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Thread: Is PWS the best?

  1. #1
    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    Question Is PWS the best?

    While doing some web browsing getting ready for my first PWS bear hunt this spring, I ran across a webpage for a guide selling bear hunts in PWS. The following statement was on the website:

    "Operating under a Chugach National Forest special use permit, ************ is proud to offer one of a kind hunts in pristine Prince William Sound aboard our private yacht. Everything you've heard about "The Sound" is true and more! Aside from the abundant marine life it boast perhaps the highest concentration of trophy black bears on earth. With hides squaring from 6-7 feet it's no wonder Prince William Sound has a reputation for producing giant black bears. Nowhere will you see a higher number of bears, a bigger percentage of large male bears or more perfect hides on bears. Period. We pride ourselves on having the best black bear hunt currently available and the equipment and skill to make it happen. We harvest nothing but large males with perfect hides."

    A couple thoughts crossed my mind. First, as I was reading about bear hunts and different areas to hunt, there seemed to be many places that have lots of bears and big bears, and no one area seemed to be clearly the best. Second, I'm not going on a guided hunt and I haven't ever been on many websites of guides, so maybe this is the typical "sell" for wherever they hunt; I don't know.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if this statement is true, or if it is an overstatement? IF it is an overstatement, is it a common occurence for these types of claims to be made?

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I do know that there are a lot of bears in the sound, but I have heard the biggest black bears come from S.E. Alaska.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    That is a gross overstatement of the average size of the bears. Larger bears in Alaska come from SE, and much larger bears can also be found in Canada, Minnesota, etc. PWS has lots of bears and very nice hides in the early spring, but they're not generally known for their size.

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    I've hunted the sound probably 6 or 7 times. I've glassed probably 300 bears or close to it. We've taken 20 or so over the years. It is really rare to find many over 6 ft and crowding 7 is extremely rare. We've taken two over six feet, both were old males. Brian is correct, lots of bears, not huge. I used to see more before the Whittier tunnel opened. And yes, it is common for guides to say theeir areas are the best for what ever species they are talking about, why would you go with a guide that said it wasn't? Good luck.

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    Brian, is the kenai a better area for bigger blacks?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner378 View Post
    Brian, is the kenai a better area for bigger blacks?
    I'm no expert on the issue, but I haven't heard of a lot of really big bears coming off the Kenai Peninsula either. I imagine that there are large bears to be found, but in the Kenai Mountains they come out of the den pretty late and go to bed pretty early. I think the Southeast bears tend to be a bit bigger because they have a longer growing season and really rich food sources. The bears in PWS have good salmon runs to fatten up on, but they don't come out of their dens until at least a few weeks later than the SE bears.

    There are also a number of nice sized black bears taken out of the interior every year. Watch the photo gallery and hunt reports here over the next two months. That should give you a rough idea of what kind of bears come out of the various areas.

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    Default curious

    I'm curious about the guide and the website. That sounds like the sort of thing a certain guide who lost his license this last year would have posted at his site. After he got heat from local Cordovans for guiding deer hunters on Hawkins Island, he also claimed he wasn't guiding deer hunts there, but black bear hunts on his web site. Funny thing is, Hawkins Island has no black bears.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    I'm curious about the guide and the website. That sounds like the sort of thing a certain guide who lost his license this last year would have posted at his site. After he got heat from local Cordovans for guiding deer hunters on Hawkins Island, he also claimed he wasn't guiding deer hunts there, but black bear hunts on his web site. Funny thing is, Hawkins Island has no black bears.
    I was wondering the same thing...hmmm

    Big bears are where you find them. WE have found big bears out in PWS as well as the Kenai Peninsula. I have not hunted SE, but they historically produce really big bears. I agree with Brian that it is due to the extra time out of the whole and the variety and abundance of feed available. Take a look at the B&C and Pope&Young entries. Very few big ones not from SE area. My father shot one out of PWS that went just over 20" for the skull and I took one with a bow, spot and stalk that went just over 19". It's about time to hit the water and start looking for the early emergers.
    Last edited by spoiled one; 04-10-2009 at 19:24. Reason: fat fingered the keys
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  9. #9

    Smile big black bears...

    If I had to have a big black bear rug I would hunt Prince of Wales, Gustavus and those surrounding areas. Canada's Vancouver and Queen Charolete Islands also grow them big. If your hunting Prince William Sound and you see an honest 6' bear with a good hide shoot it and count your blessings. If you want an area that has more bears 7' and over go to South East Alaska. As far as the add saying PWS has more big black bears then any where else, well, I bet the states area biologist would find that amusing.

  10. #10
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    In the short version- "No". Best numbers of large blackies come from Kuiu and Prince of Wales in S.E. I have been actively guiding out of the Cordova area for 25+ yrs, and breaking 19 inches & 7ft is a rare event on eastern Sound bears.

    Some very large blackies also come off the Yukon and Tanana River systems. We used to take some very big blackies out in the Holitna/Aniak River area, more so than PWS. That being said, Sound bears generally have the nicer skins.

  11. #11
    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    in the last 5 years between 5 of us we have harvested a total of 29 black bears on the kenai peninsula and along turnagain arm....most of them have ranged from 120-220 in the spring to 200-375 in the fall....4 bears have gone 7' and a teeny bit over, only 4. the rest averaged 5 1/2' to 6', with some under and some over... one of the 7 footers we took just north of girdwood he had a 20" skull...the other 3 were all taken near seattle creek across the arm and along Sixmile creek near Hope. we did however see other bears that would have been 7' and maybe bigger but you never know till you get out the tape...now if you wanna get into some serious bear hunting, id say get up in one of those high valleys on the far side canyon creek between hope and summit lake on the KP, man there are bears everywhere! also if you are into bow hunting, i know there are some very respectable blackies near eklutna lake

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    Well a guy who spent his life as a game biologist said that the kenai peninsula had some of the highest concentrations of black bears anywhere. But they dont seem that big on average to me. If PWS has so many bears why are they worried about the harvest. It just doesnt make sense that their numbers are higher. They are just easier to hunt over there. That guide is just trying to sell hunts. In much of Alaska their are tons of black bears...
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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