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Dan in Alaska
10-11-2006, 14:41
I finally figured out how to post pictures on GlockTalk. Thanks to everyone that offered pointers.

In May this year, my uncle and two of his friends came up from Minnesota to hunt black bears in Prince William Sound. The weather was absolutely beautiful for every single day of their ten-day visit. We had clear skies, warm sunshine, and flat-calm seas. Prince William Sound has got to be one of the prettiest places on earth.

Here is a view from the boat:
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k319/Dan-in-Alaska/ViewfromBoat.jpg



Here's another scenery shot:
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k319/Dan-in-Alaska/View2.jpg


The boat we hunted from is a brand new ACB. Our charter took delivery in January, and we were the first group to hunt from her. She's 30 feet long, with a 10-foot beam. The custom seating easily accommodated all of us. The twin Suzuki 250's were more than adequate to move her along nicely, and yet they were barely noticeable when we were idling around glassing for bears. We didn't have rough seas, but this boat rode as nice as any I've been on. It was very stable, even with five guys continually moving around. We were all very comfortable and happy with our charter boat. Here she is:
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k319/Dan-in-Alaska/Boat.jpg


During our five-day hunt, we saw over 30 bears - not including cubs; we saw several of them as well. Our party of four hunters shot three bears. The only person to not shoot a bear, was Greg. He is an avid bear hunter in his home state of Minnesota, and he has shot several black bears. He had several opportunities to shoot a bear, but he passed them up to wait for Godzilla. We never saw a true trophy quality bear, but he wasn't upset in the least. Greg had an outstanding time, just like the rest of us.

I shot my bear on the third day. We spotted it eating grass on one of the sunny beaches. The boat driver positioned the boat so that there was a small island between us and the bear. I used a small inflatable raft to paddle to the rocky shore of the island. Once on shore, I loaded the rifle and slowly crept around the side of the island until I could see the bear. The bear was still on the beach and right where we last spotted it. There was a fair amount of brush sticking out around the rocks, so I threaded my rifle barrel through the brush for a clean shot. At a distance of 100-125 yards, I placed two, off-hand shots right where they needed to be. One shot took out both lungs, and the other creased the top of the heart. The bear made it 15 feet before piling up dead. I was very happy with the outcome.

I will remember this hunt for a very long time, because it marks many "firsts" for me. This is the first bear I have ever shot. It's also the first Alaskan big game animal I have taken, and it's the first game animal I have killed with my .338-06. I had the rifle built in 1998, but have never had the opportunity to shoot anything except paper targets with it. It's finally drawn blood!

My bear was certainly not huge, only about 5-feet, but the experience of the hunt means far more to me than the size of the animal. I did everything exactly the way I hoped I could. I spotted it, made the stalk, and placed two very accurate shots. What else could I hope for?

Here' my bear:
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k319/Dan-in-Alaska/DansBear.jpg


After the hunt, we went to Ninilchik, AK to do some salmon and halibut fishing. We caught a bunch of halibut, the largest being about 40-pounds. We wore ourselves out catching halibut, and then we headed in to troll for king slamon. After already catching the largest halibut, my uncle bested us once again by catching the only king, which was also about 40-pounds. In all, I don't think I can imagine a more perfect week. What a great time!
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k319/Dan-in-Alaska/IMG_1933.jpg

noway
10-11-2006, 16:01
Once again good story and photos ;)



Would you care to say how much a guide hunt like that would cost for 3-5days?

Dan in Alaska
10-11-2006, 16:22
Alaska has very specific rules about "hunting guides" and there are a couple of different kinds. Non-residents are required to have fully licensed guides with them when hunting brown bear, sheep, goats, and when you are hunting in some remote areas. Many of these guides charge $10,000 to $20,000 a week, depending on what your hunting. My neighbor used to guide. The outfitter he worked for charged $15,000 a week to hunt brown bear and moose. This does not include the license(s).

