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Thread: K-Bay Bear(less) Report

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default K-Bay Bear(less) Report

    My nephew, BucknRut, tdelarm, and I just got back from our bear hunt across Kachemak Bay. We were taken across the bay by homerdave on Tuesday afternoon and hunted through yesterday evening. We mainly focused on the beach, but made a few forays inland as well trying to figure out the lay of the land and where the bear activity was concentrated. In three and a half days, all we managed was two 5-second glimpses of bears right at dark on the 2nd and 3rd nights. My nephew got pretty fired up that he finally saw one on the 3rd night, but it was well over 300 yards away and it was gone by time we got closer.

    All in all, it was still a good experience. I was really hoping to help him connect with his first big game animal, but it just didn't go according to plan. Apparently the bears are up high much earlier than normal due to the early melt-off and green-up in the Homer area (thanks to low snowfall and the black ash from Redoubt warming the snow much more quickly). Oddly enough, our dismal results are making BucknRut and I fired up about trying it again another time, as we want to see the bears on the beach like they are in most years according to the many people I've talked with.

    Thankfully, my nephew has a great attitude about the whole thing. He was discouraged at points, but after the bear spotting he was all smiles. On the drive home last night he talked my ear off for five hours about what kind of hunt he'd like to try next and inquiring about all the strange hunting rules and regulations that are new to him. I figured the kid would nod off in the first 10 minutes, but he kept jabbering about hunting until we pulled into his driveway at 12:45am.

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...

  2. #2
    Member Noble Killer's Avatar
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    Default Memories made

    Even though you guys came out empty handed, sounds like alot of fun was had. The way you wrote up the story, sounds like the kid was really stoked. Good for you.
    Last edited by Noble Killer; 05-30-2009 at 15:24. Reason: spelling
    -Caleb-

  3. #3

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    Any pics Brian? I bet the campsite was worth seeing, as well as you and the youngster around the fire, on the beach, etc.

    Who knows, maybe this is karma for teasing JMG about never getting a moose or bou...

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdhunter View Post

    Who knows, maybe this is karma for teasing JMG about never getting a moose or bou...
    Hey now, watch it before I ban you!

    Kidding aside, here are some pics.

    Here are our accommodations. I'm usually more of a tent kind of guy, but since this was my nephew's first hunt I wanted to be sure he was warm and dry to begin with. Maybe I was being a bit soft on him, but I know lots of people who hate fishing or hunting because of one miserable wet and cold experience as a kid, so I didn't want that to be his first taste of hunting. It was nice, but I'm thinking that next time around we'll tent it.



    On our first full day we made a climb up the nearby mountainside to see if we could access a nearby bay with a promising looking hillside. The trail petered out along the way, and as you can see, bushwacking wasn't a very attractive option.



    Nice view, though.


  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    We spent our evenings on the beach, and once the wind and rain kicked up a bit, a fire became necessary for our good cheer. We tried to keep it hidden behind a large log. Yeah, it might have knocked our chances for success down a bit, but it was more about having a fun experience.



    I taught the group how to roast buttermilk biscuits over a fire. Good stuff!





    Here we are on the last afternoon of the hunt, still smiling despite our lack of bear sightings.


  6. #6

    Default Awesome

    Great pics Brian! After seeing the big grin on your nephew's face, I can believe that he talked hunting all the way home. This was a hunt he'll remember the rest of his life, it's great that you are taking him out and introducing him to hunting in Alaska.

  7. #7

    Default Memories . . .

    Brian-

    Sounds like a great time was had by all... Well, hopefully for the film crew too!

    The childhood memories, though -- sounds like you really connected on that front!

    Thumbs up to all! Handsome nephew, BTW!

    Doc

  8. #8
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    Default Nice trip

    Your are a good influence and that boy. What a great outing for that youngster. He is lucky to have you as an uncle! I think a bear hunt on foot is a much better way than sitting over bait. Sitting over bait with a rifle is not much of a challenge. Nice post and have a great summer! Now go catch a King salmon with him!

  9. #9
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    Talking

    Six of us went across the Bay to our little honey hole on the 21st. Three in the party were young first time hunters. They all three had at lest one shot each, but could not connect. The other adult hunter got one about 5:00PM. I got my bear the evening of the 22 at about 10:30. The third adult had already shot his bear the week before in the same area. In the three days we were in we say over 20 bears. There was probable more in the area that we could not see as the brush had leaved out a bunch from the week before. We were high and in about 6 miles from the beach. I still have not mastered the art of posting pictures , or I would post one of my bear.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    We were high and in about 6 miles from the beach.
    Yeah, I think that's where we went wrong. Usually the beach is really productive this time of year, but it sounds like up high was the way to go this time around.

    Congrats on the bear!

  11. #11
    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Cool deal Brian, good to spend time with family and friends in the field no matter WHAT!

    P.S. Who's the ugly guy in the brown coat? lol

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDSLDOG View Post
    P.S. Who's the ugly guy in the brown coat? lol
    Him? Oh, that's my personal brewer. He keeps me supplied in the dark suds, so I have to let him out of his hole now and then. It helps with the motivation and inspiration as he crafts my next batch o' brew.

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you guys had a good time Brian. I do love karma. Although it would have been great to see your nephew get a bear. I may go poke around on the Kenai for one next weekend as well.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  14. #14
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well said Brian!

    I didn't take too many pictures, but I have a few that I'd like to share.

