Which would you choose - Kachemak Bay or Denali Highway?

salmtr

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My husband and I have been planning a week long spring bear hunt beginning to mid-May up on the Denali Highway. Our general plan is to take a four wheeler and get off the road then set up camp and hunt from there. My husband has been dreaming about getting a grizz. But if we came across a nice black bear, I'd go for that. We'll just go for one or the other.

So aside from getting in shape, shooting and gathering gear - I've been reading a ton here on the forum, attended several bear hunting seminars at the Sportsman's show as well as Joe Wants day long seminar last year and just finished Tony Russ's - Bear Hunting in Alaska. All good stuff and I'm really looking forward to going.

Here's the thing - somehow I recently got a bug in my head about hunting blackies down in Kachemak Bay area. Take a ferry across, maybe rent a yurt and go from there... Is it too late to switch gears or should we stick with our original plan? Both sound fun to me.

I realize these are two completely different places, both being places we haven't been to yet and would love to go. Any thoughts from those of you who have done a spring hunt in either or both locations?
 

AKDoug

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I think your success will be better going to Kbay in that time frame. Often in mid-May you can't get anywhere on the ATV trails off the Denali due to snow pack and mud. Too late for snowmachines, too early for ATV's. Bear concentrations in KBay are far better than the Denali also.
 

Brian M

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Could you potentially pull off both? You could likely find success on black bears on K Bay within 3 days, then you could drive north and have 3 days to explore the Denali Highway. As Doug noted, your odds of success are likely higher targeting blacks out of Homer, but there's something to be said about the adventure of a grizzly hunt.

If you do the K Bay option, contact homerdave through the forums here. He runs a water taxi and keeps a pretty good pulse on how things are shaking out with regards to snow, bear activity, etc.
 

Old John

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Could you potentially pull off both? You could likely find success on black bears on K Bay within 3 days, then you could drive north and have 3 days to explore the Denali Highway. As Doug noted, your odds of success are likely higher targeting blacks out of Homer, but there's something to be said about the adventure of a grizzly hunt.

If you do the K Bay option, contact homerdave through the forums here. He runs a water taxi and keeps a pretty good pulse on how things are shaking out with regards to snow, bear activity, etc.

+ what he said
 

Bullelkklr

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Trying to keep in tune with the thread - how much public land is there to hunt in K-bay? I thought that most of it was native land - but I have not done any research yet.
 

homerdave

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the entire south side of the bay from tutka to mallard bay is state park, with a few exceptions around halibut cove and other scattered inholdings.
the state park is open to all hunting, no wheelers.
 

Maverick940

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I've spent a considerable time throughout both regions (Kachemak Bay and along the south slope of the Alaska Range). If you're wanting tio kill a black bear, you'll have difficult time finding them in the corridor along the Denali Highway. However, if you're wanting a grizzly, I can highly recommend going in from the west end during the second or third week of May. My clients have killed numerous brown/grizzly bear in that area during early May and we never had any issues with a lingering snowpack and/or mud while hunting on foot. If you have a hankering for black bear and if you're planning on using the ferry to cross the bay, I can recommend the area between China Poot Lake and Grewink Glacier.
 

.338 mag.

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Lets say after a few days you have finally found a bear you want to shoot and you and your husband are now 40 yards away from it and it is trigger time. Which one makes your heart pump the fastest, that's the one you should go hunt. They will both look great on your wall!
 

salmtr

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Lets say after a few days you have finally found a bear you want to shoot and you and your husband are now 40 yards away from it and it is trigger time. Which one makes your heart pump the fastest, that's the one you should go hunt. They will both look great on your wall!

Haha! That's a good way to look at it. Man, either one would be heart pumping, but having an opportunity at a grizzly would be something else. My husband said, I get to make the call on whether we head north or south. I don't think we'll try for both this time as I'd rather spend the time in the woods/mountains than driving back and forth.

The only thing I'm wondering about now is taking a four wheeler in off the Denali Highway...I guess we'll just keep an ear out for reports on the weather and snow conditions up there. Otherwise, if we end up going the K-bay route, I think we'll skip the yurt and hike in and camp instead. Either way, I'm just looking forward to spending a week out in the woods. Thanks for all your input guys. I really appreciate it.
 

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