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Solo Grizzly. Your Plan of Attack?

grizzly brown bear alaska

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#1 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:56 AM

(edit: ok, I just realized, in AK, non-residents can't go k.o. a Griz without a guide but still, whether griz or black, the question stands).

 

I'm newer to hunting than probably 99% of you.  But, I'll probably say it many times, I've got this uncanny ability to learn fast and sometimes I purposely push myself into situations just to learn by "trial by fire."  I also realize that no matter how fast I learn, there's some things that take a minimal amount of time to learn but I just have to ask this question anyways.

 

If you were going on a solo grizzly (or black bear) hunt in Alaska, how would you prepare?  And what else would you do?

 

Here's why I'm asking....

 

After 2 weeks in Oregon, I arrived in Alaska for 3 weeks of unscheduled exploring. It was supposed to lead to meeting with friends for 2 weeks of sockeye salmon fishing and 3-4 days of black bear over bait (with a different friend).  It would be over bait and he'd been setting 'em up for 10 years; but, first he screwed up on the baiting season deadline (wtf) and then, after he agreed to a spot and stalk (would be his first, too), he gets a job and can't go at all.

 

Niiiice, huh?

 

So, I know the guy whose cabin area we were going to be near and start explaining the situation.  He tells me he's going up for the 4th of July (a week earlier) and I'm welcome to join him and his family but, since it's family time, he can't join me on the hunt.  He tells me it's 150 N of Anchorage, another 18 miles by standard off-road vehicle (jeep, etc), then another 7 miles by ATV.... then 2 more down semi overgrown logging roads for me.  He offered to lend me a .308 winmag which I have no experience firing.  In fact, I didn't even have my permit yet... I was not a firearms guy at the time.

 

Ok... so I haven't even reached the salmon fishing yet set for July 14th and I'm sitting in my hostel going kinda crazy because I want so badly to just throw myself out there into this crazy, rare opportunity but I also know that it's a pretty serious thing and that there's a very fine line between brave and stupid (Im still not sure I know what it is but Im pretty sure it has to do with having or not having a noble cause).  One of the buddies coming up later to fish with me told me over the phone that I should just do it.. .and that I'd come out even "more of a man" than I ever imagined.

 

Strangely enough, I understood him.  I've been changed a number of times by throwing myself into other high intensity situations; so, I could understand that, bear or no bear, it'd still leave me changed just to even be out there in the wild with bears and wolves... especially on my own.

 

I swear it was like the angel over one shoulder, the devil over another, and I couldn't tell which was which.  Was I supposed to go as another wild rite of passage, just trusting in what I'd learned and my higher power, and just diving in?  Or should I be more respectful of an unforgiving environment that has claimed many an unwary life?  Friend who owned the cabin wasn't concerned at all because he'd been out there walking around with his rifle most of his life and had dispatched a number of bears.  But, even though he wasn't worried for me, he could see that my being inexperienced and diving into a most demanding environment could have some unpleasant consequences.

 

Before I could make my decision, I got a text message...  it was my mother...

 

"I need you to come home and get my dog."

 

I still break up a little when I recall that message coming in.  It was the last text she'd ever send me.  Not even a week prior, she was sitting on my sister's porch, eating a hot dog and braiding her hair.  But the pain she'd had in her side for the few weeks prior, turns out it wasn't a hiatal hernia after all... it was gall bladder cancer that spread to her liver and she'd be dead within a few days.

 

Didn't go salmon fishing.  Didn't go bear hunting.  Didn't care one bit.  Just wanted to get home and take her to hospice and hold her hand.  I've been the one in my family who's pretty good at making people comfortable and feel better whenever there's a crisis and I just wanted to get back because I know she wanted me back.  I felt like I was racing against time and I was trapped in a plane.

 

Anyways, I don't mean to go off on a tangent but that's how my trip came to a halt.  And, being on the edge of that hunt, there's no way in heck I can not pick up where I left off at some point down the road.  In fact, my friend from here just bought a boat off an acquaintance in AK and another friend who owns a marina is having an engine shipped up so that after 2 weeks of sockeye and halibut, we can run up the river and take some silvers while hunting blackies off the boat.

