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Thread: Bears on Kodiak Island....

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    New member Shortmag1's Avatar
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    Default Bears on Kodiak Island....

    Hi all.. I'm new to the site, and am very impressed with the site and knowledge I've gained by reading different threads. I have a trip planned to Kodiak Island during November 2007. This will be my first Alaska hunt, but I am going with other seasoned Alaska hunters. I just want to know what to expect from the bears on Kodiak. We'll be hunting Sitka Blacktail during a 10 day trip. I just wanted to know how aggressive are these bears? I've seen video's and read articles, but wanted to know from people who've hunted the island. I figure the rest of you are the best outlet of knowledge. Thanks for any information.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    for the vast majority their as freaked out of you as you are of them in the dark! keep your meat away from camp, your hands and tents clean and the odds of you having troulbe are very very slim. you'll probably see bears, don't shoot a deer and eat lunch by it or take a couple hours to tell the story to your buddy. butcher it and leave. don't waste meat in a hurry, just be prompt about it. sometimes bears will get wind of that blood in a hurry and be there. deer are almost a treat for them after all that fish. they don't run to gunshots though...
    you'll be fine, hunt smart, don't camp by the stream with the big flat trails by it...lol
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    Unless there's meat directly involved, you probably won't see 99 out of 100 bears. They are simply going to stay out of your way, though you will see tracks. #100 is out there, but less a factor than most people believe. On the hunt watch your buddies on neighboring mountainsides and you'll see bears getting out of their way long before they even know a bear is around.

    Back to #100. While the deer like all those thick alders, so do the bears. It's kinda contradictory to sneek for deer and make noise for bears. I hunt the alders for deer, but back out when I find freshe bear sign. Better bet is to find a comfortable spot overlooking the alders and wait for the deer to pop out. Lots and lots of open country, so it's possible to get your deer while avoiding the alders entirely- except in windy weather when all the deer seek out alders

    Meat, whether at your feet, on your back or hanging from a bush is a different matter. Do everything you can to keep meat, blood and smells away from camp. Even a "good" bear is going to think you are a second class citizen if there's meat in question.

    Even though you can take more than one deer, don't shoot more than one at any one time, then do as BRWNBR says about managing the meat in the field. Killing two deer and leaving one in the field for later retrieval is the surest formula for getting into trouble with a bear.

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    Default Kodiak bears

    If possible, I like hunting the ridges on Kodiak for a couple reasons. #1 is it keeps you away from the salmon streams the bears like to hang out by in the summer and early fall. #2 is it usually gives you the best field of view so you can be aware of what's around you. #3 It's usually the easiest traveling.

    Besides salmon streams, other things to avoid are the thick alder patches that BrownBear mentioned, big patches of tall grass (it can be over your head), and be very aware if you are around big berry patches. (salmonberry and blueberry, the blueberries are mostly in the spruce timber)

    After the salmon are gone, the bears will be roaming around more looking for that last bit of food to top them off for a sleep. That includes gutpiles and leftover deer parts from guys boning out their deer, wounded deer, and dead deer that weren't found by hunters. It also includes the deer you get, but haven't transported out of the area. I'll leave the dinner bell theory of bears coming to a shot alone, but all those deer shot by guys who were there ahead of you will have bears attracted to the area just by smell alone if nothing else. So I'd avoid areas where there is a lot of hunter traffic. In other words, if a transporter has a favorite spot to drop people, I'd avoid it because in all likelyhood, the people ahead of you probably drew some bears in with their activity and those bears are looking for easy meals.

    If you do spot a bear, don't freak out. Try to figure out what he's doing and if he's heading somewhere and go the opposite direction. There usually won't be many deer in an area of bear activity as the deer like to avoid them too.

