have salt. Keep the meat cool, in a creek or snowbank until you area ready to leave.

    It's hard to ID a boar, but if watch for awhile and are sure there are no cubs around, you'll be alright. Watch for rubbed fur though. Late in May you will have bears that are rubbed; they'll look like they have light patches of fur on their hide.

    Salvage all the meat; quarters, back strap, neck, ribs. It will make for tastey eating later; bear sausage is GOOD.

    Pay attention to tides; they change dramatically up here. Your biggest concern is to not let your boat get beached where you cannot get it back into the water again when it's time to leave. Some will pull the boat all the way out of the water, some will anchor it out so it remains floating throught the tide change and go ashore in a raft. Some will let it go dry.

    Whales, sealinons, seals... always possible. Migrating birds by the hundreds..yes. Fishing- dolly varden are in the streams and after salmon smolt that are exiting the streams- bright spinning lures work well.

    Enjoy your first trip to Alaska, it will be a memorable trip no douobt. SE Alaska is a great place to be in the spring!

  5. #5


    Great info guys!

    BrainW what is a chartplotter GPS? I have a Megalin Merdin I like and will use, I suspect it is not a chartplotter? I have the "cheap" topo program and I will download that area into it.

  6. #6



    A Chartplotter GPS shows your position on a marine chart. Those charts show all the charted navigation hazards, mostly being rocks. NOAA doesn't chart shallow areas very well, such as the tidal flat/river up to the cabin you rented.

    It will also help keep you orientated, as after a few hours of running through the islands and small channels, it's not unlikely that you might get a bit lost.

    I'd look around for a place to rent a decent handheld GPS with marine charts built in.

  7. #7


    I am considering this, I will at the very least get a nautical chart.

    Where is winter Harbor? My maps do not show it, by Staney right?

  8. #8
    Member muskeg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default boat launches are marked

    Don .....

    Winter Harbor is on the 2050 road the little red box with the boat picture in it ... about 7 or 8 miles south of the Staney cabin .... at the beginning of Tuxecan Pass ....

    Which map do you have ?


  9. #9


    Found it, got the "new" FS map $10, I thought it was closer, will check map but I found it on my topo anyway


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