For black bears, you don't need a "guide" as a non-resident. Instead, we used a USCG licensed charter that has a transport license. With a tranport license, he can transport you to the field or hunting areas, but can't help with the hunt itself. This is a much cheaper way to go, and many outfitters also offer "drop-off" hunts at a much lower price. The neighbor's outfitter charges $3500 for a fly-in, drop-off hunt.

We could have gone out on our own and hunted, but since this was our first Alaskan hunting experience, we decided to book a charter. We paid $2200 each for this hunt. This might sound expensive, but we spent the week on a $260,000 boat, ate great meals, and burned a couple hundred gallons of fuel. We hunted from sun-up to sundown each day, and we were warm and dry on the boat each night. I have known the charter captain for several years, and we are even better friends after the hunt. I would gladly go with John again.

Razoreye
10-11-2006, 16:29
That's freakin' awesome my friend! Looks like you have a blast living up in Alaska!

Quick question, why can't you release the yellow-eyed rockfish? Will it not survive after bringing it up from the depths due to nitrogen boiling I guess? (i.e. fishes' version of "the bends")

G20man32904
10-11-2006, 16:38
Dang,
All I can come with is WOW !!
Jealous with envy! :thumbsup: :supergrin:

Dan in Alaska
10-11-2006, 17:23
Razoreye,

Yellow-eye rockfish (actually a member of the scorpion fish family) do not have a vented air bladder. When you bring them up from great depths, their air bladder expands, and their stomachs actually get forced out of their mouths. They look lik they are sticking out their tongues.

mpol777
10-11-2006, 18:11
Very nice. 'Tis the season.. :supergrin:

Sharker
10-12-2006, 08:26
wow, just amazing. Dan, how long have you lived in Alaska? tell us southerners what its really like. I know that alot of people think Florida is heaven, until they move here, then they find humidity, palmetto bugs, reptilian monsters, mosquitos...etc werent mentioned in the ads. So whats the real scoop on Alaska? Is it the heavenly place I have always dreamed of? (to bad it gets so cold!!!)

Dan in Alaska
10-12-2006, 11:18
Sharker,

I moved from Anchorage in 2001. Both the summer and winters in Anchorage are more mild than they were in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Summer temps usually don't make it out of the 70's, and the winter temps rarely fall below zero. This is not the case for all of Alaska, though. Fairbanks, for instance, gets much colder in the winter and much warmer in the summer.

Anchorage doesn't seem to have much of a mosquito problem. There are always a couple of weeks in May that we notice them, but otherwise I don't notice them much. Rural Alaska can be pretty thick with mosquitos, though. There are no snakes or poisonous spiders. There are no ticks, and if you have a dog, you'd be happy to hear there's no heartworm in Alaska either.

The past few summers have been really nice, but this year was pretty rainy. We've just had another batch of rain and right now many costal towns, like Seward and Valdez, are flooding pretty badly. I am told by folks that have been here much longer than I have, that rainy summers are more typical, and that we have had it easy for a few years. My historical perspective is a bit limited, so I just take their word for it.

Summer is filled with very long days. In June, there's a lot of daylight until midnight or so, and the sun comes back up around 4 am. The important thing to do in the summer is to keep regular hours. It's not difficult to find yourself in the middle of a project and suddenly realize it's midnight. I usually burn the candle at both ends during the summer months. I get a lot done, but it eventually catches up to me.

The winter, of course is just the opposite. The sun doesn't come up until 11am, or so, and sets again at 3:30 or 4:00pm. The city lights and reflecting snow do a pretty good job of staying light, though. In the winter, life's pace slows down quite a bit. On a Sunday morning, I can sleep in until 8am, read the paper, and start watching the first football games at 9am. The sun hasn't come up yet, so I really get a feeling of accomplishment! :supergrin:

Anchorage winters have less extreme temperatures than the midwest, but they are much longer. We typically have snow on the ground from Halloween to Spring Break. The trick to surviving an Alaskan winter is to stay busy. There are lots of things to do, but you need to get out of the house. People that complain about Alaskan winters are usually the ones that stay home all the time.

