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Thread: Backpackin' for Black Bears??

  1. #1

    Default Backpackin' for Black Bears??

    I'm currently looking into what options Alaska has to offer for a DIY spot and stalk black bear hunt, and I'm wondering what possibilities are out there besides boat based hunts in the Southeast and PWS. Are there any places on the mainland like maybe the Kenai where a guy who is willing to work hard and hike a few miles could get into some good open country w/ good bear populations? Or would I need to fly or boat in to get to good areas?

    I'm thinking along the lines of a fall bowhunt for bears hitting the berries.

    I've been to the SE twice in the spring and am thinking of going back for a fall hunt on the salmon streams, but wouldn't mind seeing a different part of this great state.

  2. #2
    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    This is my favorite way to hunt. All you need to do is find a place with blueberries. Depending on the weather and where you are, the berries may start getting ripe as early as the 4th of July. The peak of berry season is usually in August. Get up above the treeline and you should have good luck. I do it all summer long just for weekend hunts.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    I'd head up in to cooper lake and upper russian lakes, you'll have some fish in the rivers up there and berries on the hills, good hiking trails but alot of untouched country when you step off the trail. great place to start though!
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  4. #4

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    I have been part of taking some large bears on salmon streams here in southeast but if you really want to work for them and desire a little better rug. I sugest going up in the moutains in ocober, Just find a nice grass hillside at about 2500-3000ft and wait. I have seen up to 15 bears in a 1/2mile strech. You just want to get above the blue berry and highbush cranberry bushes that border the timber and glass thoses patches. I rank this right up there with goat hunting so make sure you are in shape and prepare for weather.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    In the south east you can pretty much just take off walking(at your ease miles) and find bears.Up and off the side of the two rivers in Haines will put you on bears but Brownies may interfer with your fun.On POW you don't have to worry about Brown Bears.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your replies. I love being able to sit and glass open areas but I just didn't know where those areas are.

    Is the weather slightly better in the Kenai's than on POW in Sept/Oct and is it infested with brown bears?

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    I'm not sure "infested" is the right word, but as a local I have seen more brownies that black bears in the last couple years. We had 34 (as memory serves) "defence of life & property" kills on brownies on the Kenai Peninsula last year. As far as weather goes, probably better than SE, but it can rain buckets here that time of year too. You just never know.
    It is beautiful country & worth your time though (but don't tell any other tourists).
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  8. #8

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    I second the Cooper Lake / Russian Lake areas. I spend alot of time down there in both the spring and the fall, and I ALWAYS see black bears on the hillside.

    Cooper Lake's water level changes significantly from spring to fall, and I would reccomend spring, because the water is much lower and it is easier to get around the lake, in late summer, and early fall, the water is high enough it make hiking around the lake very difficult, and if you use a canoe, there are fewer places to camp along the shore.

    This is a GREAT backpack hunt, as there is limited road or plane access.

    As for brownies, I have seen a couple on the hillsides, but they are not as prominant as black bears. I have seen probably a 6-1 ratio of black bears to brown in the hills around Cooper Lake, and Upper Russian Lakes.

    Be prepared to bust alot of brush to get above the treeline.

    I have attached a couple of picture from Late May 2007.
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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Black Bear Hunt

    Most folks would say "not in my back yard" but I also recomend the Cooper Landing area.
    Also Homerdave from this forum offers a boat drop off out of Homer at a reasonable price with great success.
    One year I got a registration Goat permit. We had to call in after 6 pm each night. By the time we got to Sadie cove it was 3PM in mid October. We spotted the Goats and thought "YEAH" we'll score tomorow. We called at 6PM and the hunt was closed because 2 goats had been harvested. We spent the night anyways. The next AM I spotted a Blackie and up I went. I harvested the Bear and could of climbed another 200 yards and got a Goat.
    Great scenery from up high and good eating blueberies and Black Bear. Good Hunting.

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default tunigan & eagle river

    If you want to hike you can find them in the hills by turnigan pass & out by eagle river. Of course you keeping going north & you will fine them around kesugi ridge as well. Not a real shortage if one wants to look hard & spend a couple days hiking.

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    Default What about in the spring?

    I got the same question but about spring black bear. Any good places to start if a boat or plane is not reasonable. I was thinking around the Russian river before the no hunting that starts in that area in June. Any other good advice? thanks

  12. #12
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Seen them on the Trail on the way to Upper Russian Lake, near Aspen Flats Cabin. Also the journal entries in the cabin had notes from several hunting groups that used that cabin in years past. Also seen plenty of brown bear on these trails.