 

But I am so gonna throw myself out into that Predator Control Zone again at some point.  And I'm a "go light and wing it kinda guy" so now we get to the point of all this... if you were doing a solo bear hunt, let's just say a 1-day spot n stalk or even a couple days but with a return to a cabin each night, would your preparation be a huge affair of packing all sorts of stuff and so on, or would you go as light as possible with bow, protection, 2-way radios, knife, meat bags, hide bag, rope, atv to cart it out, muck boots, mosquito head gear, etc.

 

Is the prep part easy or is it complex... not talking about the stalk... but everything meant to get you in there, through the hunt and out.  I was intending to go in practically naked (not literally) with just the kind of stuff listed above, maybe even less.

 

Sorry so long, thanks for reading,

Beefcake


================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:


#2 hassell

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:02 AM

Without a guide I'd be hiking in and doing a couple overnighters, if the fish are running a person would want to stay high as the buck brush could cause a few surprises, spot and stalk is the only way I hunt.



#3 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:00 AM

Your mom probably saved your life. (Sorry for your loss) I would do as much research as possible before getting yourself into a life or death situation with a Griz. I am no expert, but a .308 is not enough gun IMO. JMO...

#4 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:39 PM

Without a guide I'd be hiking in and doing a couple overnighters, if the fish are running a person would want to stay high as the buck brush could cause a few surprises, spot and stalk is the only way I hunt.

I envy you! I look forward to the day when im up on a ridge glassing for bears. Sounds like good advice on avoiding the brush. Thanks.

Your mom probably saved your life. (Sorry for your loss) I would do as much research as possible before getting yourself into a life or death situation with a Griz. I am no expert, but a .308 is not enough gun IMO. JMO...

you know i agree on all points... I actually thought having to return to my mom was someone or something looking out for me. And If I had gone out, I would've never made it back to her in time.

Agree on the gun point. I kept insisting it probably wouldn't be enough but he and others kept telling me it was the firearm the fish and wildlife guys carry. Really? I wanted a s&w .50 w a chest holster. Im thinking ive got one shot and if a griz is out of the brush and on my back before I know it, its just my opinion id be better off w a gun on my front than on my back. Am I onto something here?

As for research, damn, that's 95% of what i do. Can't say I know everything but Ive got a healthy respect for them. I was told since it was salmon run time, id be hard pressed to even find one. I replied, "wait a sec, last I checked there's 30k griz and 130k black in AK. Andv you're telling me they're all down at the river? And when I went into Denali, I learned the difference been coastal bears (bigger) and inland bears. Im not looking for a trophy. Won't some of the more inland bears move into some of the space of the bears that are roaming the rivers?"

I was told space-wise, it sounds good, but bears go where the food is, not just where the space is...

That hunt just wasnt meant to be.

================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:


#5 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:30 AM

brownbear_range_zpsa436cb17.jpg

#6 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:22 AM

My choice would be this one a Marlin Model 1985 S.S. 45-70 W/ Ghost Ring Sights, High Vis front sight and a Scout Scope. zoom_1895sbl_zps01982448.jpg

#7 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:44 AM

And a .454 Casull... if you can shoot them well. A .308 would work if you have time to shoot.

#8 hassell

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:58 PM

Last Sat. I went out to get together with my farmer friend, as I didn't see him around I then drove to the N end of his land  where I yote hunt quite a bit, parked by the big hayshed where I usually park and walked around it looking for tracks as he had just taken the corn off, there was a fresh Griz. track from sometime during the night, as all I had was my bino's it did make me a bit cautious.



#9 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:23 PM

Last Sat. I went out to get together with my farmer friend, as I didn't see him around I then drove to the N end of his land where I yote hunt quite a bit, parked by the big hayshed where I usually park and walked around it looking for tracks as he had just taken the corn off, there was a fresh Griz. track from sometime during the night, as all I had was my bino's it did make me a bit cautious.

I don't know how anyone can live in griz country without protection at all times. Aren't we supposed to be the smarter species? Why do people put the odds in the bear's favor when we have so much technology to put it in ours?

Pepper spray, blow away;
Bullet, live another day.

Yes I just made that up.

================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:


#10 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:51 AM

Sorry, that was a Marlin Model 1885...I am a bit under the weather.