Is Alaska heaven? No place is perfect, but I am willing to put up with the stuff I don't like, because the stuff I do like is like no other place on earth. There is only one Alaska!

noway
10-12-2006, 12:37
{Dan, how long have you lived in Alaska? tell us southerners what its really like. I know that alot of people think Florida is heaven, until they move here, then they find humidity, palmetto bugs, reptilian monsters, mosquitos...etc werent mentioned in the ads. So whats the real scoop on Alaska}

your'll be surpise to know that some parts of Alaska has big concentration of mosquitoes ;)


That picture off that boat looking into the bay is just breath taking ;)

Glocktex
10-13-2006, 06:25
Dan,

reading your story brings back memories of my first bear in Ontario. Congrats on a great hunt and the memories that will last a lifetime!

Glocktex

Sharker
10-13-2006, 08:35
I have an uncle I have never met that lives in Fairbanks. (his dad is my Grandpas brother). I have been invited often, but have never really been able to go as of yet.

Thanks Dan for the low down.
While I am picking your brain, what is the home values out there like. What would a 1500 sq foot in an average area go for? I know that its a broad question, and that it would vary alot, but where I am, 1500 sq ft would be around 200K off the Island, 250K plus on the Island (I live on a barrier Island above Jacksonville)

But thanks for the info, its nice to get an insiders take.

noway
10-13-2006, 08:50
Hey Dan you mention your story on your bear , courious to know what your buddies did and with what caliber.

Dan in Alaska
10-13-2006, 15:00
Sharker, a newer 1500 sq-ft, single family home in Anchorage costs $250,000 and up. My brother sold his house last summer for a little over $280,000. House prices in the Mat-Su Valley are rising, but they aren't this high yet. I don't know what homes in other parts of Alaska sell for.

noway, the other guys used my rifles on the hunt. They didn't want the hassle of bringing them on the plane, and they could bring more gear with them. The other two bears were shot with my .30-06. The 180-grain Hornady Interbonds performed well, but left much bigger holes than the 250-grain Grand Slams I used on my bear.

I am taking my .338-06 out after moose and brown bear this weekend. Hopefully, I'll have more pictures to post on Tuesday!

noway
10-13-2006, 15:17
{I am taking my .338-06 out after moose and brown bear this weekend. Hopefully, I'll have more pictures to post on Tuesday!}

We will be waiting ;)

I think the bigger hole might be from the faster velocity+expansion and do those glandslam rapidly expand ? I think this premium bullet geared for more penetration and for animals like what you are hunting bear/moose/etc..

Short Cut
10-13-2006, 15:21
That looks like a heck of good time. Congratulations on your bear. Good shootin', buddy. :thumbsup:

StockGlock23
10-13-2006, 15:28
Originally posted by noway
That picture off that boat looking into the bay is just breath taking ;)

I couldn't agree more. With your permission "Dan in Alaska" can I use that picture of the mountains reflecting off the water for my background?

Dan in Alaska
01-19-2007, 10:43
Sorry I never got back to you, StockGlock23. I didn't realize it has been so long since checking this particular forum. Of course you can use the picture. Help yourself!

DonD
01-20-2007, 10:58
Sorry, NO guide, ANYWHERE is IMHO worth anywhere near $15K/week. I think 2K/wk would be pushing it. Gee, 7 weeks of work, greater than $100K salary, where do I sign up. Can't believe people willingly pay for that "service." What's that adage of a sucker born every minute?

If I've offended someone, wasn't my intent but my opinion (and we know what opinions are) stands. Don

Short Cut
01-20-2007, 12:42
Originally posted by DonD
Sorry, NO guide, ANYWHERE is IMHO worth anywhere near $15K/week. I think 2K/wk would be pushing it. Gee, 7 weeks of work, greater than $100K salary, where do I sign up. Can't believe people willingly pay for that "service." What's that adage of a sucker born every minute?