    I was thinking back to a comment someone made on here a long time ago. This statement was made, "Those that can, do and those that can't, teach." I rarely take offense to anything, but that just irked me the wrong way at the time and it still does to an extent. I tell you all that if you could have seen the way Brian handled his nephew this week, you would all be floored. We are talking about a classic case of teaching at its best. Granted, we didn't kill any animals, but that's why it is called hunting. I told Brian that I had learned a lot on this trip; what I didn't tell him was that I learned very little about hunting and a huge amount about handling kids and educating people. Sure I do it everyday myself, but this guy took into consideration all of his nephew's thoughts, feelings, strengths and weaknesses and brought out the best in this kid. I think "educating youngsters/new outdoors men/women" would make for an excellent conversation in this forum. Way to go Brian! I will gladly hunt with you any day...though I may not keep up Thanks for a great time!

    First pic is of Brian and his nephew riding in the bow of Dave's boat. I tried to get one of them looking out into the mountains, but too slow to pull the trigger so you have a posed shot. I heard later that Cable was explaining to Brian the differences in terrain how to distinguish valleys and such.

    The second is of "rambo" and crew. I don't care how calm, collective or cute he pretends to be on here...Brian is an ANIMAL!!! Tim asked him once how much weight was in his pack and Brian responded with "...35 pounds" yeah right! I mean, I didn't pick it up, but it sure looked like a lot more than that...his rifle probably weighed 10 pounds alone!
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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default A few more!

    The first was taken while on our day hike in attempt to hunt an adjacent bay, which was closed off by cliffs at waterline. When we finally reached the top where we would continue down to beach, we began questioning the boy's ability to make it back up that day. I was very happy to hear Brian keep positive about getting back up, but I was nervous about it. Sure, he probably would have made it, but he would have been so whooped that it would not have been fun then or the following day. We caught a glimpse of what the beach looked like and it didn't look entirely promising on that side. We had also seen a bay on the opposite side that looked very promising to me. I suggested we hunt that area instead; it would save the boy's legs and I just had a really good feeling about the area. But, I couldn't give up on the area below us yet either. I decided I would continue on while the others went back for a bit of rest before the evening hunt. Brian topped off my water bottle and boiled some water for my Mountain House meal before heading out. I assured them I would check it out and if it looked promising, I'd either hunt it and stay the night or head back and we could make the hike the following morning. I enjoyed lunch and started on my way down. What a misserable hike that was! I could barely make out the trail while busting through devils club and alders. It was less than a game trail, but I pushed on...catching a nice stout devils club right in the buttocks which resulted in me dropping my pants to remove several splinters from the fat of my rump! I washed the blood off my butt and leg and pressed on. Sorry ladies, no pictures of that I don't think I made it halfway down when the trail ran out completely. After hunting around for an exit, I turned back and made my way back to camp.
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  16. #16

    Default Great Shots!

    See -- I had suggested to Tim he have a Doc on staff...in attendance!
    Not that I'm jumping at the opportunity to pull things out of your butt, but...

    Looks like Tim's knee might have been a PITButt, as well. . .hope not!

    Thanks for posting some of your shots, BucknRut!
    Doc

  17. #17
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Last pics

    I had seen more bear sign on the trail down to the adjacent bay. I'm not an experienced bear hunter, so forgive my ignorance...did a big bear make this track? I saw others that averaged the size of my hand. My boot is size 8.5 I think.

    The second picture is of the river valley that we hunted the most. I spotted one bear there shortly after Brian and Cable left for camp. I raced to get them, but we lost site of him before we could put any real stalk on him. It looked like a big bear, but they all look big when they are trotting. I think we may have hesitated on a shot anyway because we would have been hard-pressed to cross that river, but I would have gotten wet to get that little guy a bear!

    I spent most of yesterday at camp. I cleaned a little and relaxed a lot. I was at peace with our efforts and it was a great gift to enjoy on my Birthday!

    BTW...HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN!!!
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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Great job getting the youngster out in the field. My childhood memories of hunting with family are some of my best. Sounds like a good first experience.

    Brett

  19. #19

    Default luck of the draw

    seems like sometimes bear hunting is just luck of the draw. We were in this same area the week before. Lots of campers, kayakers and traffic - but we did see three bears on the beach. 2 of the 3 were late at night and in the fresh grass. It was my wife's first hunt ever - and she is 4 months pregnant. She shot this decent bear the first night we were there at 80 yards lying in prone position which was kind of hard for her. The bear kept standing up and looking at us but seemed pretty cocky. After she dropped him with a shoulder-spine shot we noticed he had cuts all over his paws, half a canine missing with a huge cavity in the tooth and his left ear was shredded into a 3 leaf clover configuration. We called the bear "lucky lefty" - although he did'nt feel so lucky after we got through with him. Anyway - I have hunting this area twice now - and this year the bears were way more spead out and harder to find. I was glad the luck of the draw favored my wife though and she was thrilled to have her first k-beach black bear. Better luck next year to you guys, I am sure the odds will catch up to you if you keep hitting this type of habitat.
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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Him? Oh, that's my personal brewer. He keeps me supplied in the dark suds, so I have to let him out of his hole now and then. It helps with the motivation and inspiration as he crafts my next batch o' brew.
    LOL, No, he's 'my personal brewer!' ..... By the way, that batch of black oil we transfered into another jug, how did it turn out? That stuff scared me! lol!!!!!

    P.S. If you want to go for a hike or hunting let me know, being single is the new way and have more time on my hands. Yea, it happened.......

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