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Thread: Hunting PW Sound Questions

  1. #1

    Default Hunting PW Sound Questions

    Hey guys,

    I am looking to do a spring black bear hunt in the sound and know that having a zodiac with a small outboard is best. In the interest of making the hunt more challenging I was thinking of bringing my canoe and just combing the beaches close to shore (~20-30' offshore).

    My questions are:

    1. Is there any place to rent a zodiac or are there outfitters that could set you up with one? I will be doing an unguided hunt.

    2. Would the canoe theory be feasible? Or is it common for the weather to be so bad that you couldn't do this type of hunt?


    Thanks for the help!

    -HT

  2. #2

    Exclamation No canoe for me

    Try Fish Central at http://www.fishcentral.net/

    I'm not affiliated w/them and have only spoke w/them once at the Sportsman's Show in Anchorage. They have skiff rentals. I grew up in Valdez. A sports Kayak is one thing but I can think of "safer" challenges than paddling a canoe in PWS...expecially around 3pm like clock work when that summer breeze kicks up 3 footers through the narrows into the bay.

    Lots of bear in there. Good luck.

    Tim
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

  3. #3
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    Default 2nd No on the Canoe

    In addition to the rather steep chop that happens in PWS, you will also have plenty of boat wake to deal with. Also, you mentioned staying within 20' - 30' of shore; if anything starts pushing you around such as the aforementioned wake, chop, or even wind, you will likely find yourself in trouble on the rocks.

    Way too many things to go wrong in a canoe in PWS.

    Just my thoughts. Be safe out there.

  4. #4
    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Wouldnt chance it with a Zodiac......

    Too many things can and will often go astray. Weather can be very unpredictable and a zodiac may limit how far out of Whittier you hunt. Dont get me wrong, you will find bears within close proximity to Whittier, but you and everybody else with a small boat/canoe/kayak will be hunting the same areas. Its best to get at least outside of Passage Canal. Good Luck on your hunt. Will be hunting for my bear this spring in PWS too. Dont worry plan on being at least 50 miles away!!!!
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  5. #5
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Default

    Plenty of Zodiacs running around out there, some even go as far as Montague (not me!). Just plan on getting wet if the weather turns and have the charts memorized so you know where you can pull in out of the weather. Watch out for rocks they are everywhere out of Whittier!

    Good luck on your hunt!

  6. #6
    Member doogiehauz's Avatar
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    Default zodiac

    I've got a 14' zodiac and a 25 HP motor on the back, my buddy said i would be fine and its actually safer than big boats because the zodiac will float even if submerged in water. Granted its going to be a bumpy/wet ride, but if a bear rug is the deal, not so bad. I see some zodiac's outfitted with a bimi top and cover that would make it much more pleasant, anyone with one know where to pick one up at and the cost?

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the response. I think I should have clarified what I meant by taking a canoe out there...

    I have talked to a water taxi out of valdez that would have enough room for a zodiac/canoe/kayak. The taxi would take us to a bay and then drop us off with whatever it is we brought along. It still seems to me that bringing the canoe sounds like a bad idea, but are there water taxis or outfitters or someone that could rent us a zodiac with a small outboard for a week or so?

    Thanks again for the help!

    -HT

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by doogiehauz View Post
    I've got a 14' zodiac and a 25 HP motor on the back, my buddy said i would be fine and its actually safer than big boats because the zodiac will float even if submerged in water. Granted its going to be a bumpy/wet ride, but if a bear rug is the deal, not so bad. I see some zodiac's outfitted with a bimi top and cover that would make it much more pleasant, anyone with one know where to pick one up at and the cost?
    I honestly can't imagine anything much more capable than a zodi in the high seas. Surely, it will be wet, but it also float just about not matter what, that is as long as it has air. Come to think of it, when the big boats are sinking people get into things just like zodis, just not as well built and fast. But, with that said, they are not my cup of tea for long trips. They are just too exposed for my taste. But, short trips? You bet! They are fun as all heck.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    I honestly can't imagine anything much more capable than a zodi in the high seas. Surely, it will be wet, but it also float just about not matter what, that is as long as it has air. Come to think of it, when the big boats are sinking people get into things just like zodis, just not as well built and fast. But, with that said, they are not my cup of tea for long trips. They are just too exposed for my taste. But, short trips? You bet! They are fun as all heck.
    Ask those bear hunters down at Bering River a few years ago how well Zodi's perform in bad seas. They are lucky to be alive. and their gear is all over the gulf coast.