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    New member Shortmag1's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak Bears

    Thanks for the advice... we will be hunting by day, but staying on a boat at night, so we don't need to worry about bears in camp. I'll keep in mind to be prompt with field dressing and getting the carcass out of that area. From what I heard, for the most part they leave you alone and do their own things. I'm also under the assumption that by November, most of the bears have denned up for the winter. Is that ussumption true? I'm not so much scared of having an encounter with a bear, but would like to know what to expect, like if I'm going to encounter them throughout the entire trip, or if I might see a couple. I know there's no sure answer, but your experiences are probably the best to judge from.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    bear season don't even open til oct 25th so alot of bear hunters are in the field during november, dont' figure any of them will be denned by then, late nov and december they'll start and some will stay out all winter, but most den. where i do my deer hunts i've been seeing about 10 a week, give or take in the first half of november.
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    Not sure what caliber rifle your planning on taking into the field? but over on kodiak its a real good idea to carry something thats along the lines of .300 Cal. Its definitely over kill for blacktail, Like a couple of the pevious post have mentioned the bears want to avoid you as well, But if you stumble accross one on fresh kill site or by chance end up between a sow & a couple cubs, Things could get real hairy in a real hury! Personally i pack the .300win.mag. 180 grain & the trusty .44mag. 240 grain on the hip, (Stay away from the hollow point's) just try & not become another statistic. Good luck on your hunt!

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    Default denning

    As BRWNBR pointed out, don't count on the bears being denned up in Nov. I spent two winters in a tent on Afognak and it was mid to late Dec. before we'd stop seeing fresh tracks down low. Even after a good snow you'd see fresh tracks once in a while. Seems like it was about late march or early April when we'd notice a surge in bear activity again, but you never know.

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    I hunted for deer on Kodiak in November 2 years ago and was worried about the bears but never even saw one. Actually I was a little disapointed. The advice we got from a few locals was if you were close enough to the beach just drag the bear down to the shore and gut the deer there and load it on the skiff. The 1 time we did do this it was the end of the day so we took it back to camp and didn't just let it in the skiff for the rest of the day. Of course you may be far away from the shore and need to do your quartering/butchering where the deer falls. We just dragged the deer to an opening that gave good visibility and did the butchering there, loaded up all the meat, and got out of there. We also put up flagging tape to mark the area we and other hunters would know there was a gut pile near by.
    Have a good hunt!

  10. #10

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    Check out this link about some guys that had a nigtmare of a deer hunting trip to Kodiak this past Oct and bears was the root cause.

    http://www.pristineventures.com/cgi/...ht=kodiak#num0

  11. #11

    Default pack that deer

    I've talked to a lot of folks that got into trouble trolling for bears(dragging deer down the mountain). My best advice is to hunt with a partner and quarter that deer up and put it in a pack and start hiking down the mountain. Once that deer is in your pack bears seem a whole lot disinterested.

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    Default Not quite

    Quote Originally Posted by goat guy View Post
    I've talked to a lot of folks that got into trouble trolling for bears(dragging deer down the mountain). My best advice is to hunt with a partner and quarter that deer up and put it in a pack and start hiking down the mountain. Once that deer is in your pack bears seem a whole lot disinterested.
    Goat guy, that's not neccesarily true. I have a friend from my living in Kodiak days who was deer hunting with her boyfriend. They were packing out a deer in packs and a bear came out of the brush and grabbed her by the shoulder and threw her down. By the time her boyfriend had reacted and threw down on the bear, it released her and took off back into the brush like it realised it had made a mistake. She ended up with a couple scars on her shoulder that looked like an oversized dog bite, but her pack did protect her back to some degree. I've heard of similar stories from people packing meat in packs.

    One thing to remember, with a pack, you're pretty well strapped in and slowed down in your evasive tactics, but if you're dragging, you can just let go and you're free. Not to discourage anyone from using a pack, just pointing out the obvious.

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    I've hunted deer on Kodiak 4 different times. Once in October and 3 times in November. On all the November hunts, I still have not seen a Kodiak Brown Bear. However others in the same camp have seen bears while hunting deer. The October hunt was a different story, between me and my buddy we saw 25 different bears. All of the bears seen on the October hunt seemed to be searching for food before the approaching winter. I would not be too worried about bears while out deer hunting in November however you never know and should take the necessary precautions like those above suggested.

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    I've hunted deer on Kodiak 4 different times. Once in October and 3 times in November. On all the November hunts, I still have not seen a Kodiak Brown Bear. However others in the same camp have seen bears while hunting deer. The October hunt was a different story, between me and my buddy we saw 25 different bears. All of the bears seen on the October hunt seemed to be searching for food before the approaching winter. I would not be too worried about bears while out deer hunting in November however you never know and should take the necessary precautions like those above suggested.
    Last edited by Lapaiki39; 02-16-2007 at 17:42. Reason: I inadvertently clicked it twice

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