May 26, 2018

2013 Season Report

The weather during the 2013 fall season was, fortunately, much improved over the generally poor weather we experienced during the 2012 season. With that better weather our hunters were able, for the most part, to spend more time in the field actually hunting and thus were able to harvest some beautiful trophies this year.

During our Trophy Dall Sheep season in August, 7 of our 11 hunters harvested great rams! A number of those rams were green scored between 155 and 156 and the averaged length of the rams that retained their lamb tips was approximately 37”. Of our four hunters that did not harvest rams with us this year, one of them was 72 years old and having already completed his grand slam previously his primary goal on this trip was to once again see the Brooks Range a final time and after four days of hard hunting he realized that the mountains had certainly not gotten any shorter or less steep with his more advanced age. Another hunter was not able to connect on a ram but was able to harvest a beautiful Arctic Grizzly and Wolf and is hoping to join us again on another hunt in 2014 or 2015. Our third hunter saw many rams that were “close” but none that were quite what he was looking for and our final unsuccessful hunter passed on a legal, 8 year old ram near the beginning of his hunt, hoping to find a slightly older ram, which did not come to fruition but he has already booked another hunt for the same area with us in 2015.

During September the weather continued to be more conducive to better hunting than the year before and two of our three moose hunters harvested nice bull moose and many other legal bulls were spotted. Our one unsuccessful moose hunter passed on a mediocre bull or two early in the hunt and was not able to find the type of bull he was hoping for but the prospects for the 2014 season are looking great as there were many bulls in the low to mid-50” range that were seen that should be fantastic bulls in 2014 and/or 2015!

The better weather we experienced this fall faltered a bit by the time we arrived on the Alaska Peninsula for our Trophy Brown Bear hunts. Never before have we seen the winds blow so consistently out of a southerly direction. While it is generally always windy on the Alaska Peninsula, typically it blows from one direction for a few days and then swings around to blow from another direction for a few days but that was not the case this year. In 16 days of hunting it blew consistently from southerly directions all but about two of those days. This made hunting more of a challenge in that the wind direction was often not conducive to hunting many particular locations that we normally like to hunt as the wind was blowing at our collective backs and thus any bears downwind of us would be alerted of our presence well before we could see them. As such, we often opted to either hunt in a direction or area in which we did have the wind in our favor or we would simply stay in our respective camps in the hopes that the wind direction would change. Our motto is to “Hunt Smart” and sometimes that means just staying in camp to wait for better conditions, however frustrating that can be.

We had a total of four hunters in the field this fall and despite the challenging conditions all four hunters saw true trophy class brown bear in the 10’+ range. Of those four hunters one, Mr. Warren Strickland, harvested an incredible 10’ 7” bear with his bow! It was his third hunt with us, and his seventh brown bear hunt in total, but his time, patience and dedication to only harvesting a true trophy class brown bear were rewarded with a 21 yard shot and a single arrow brought down his enormous trophy brown bear, which traveled a mere 42 yards before expiring 14 seconds later!

One of our rifle hunters had an estimated 10’ bear walk by the camp he was in, within about 125 yards of their tents, but he unfortunately was not able to get ready and prepare himself for a rifle shot quickly enough and when at last he was prepared to shoot the big boar was approximately 350 yards away (too far for a safe and ethical shot) and traveling further away from him. Our second rifle hunter was particularly plagued by poor wind conditions in the camp he was in and he and his guide were more often than not unable to hunt their primary bear hunting area because the wind direction was so unfavorable. Nonetheless, they did spot a very large bear, estimated at 10’+, on two separate occasions, but like so many of the bigger bears it was very nocturnal and as such they were not able to make stalks on it as there was so little daylight remaining in the day by the time the bear emerged and showed itself in the late evenings. Our second bow hunter was able to shoot two arrows at an estimated 9’6” brown bear, the first at 20 yards and again at 45 yards, but most unfortunately it appeared as though neither was a mortal hit. He and his guide spent four and a half days combing the entire area they suspected the bear may have traveled in but were unable to locate the bear again. Though it is not required by law in Game Management Unit 9, we advise our hunters that once they have hit a bear with a projectile then they are no longer allowed to continue hunting additional bears and as such he spent the reminder of his time looking for any evidence of the bear he attempted to harvest but unfortunately to no avail. All three of our unsuccessful hunters could have most easily harvested smaller bears, in the 8’ to 9’ range, over the course of their hunts but all understood and know that our resource management goals, and their expectations, were to only harvest a true trophy class bear so we do not even pursue a bear of a smaller, younger class as we focus on the bigger, older trophy class bears and to date, overall, that has served our hunters very well and our average still remains well over the 10’ mark on the bears our hunters have harvested! A cyclone at the very end of the season did delay our return from the field but all hunters made it back to their respective homes safely, albeit a few days behind schedule.

The 2014 season will be here shortly, starting with the Spring Brown Bear season in May and we are anxiously looking forward to being in the field again with our hunters and to helping to create many more wonderful memories and to helping to make more dreams come true with fantastic animals.