July 22, 2024

2021 Season Report

Our 2021 season actually started with a spring brown bear hunt, as the regular 2020 spring brown bear season was cancelled by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game due to the pandemic and after much effort, we as an industry, were able to get that season moved to the spring of 2021.

Our 2021 spring season was excellent with all four of our hunters shooting nice brown bear, though one was wounded by the hunter (it was a 125 yard shot but apparently he shot too high and hit it high in the back and after a day of searching they found no evidence of the bear, which is not surprising since bears leave virtually no blood trail, nor was it recovered), which is very disappointing for all of us.  One of our hunters elected to shoot a bear slightly smaller than I prefer, it was about 9 ½’, because he really liked the coloration of that particular boar and even though he saw bigger bears he wanted that particular bear.  Our other two hunters shot bears well over 10 feet with skulls measuring 27 10/16” and 28 3/16” and many other big bears were spotted so the prospects for the upcoming fall season are great!

From the spring bear season we moved in August to our Trophy Dall Sheep camps.  Dall Sheep hunting is always difficult and challenging but this past August, despite the challenges, of the 6 sheep hunters that stayed in the field hunting for the duration of their sheep hunts, 5 had shots at nice rams and 4 trophy rams were harvested; the hunter who missed his shot at a nice ram will be coming back to join us again during the 2022 season to have another opportunity at a nice ram. A party of two of our sheep hunters chose to leave the field early, for personal reasons, with still a week left in their hunt, which was unfortunate and disappointing. In addition to the 4 nice rams harvested, two Caribou were also taken and two other Caribou were missed shots.

October found us back in my Exclusive Guide-Use Area on the southern Alaska Peninsula for our fall Brown Bear season.  Occasionally Mother Nature simply wins and that was most definitely the case this past October during our fall Brown Bear season!  Despite our best efforts she thoroughly trounced us with repeated storms, one after the other, with little to no respite between them to allow us to realistically hunt very much.

We were delayed six days getting into the field this fall due to our guns and luggage both not arriving with us when we flew down to Cold Bay on October 6th and even when it all finally arrived, we were delayed another few days due to another storm moving through the area so we did not arrive into the field until October 12th.

Once in the field, the relentless storms continued to batter us for the remainder of the season with some wind speeds exceeding 80 mph! During my 10 days in the field during the open season this fall, my hunter and I only had really one and a half good days of hunting, though we did venture out in some much less than ideal conditions, including 40 to 50 mph winds, to stave off “tent fever” (aka cabin fever).

During the season I saw over 25 bears but the largest was approximately 9 ½’ and as we try to concentrate, whenever possible, on harvesting bears in the 10’ and larger class we opted to pass on that bear. I know we have 10’+ bears in my area, as our past harvest history clearly and amply demonstrates, but I didn’t see any during the brief periods my hunter and I were able to venture afield and actually hunt. I am extremely confident that had the weather allowed us to hunt even a fraction of the normal 15 days of the season, instead of the one and a half good days, and three or four other “marginal” hunting days, that we hunted then we would have seen some of the larger boars that inhabit this area.

Two of our four hunters were feeling somewhat poorly just before we finally left King Cove for the field and, ultimately, they ended up choosing to leave the field early, before the end of their hunts, and ended up testing positive for Covid-19 upon their early return from the field to King Cove. Neither any of the other guides or hunters nor I tested positive for Covid but it’s really unfortunate that two of my hunters had their hunts so directly impacted by the virus.  Though every hunter saw multiple bears none were harvested this fall season and from what I have heard thus far from, and about, other bear guides and outfitters on the Alaska Peninsula, they too all experienced an epically poor fall hunt as well due to the extremely poor weather the whole region experienced.

My guides and I are already anxious to return this coming spring (our next opportunity to hunt in my exclusive guide-use area) and in October of 2023 and, weather permitting, to having more of an opportunity to pursue the big bears with our hunters than Mother Nature afforded us this fall.