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.