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Thread: Hunt Report - Upper Nushagak 9/18- 9/28

  1. #1

    Default Hunt Report - Upper Nushagak 9/18- 9/28

    Just now have time to post my experiece on the upper Nushagak brown bear hunt. The hunt was a 10 day hunt.

    As we made our way from Koliganek up the Nushagak there was lots of bear sign, tracks everywhere, piles of bear refuse and dead fish remains on the sand bars.

    When we got to camp the weather was cold but clear. Based on the ride up the river my expectations were high that the bears were around.

    The next morning the hunt begain. The temperatures were below freezing. Daylight came later than I thought it would. We left camp late morning for the hills. There were just a few salmon left in the river so the thoughts were that the bears would be up in the hills hitting the blueberrys hard.

    My guide and I made our way up the hills to start glassing. First thing that we noticed was that there were no blueberries on the bushes. What very few that were on the bushes fell apart when touched. The bright red low bush crowberries were there but not in large quantities. With no fish in the rivers and no berries on the hills my worries began.

    We glassed and glassed and glassed and only saw one black bear sow and cub on one hill. They were moving about without a care in the world. This was my next concern as if the brownies were around the black bears would be skiddish. That was all tha was seen on the first day.

    The second day we headed up river to a spot that the earlier moose hunters had shot a 9 foor brown bear on the river. The carcass had been dragged out of the river by something. Again, lots of old bear sign on the river and no bear sign or berries up on the hills. This was starting to really not look good. Each trip on the river became harder as the water level continued to drop and we hit bottom more and more. We were actually starting to pray for rain.

    The temperatures dropped well below freezing which now was affecting the outboard jet motor. The motor pump was frozen up each morning which meant that we had to wait for it to thaw before we could head out. This meant that we were not getting out ontil late morning to start hunting

    We spent two more days hunting the area with no fresh sign. We tried to move further up river where we thought there still might be fish but the river was too shallow for the boat. We only saw 20 minutes of rain in 5 days out. Definitely not what I had expected as I had brought all sorts of rain gear and expected lots of rain.

    The moose were moving around a lot and were calling but still no bears.

    After reassessing the situation my guide decided that we should move the camp down the Nushagak closer to the King Salmon river for hopes of better fresh bear sign and higher water. The water continued to drop and the temperatures stayed below freezing at night. When we got the King Salmon river the water was even lower so the guides opinion was that we should head back down the Nusdhagak to his house and hunt around there so we spent the day heading back down the river. Again, lots of old bear sign along the river but no fresh sign or bears.

    At the guides house it was more of the same. Low water, no rain, no fresh bear sign. We sat and listened to a calf moose calling for its mother, a sure ringing of the dinner bell for a big brownie and nothing appeared.

    At this point it was time to call no joy and that was the end of my hunt.

    It was very dissappointing to make the trip and spend the time and not see any brown bears but I guess that why it is called hunting. Curious as to what others experienced the last two weeks of September. I plan to come back next spring or fall on another brown bear hunt.

  2. #2
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Powerguy, I can sense your disappointment in this post, I have had many hunts similar to this when you go in so high & its just not to be. I hope you enjoyed your time afield & came away with some knowledge to add to your bag of tricks....yes thats why its called hunting


    btw: where did you come from for the hunt? & please share some pics none the less.

  3. #3

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    sent you a pm

  4. #4
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your hunt hope you still managed to enjoy your time in Alaska.

  5. #5

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    Perhaps a quick flight over the area by your guide a day or two before your arrival would have alerted him to the fact that the bears had departed. It also might have given him knowledge of where they went. Calling yourself a bear guide and not being able to see one bear in 10 days is pretty lame. I'm not saying there are any guarantees, but not even a glimpse of a sow and cubs doesn't sound right.

    Glad you got home safe and sound and are still revved to try again in the spring. Perhaps a plane ride by yourself prior to your hunt would be in order?

  6. #6
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i thought about staying outa this but for the sake of sakes...
    you could fly and area all week long and never see a bear, land and see 20 in a day. prescouting for bears in most areas is a mute point.
    being a bear guide and not seeing bears don't mean he's a lame guide. i know guys who fly sight seeing tours to mckinley but sometimes dont' see the mountain, don't mean there a bad guide and can't find it, just that conditions weren't in their favor. Thats the breaks.
    From the post it does sound like the guide did what he could to find an active area,moved around and didn't just keep makin' the guy sit in one location, but as those of us who hunt bears would tell you...a week in a old spot is sometimes better than a few days in many spots...
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
    Master guide 212

  7. #7

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    You could have taken a moose on the last day of your hunt. Not what you went after but still a trophy non-the-less. Unless season was closed in that GMU.
    Sorry your hunt didn't work out !!
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 257wby View Post
    Perhaps a quick flight over the area by your guide a day or two before your arrival would have alerted him to the fact that the bears had departed. It also might have given him knowledge of where they went. Calling yourself a bear guide and not being able to see one bear in 10 days is pretty lame. I'm not saying there are any guarantees, but not even a glimpse of a sow and cubs doesn't sound right.

    Glad you got home safe and sound and are still revved to try again in the spring. Perhaps a plane ride by yourself prior to your hunt would be in order?
    +1 on what Brwnbr said. You do realize that bears move around a lot and cover a lot of territory? What good would a flight 1-2 days before the hunt do for grizzlies that aren't tied to a salmon stream??

    That's why this is the HUNTING forum...we don't get an animal every time out, no matter how hard we try.

  9. #9

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    My opinion is that my guide did the best he could do with the situation at hand. No fish. no berries, no fresh sign, low low water so movement was limited, below freezing temps overnight. As I said we were actually praying for rain.

    The guide got pretty frustrated with the situation and I don't blame him. He had hunted the same area the two weeks before during moose season and saw (and got 2) a bunch of bears and no moose. The moose were moving and calling when I was there which was after the moose season ended. Something dragged a 9' bear carcass out of the river and into the alders so something else BIG was there. I think that if we could have gotten further up river to where there were fish left or found hillsides with some berries that we would have seen bears.

    Had a good time. Spent time hunting and getting to know a neat Alaskan guide. Hope to hunt with him again under better conditions and get a big one.

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