  13. #13

    Default vehicle

    If I leave a vehicle for a couple of days while I backpack hunt (cooper lake, russian etc)what are the chances that it will get broken into while I am gone?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisiana View Post
    If I leave a vehicle for a couple of days while I backpack hunt (cooper lake, russian etc)what are the chances that it will get broken into while I am gone?
    Not high, but of course anything is possible. Vehicle break-ins do occur, but I've never had a problem in the area.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BR Stinger View Post
    I'm currently looking into what options Alaska has to offer for a DIY spot and stalk black bear hunt, and I'm wondering what possibilities are out there besides boat based hunts in the Southeast and PWS. Are there any places on the mainland like maybe the Kenai where a guy who is willing to work hard and hike a few miles could get into some good open country w/ good bear populations? Or would I need to fly or boat in to get to good areas?

    I'm thinking along the lines of a fall bowhunt for bears hitting the berries.

    I've been to the SE twice in the spring and am thinking of going back for a fall hunt on the salmon streams, but wouldn't mind seeing a different part of this great state.

    Unit 13 is another real good area, for both black and browns, i enjoy hunting along the tonsina fro about 90 mile down to Thompson's pass out side Valdez, there are bears on nearly every mountain near pump 12, and if your willing to work you can get some real nice bears. you have a limit of 3 blackies and a grizz a year there. i have hunted there off and on for years now and know that the last 2 weeks of may, that if you can't find a bear, you don't know how to look. it is brush busting hard work to get off the road to the mountain. but it is worth it
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I became a huge fan of hunting blackies in the fall after this past years success. If you have a late season sheep or goat hunt then there is nothing like alpine blackies to get you in shape! I will hunt them over the weekend this fall when the berries ripen up. The meat is amazing as well. We hunt them just like sheep, we get up high and walk the ridges glassing down to find the bears on the berries. Of the 2 we stalked this past year neither ever looked up from the berries to notice us. I would hunt more blackies just for meat if I didn't have to salvage the darn hide as well! There was a good post here late last year about fall hunting alpine blackies that had pics of the berries and all sorts of good info, I can't access the search function from this connection or I would find it for you.

    What we do for a weekend hunt is find a good valley that we can drive along either on ATV or Truck then we work are way along it a day or two before the hunt is planned. We just glass the mountain sides and count bears. We look them over for size etc. In my experiance the rounder the bear is the bigger. Long legs seems to be a sign of a young bear. I look for one that sees to be rolling accross the alpine tundra. This is also a good time to figure out how many sow/cubs are up there so you know what to expect. After finding an area that has good bear numbers we work out a plan to get above tree line. We will usually plan a day to get up above treeline and find a good spot to camp. Then we just work are way down the ridge using a map and carefully look over the areas that we saw bears earlyier in the week. When we find one we stalk down on it which is highly effective. I also like to use enough gun to really knock the snot out of them! They can build a shocking amount of speed running down the mountain and even if they hit the alder line dead they will punch WAY into them! I like to leave em dead where they are shot makes tracking easy! A 45-70 is highly effective at this and like I said earlier none that we have stalked ever got spooked. We have taken them at under 30yds and they had no idea we were there!

    Finding a good path up the mountain is the most important part to make for a comfortable hunt. It is far easier to travel even multiple miles above treeline to get to a bear than it is to try and force your way through a bad path up the mountain! This is a very fun way to hunt and in my opinion is the only thing that compares to sheep or goat hunting!

  17. #17

    Default another overlooked spot

    if you gop to indian outside of anchorage about 14 miles you go in at the bird garage road and it takes you into the chugach which is open for black bear use a atv or you can walk cross the creek and hike up the other side it will be a lot of work but once you are up there its amazing the number of bears in our backyard eating berries we spotted 7 blacks and 12 griz in one day and those blacks were huge because most people wont put inthe work to get them.

  18. #18

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    Here is the thread LuJon were reffering to regarding fall black bear hunting.

  19. #19

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    I remember that thread. I will look into all of the areas mentioned. Thanks for all of the responses.

    One other question. Above treeline where the berries are, is it typically very brushy? I ask because I'll be hunting with a bow and wonder if it would be hard to sneak within bow range due to too much growth. Looks kinda thick in some of those pictures.

  20. #20
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    OK, between this thread & the old one that's reposted, I'm getting a real hanhering to get my 450 Guide gun out to play!!! Come on spring!! Only about 62 days until baiting starts & about 80 days until they are really out!!! I'd love to be out looking for them on old seismic trails, hillsides, etc as they 1st come out, but it looks like we'll be moving into a different house during May. My wife is an understanding woman but I don't want to push it. I'll settle for a few nights over bait for the spring bear. Hopefully it will be the berry patches for fall.
    Of course since I didn't draw goat or sheep tags I'm sure I'll draw a Kenai Peninsula brown bear tag so that may occupy some of my time....
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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