Well things have finally settled down and I thought that I would share some of the details of my first brown bear hunt. I would like to thank everyone on the forum for their help and advice over the last year and a half. I would also like to publicly thank Mike Strahan of Lost Creek for the guidance, help and camaraderie on a hunt that was challenging, tough and full of excitement.
Day 1 – We drove to Willow and flew out with Denali Flying Service with the owner Barry as our pilot. Mike flew in first in the Maule to start setting up camp and then I followed with the rest of our gear which consisted of 2 FULL loads. We got camp set up and got the 14’ Otter raft and frame put together. We were camping on an island and tucked into a patch of alders. Across the river we spotted a 71/2’ Brown bear at about 200 yrds. I got very excited to say the least!! Mike fixed dinner of steak, bake potato, salad and fruit. Man what a meal, I’ve never eaten so well on a hunt! During dinner another bear decided to show his face and crossed the river coming to our side and disappeared in the alders. Made us a little nervous for a minute but we kept a watchful eye that he didn’t show up to share our STEAK!! Then just before dark another showed up. I’m thinking that this is going to be the easiest hunt I had ever been on. The temp was about 50 degrees with a slight wind and the scenery was stunning to include watching an eagle fly up the valley and land right across the river from us.
Day 2 – It had rained 3 or 4 times throughout the night and I didn’t get much sleep but it was nice listening to the river. We got up early and had some HC. It had rained on and off all morning so after breakfast we had built a little lean-to for shelter. We had also spotted a small bear at about 400 yrds. We sat there and continued to glass and spotted a brown and black bear up on the side of the mountain that was about 2 ½ miles away. We figured them to be a little too small and not in good position to make a stalk. The temp had cooled off to the low 40’s and the sun started to shine about 12:30. We had a snack and then P&J for lunch. The bugs were pretty bad requiring the nets so we decide to explore just a little not wanting to spread out scent too much. The river was full of salmon which was very encouraging. We spotted another black bear on our side of the river at about 3:30 and debated long and hard about going after him but decided that he was too close to the tree line. Things were looking really good so we made the decision to spend some time hunting this location. Hind sight is 20/20 because that bear later showed up after dinner feeding up high and another blackie was a few hundred yrds over from him as well. Dinner consisted of ribs, beans and salad. The trees were starting to turn and the colors were stunning.