  10. #10
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    The head of most bays in the Valdez Arm can be navigated on foot during low tide . It would be a ride across open water to get to another bay. The water around Valdez is in the 38 degrees range in the spring. You have about 15 minutes in water that cold where you can use your arms and legs, after that about an hour before death. Temps during the spring with rain can be very dangerous.

    The backs of the bays are mostly protected and would be safe for small paddle craft.

    During high tides and high tide cycles it may be hard to hunt the shore line because of the large tidal moves. High or rising water can cut off your route back to camp.

    The tides in PWS can catch you unprepared if you have never worked with them, leaving you high and dry.

    If you do rent an inflatable beware of where you leave it, as bears love to chew on them.

    I would have a means to communicate, hand held VHF or sat phone. Last spring I met a man and his son while hunting. They were dropped off near our rental cabin by a friend, I chatted with them for a while so we would not hunt on top of each other. The weather turned nasty so the wife and I decided to leave early. I had the cabin rented for a few more days so I offered it to the father and son. That night while out hunting the father slipped and fell. He cut his scalp badly and was beat up from the fall. They had to wait in the cabin for several days until their friend came to get them. The father told me that he was afraid for his life during the wait for their ride.
    A radio or phone call would have had help there within the hour.

    I use a small jet powered raft to get around the shore and use my skiff to get from bay to bay. I have killed bears on foot as well. Expect some rain and I would wear waders and a HH top for the rain and for stalking the marsh grass flats


    One thing to remember about rafts, they are light weight. When running into the wind they like to blow over. They do float, but remember what I said about water temp, they are used as life rafts but most are at the mercy of the wind. Most folks I see in Zodiacs are wearing dry suits. I about died bear hunting PWS many years ago, I learned many lessons that trip.


    My rig


    This is one of the Valdez rental skiffs, it was over 70 foot from the bank floating during high tide and this is it at low tide. The 3 guys that rented it had to wait on the tide to go back to Valdez.


    Be safe
    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  11. #11
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    Default

    there is a place in Whittier that rents skiffs.
    the Zodiac idea is sound. i used to go all over sound and out into gulf and cook inlet all the time. zodiac type boats are best all around alaskan boat.IMO JUST NOT MUCH ROOM OR CREATURE COMFORTS I was in 10 foot confused seas one time, did not like it but boat handled it fine.
    just really need to be extra cautious with inflatables in PWS....SHARP ROCKS AND BARNICLES will cut and gouge them easily. never had had problems with bears but actually has suprised me, but i try and anchor the boat off shore to lessen that chance.
    CANOE- idea very limited and potentially dangerous. i have used my scanoe from my big boat to get to shore in protected cove , that is about all i would recommend it for.
    for what you would pay for water taxi you could be looking at down payment on used inflatable. i had old 12 footer with old 25hp for sale last year for $1000 and it did not sell. i have decided to keep it but have a nearly new 14 foot off brand good quality, i would sell. I even a older 10 foot off brand that needs some patching , still works fine as is but needs regular pumping, ...every hr or so. i would sell it , probably cheaper than you can rent one for. or a folboat sea kayak that needs some work ($75 for it). if interested PM me.
    word of caution !!!! boating in PWS and AK in general is addicting, and then you get 2footitis, (desire every 2 years to get a boat 2foot longer) i made it to 34 feet now i'm in a 12 step program and down to 24 footer....but still own 9-10 boats
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  12. #12
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    Default small Zodiaks

    Small (12 ft and under) Zodiak type boats are fine for landing craft or putting around close to shore in nice weather or very protected bays. But they aren't made for the rough weather you can encounter in PWS or the Gulf. Yes they will still float if they fill up with water. But they will fill up with water. Also as pointed out, they can tear and most of the beaches in the Sound are rocky. But they are light and fairly wide and can be flipped by a gust of wind when coming over a wave.

    If you are sure the weather won't kick up on you or you are in a very protected bay they are OK. Just remember, if you go too far, the weather can kick up very quickly. Sure some people have used them extensively to travel long distances. But people have tightrope walked over Niagra Falls too, and I wouldn't recommend that either.

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