I'm back from the Kenai!
Iím back from the Kenai. The bad news is no bear meat. The good news is I still have the tag so I have an excuse to come back in a few months. We did see 4 grizzleys, including 2 at 25-30 yards! But only saw one black bear a mile or so off.
We decided to take the Resurrection trail south out of Hope. We spent two nights camped up above the tree line to glass for bears. Absolutely tons of bear sign in the alders on the west side of Resurrection creek. Kind of unnerving going through that thick stuff with so much bear sign. We set up camp halfway between the tree line and the top and hiked up the rest of the way to 3700 feet which gave us a great view for glassing the tree line. Saw some grizzely tracks above the tree line, but no black bear sign. We did see one big round black bear in and out of the clearings below while we were glassing, but it wasnít possible to set up a stalk as there was about Ĺ mile of alders between us and him. After two days, we decided to head downhill toward where we saw the most sign on the way up. On the way up, we were in alders to nearly 3000 feet and on hands and knees at times which is always fun when youíre pack is filled with 8 days of junk. We found a much easier route down after surveying the area from the top. We probably were only in the alders for the last 1000 vertical feet or so.
We set up camp near caribou creek this time and decided to set up for hunting an area 2 miles east right around where we saw the most bear sign. From here we did a combination of sitting in this spot for a few hours at a time and doing some slow walking up and down the trail frequently glassing the clearings to the left and right of us. After a couple of hours on the trail we came upon a moose 50 yards to the west of the trail. Wish I was moose hunting. Another few hundred yards of walking and I saw an object that looked out of place in the grass. I check it out through the scope. Looks brown. For a second I thought it was a grizz, but it didnít look right. I bring out the binos and it turns out to be a bedded moose that hasnít yet heard us. 40 yards away and still bedded and right next to the trail with 4 days left for quartering and packing meat. Now I really wish I was here to hunt moose instead of bear which I had yet to see. Finally the moose must of scented us because he stood up and gave us a look so we decided to make a slow backwards retreat from the way we came.
The next day we saw two grizzleys (Sow and older cub about momís size?) about 2000 feet above us just above the tree line. Watched them for Ĺ hour or so through the binoculars just for the heck of it.
The next day we had a moose and calf walk within 25 yards of me while I was hanging up the food for the evening. The darn thing as big as a horse!! Kind of funny since when I saw the first two I remembered thinking that they werenít as big as I thought. The first two were standing in tall grass so I didnít see the full perspective till now.
Because the sound of the river seemed to cover any accidental noises we made when walking we decided to forgo sitting and hunting in favor of just taking a slow walk down the trail to see what we could see. Left around 5pm and planned to be back around 10. We got to one particularly dark area where it was practically silent. Most of the area you can hear the creek pretty good, but it was quiet here. I remember whispering my friend this area just felt like bears even though we didnít see any sign in the area when we walked through on previous days. He said it was funny because he was just thinking the exact same thing. About a minute later we heard a few twigs break. We stopped and looked in the direction of the sound. We then heard a low growl and saw two grizzlies (mom and big cub?) take off perpendicular to us then cut back over the hill and disappear. The coolest part was that they were no more than 30-40 yards away.
I didnít get to use my tag, but I learned a lot and I will probably have a chance go back for another week this August! I did have a question though.
Seeing the two grizz at 30ish yards was pretty cool, but Iím wondering if Iím pushing my luck by walking around at dusk in bear country being as quiet as possible. Granted Iíd never go without another armed buddy, but would you guys consider this a wise strategy? It definitely seemed to be the way to go as this is how we came across most of the animals we saw. Sitting over bait doesnít seem as exciting, although itís probably a lot safer.