If I've offended someone, wasn't my intent but my opinion (and we know what opinions are) stands. Don

Of course you are trying to be offensive, Don. Don't beat around the bush.

I think it would be a lot worse to be old and unable to make such a trip and wish that you had done so when you were able. You can't take it with you.

DonD
01-20-2007, 21:36
Shortcut, no I was not trying to be offensive to the originators of this thread or those who have a dream of a hunt of a lifetime. If that is really important to them, go for it.

In retrospect, my comment about "sucker" was out of line.

I just look at the disparities of effort/skill vs $ in this society and the price for a guide seems way out of line to me. Perhaps to some it is money well spent.

I see Tom Cruise getting $100mil for a lackluster movie and highly professional cops making $40-60K yr risking their lives and I get frustrated. Top notch neurosurgeons saving peoples lives and curing devasting injuries making less than half of the average NBA salary while risking constant frivolous lawsuits from ambulance chasing shysters. Not a damned thing I can do about it.

I was serious when I said sorry if I offended some people. Meant it then, mean it now.

Ak.Hiker
01-20-2007, 23:13
I work in a town with quite a few charter boat owners and guides. I do not think any of these guys are getting rich after they pay for their boats,gas,insurance,payroll,dock fees,taxes etc. It is more of a lifestyle choice. The good ones do make a good living but do put in some long hard hours in the process. They also operate in a harsh environment.

Dan in Alaska
01-21-2007, 03:28
Originally posted by DonD
Sorry, NO guide, ANYWHERE is IMHO worth anywhere near $15K/week. I think 2K/wk would be pushing it. Gee, 7 weeks of work, greater than $100K salary, where do I sign up. Can't believe people willingly pay for that "service." What's that adage of a sucker born every minute?

If I've offended someone, wasn't my intent but my opinion (and we know what opinions are) stands. Don


Hey Don. Rest assured, I am not offended. I can't afford to pay $15K a week to hunt, but I don't consider someone who does a fool. It's just the price some people pay to pursue their dream of hunting big game in Alaska. If I may, let me explain how many guides/outfitters justify charging these high prices.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, up until last year, my neighbor guided for an outfitter. I have met this outfitter on several occasions and talked with him. I was surprised by what he said....

He owns three airplanes that he uses to transport hunters, supplies, and their animals to and from the field. A Super Cub (2-seater) is often used to get into the field, since they are able to land where other planes simply can't. But, Super Cubs are a small plane. A group of four people requires many roundtrip flights to get everyone and their gear into the field.

Airplanes are a huge overhead. Last year he spent over $100,000 in fuel. That's just FUEL - insurance was another $7K per airplane. That doesn't take into account maintenace, annual inspections or pilots. He also has land leases, licensing fees, tents & equipment, food, propane, and associate hunting guides he needs to pay. In addition, all that equipment and personel needs to be transported to and from the field each year. Add that to the expense of hours and hours of flight time used to scout for animals (afterall, clients don't want to pay $15K a week and not see anything), and you've got a heck of a lot of overhead.

Even with spring and fall hunts, the hunting season is not a year-round proposition. He has to make money when he can, and Mother Nature ALWAYS has the final say in any bush flights.

For us locals, where a hunting guide is not required by law, drop-off hunts are a little cheaper. They are still expensive, though, due to all the flying required. Alaska is a big place, but there aren't many roads. If you want to be a successful hunter, you need to get where the animals are. That often means an airplane, or in my case, a boat.

Alaska is a unique place. I have lived here since 2001, and I still consider myself a rookie in these parts. I am fortunate to live in a place that fills me with such a sense of wonder and amazement.

Regards,
Dan

DonD
01-21-2007, 09:46
Dan, thanks for the information. I consider myself better informed due to your post.

Perhaps I can semi gracefully extricate my foot from my mouth. Don