#11 hassell

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:56 AM

 They are just fattening up for winter, last year in the same spot there was a sow with cubs, I held off from going in an hour or two early in the dark, they eventually moved on as it was into Nov., there is cattle grazing nearby so if they were a problem there would be missing cows, there is nothing to be scared about, they will avoid human contact.



#12 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:02 AM

They are just fattening up for winter, last year in the same spot there was a sow with cubs, I held off from going in an hour or two early in the dark, they eventually moved on as it was into Nov., there is cattle grazing nearby so if they were a problem there would be missing cows, there is nothing to be scared about, they will avoid human contact.

So why would you hold off an hour or so? if there is nothng to worry about?

#13 hassell

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:21 AM

So why would you hold off an hour or so? if there is nothng to worry about?

 

 Sow and cubs, just to avoid a confrontation till I checked the area out, still hunted there , moved over to where they hadn't been.



#14 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:36 PM

Sow and cubs, just to avoid a confrontation till I checked the area out, still hunted there , moved over to where they hadn't been.

how do you move over to where they haven't been without having to go 20 miles?

================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:


#15 hassell

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:10 PM

how do you move over to where they haven't been without having to go 20 miles?

 

  They were feeding in a corn field, 150 yds N of that is a wildlife refuge and WNW of that area is the mountain range where they winter, I went E of the area where the main river is, river - dyke - fields - so its pretty tough for them to get by without seeing them first.



#16 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:15 PM

They were feeding in a corn field, 150 yds N of that is a wildlife refuge and WNW of that area is the mountain range where they winter, I went E of the area where the main river is, river - dyke - fields - so its pretty tough for them to get by without seeing them first.

gotcha. Thanks for the visual layout.

================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:


#17 knapper

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:37 PM

Plan your hunt for what you will need and may need just to survive out in the field.  Finding and killing a bear will be the high point of the hunt but planning is also part of the fun and anticipation that comes with any hunt.  I have hunted black bear for many year and have only gotten three due to that fact that I spot and stalk.  My favorite place has been snowed in for the last five years to the end of the season but, that is my favroite spot to hunt.  I will hunt other areas and have alternative plans in case of some unforeseeable change of events does not let me get there.  I always carry survival gear even on a day hike as well as lots of ammo.  I have run low in the past and been glad I had it.  I consider the bear the hardest animal to hunt up here due to the locations and there nature.  The most important thing to get ready for a hunt is to practice with what ever you will be carrying shoot the bear with.  I have taken them with 45/70 and 260 rem. and both do there job if you do yours.  Learn the area you are hunting and how to best situate yourself for the encounter.  For some real fun try calling them in and wait for them to come, only after you have see fresh sign and think they are close.  I would take one with a rifle first and then try a bow.  I hope that provides some insite for you.



#18 The Royal Beefcake

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:53 PM

Plan your hunt for what you will need and may need just to survive out in the field. Finding and killing a bear will be the high point of the hunt but planning is also part of the fun and anticipation that comes with any hunt. I have hunted black bear for many year and have only gotten three due to that fact that I spot and stalk. My favorite place has been snowed in for the last five years to the end of the season but, that is my favroite spot to hunt. I will hunt other areas and have alternative plans in case of some unforeseeable change of events does not let me get there. I always carry survival gear even on a day hike as well as lots of ammo. I have run low in the past and been glad I had it. I consider the bear the hardest animal to hunt up here due to the locations and there nature. The most important thing to get ready for a hunt is to practice with what ever you will be carrying shoot the bear with. I have taken them with 45/70 and 260 rem. and both do there job if you do yours. Learn the area you are hunting and how to best situate yourself for the encounter. For some real fun try calling them in and wait for them to come, only after you have see fresh sign and think they are close. I would take one with a rifle first and then try a bow. I hope that provides some insite for you.

sure does, thank you. Im a good luck charm. Ill be back next july/aug. Set you're calendar. :D

================================

 

So I patiently go through a 5 month exchange of emails with the head ecologist of a group that is entrusted with 112 properties, hoping for a sweet hunting spot on a large farm or orchard.  He asks me if I want to hunt (name withheld).  Not knowing what it is, I say, "Heck yeah!", just grateful to get anything.  Turns out it's a 135ft high glacial deposit surrounded by a swamp that's notoriously known for gay cruising. 

 

I expect my trail cams will be picking up more than just deer. :smiley-butt-whoopin:






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