With everything going so well this past season and seeing the healthy game numbers in all locations that we hunted, AWWA is offering a handful of hunting opportunities. There are a select few spots open in 2016 and spaces have already started to fill for 2017 brown bear and moose. We will still keep a very low number of hunts in each area to keep our focus of emphasizing and providing very personable catered to hunts from start to finish in very game and trophy rich areas.
Alaska Wild Wind Adventures Show Schedule: If you are attending make sure to stop by.
- The Wild Sheep Show in Reno, Nevada January 20th – 23rd 2016 Booth 141
- The Grand Slam Ovis show in Las Vegas, Nevada January 26th – 29th 2016
Alaska Wild Wind Adventures started the spring brown bear season in April. Dave Lindsay from Washington State was our hunter for the spring and was guided by myself. Due to the early spring melt this past year, I informed Dave in March that it would be a better idea to come earlier at the beginning of April instead of in the middle of the month. Dave had no hesitation on coming earlier and flew into Anchorage April 2nd and then out to camp a day later.
The weather flying out to camp was looking great. A winter moose kill was spotted on the way, with a decent amount of tracks in the hills nearby. Locating a pushed out den on the upper hillside 2 – 3 miles from camp, determined the plan for the following first day of the hunt. Not seeing any tracks leading away from the dens opening, meant more than likely there was still a bear inside but the chances were 50/50 with the recent snow that had fallen. Waking up early, to be able to walk on hard snow before the sun started to soften it, meant leaving right at daybreak.
The hike started at 7 a.m., gaining 2,000 feet of steep elevation and positioning themselves 120 feet above the den around 10 a.m. Wind in our favor, meant it was now a waiting game. At one o’clock the bear stepped out on the snow bank in front of the hole. Quick to judge the bear I estimated him to be a boar pushing 9 foot and a very good bear for that area. Not waiting long Dave put a perfectly placed shot into the bear that was in a slightly quartering away position. I approached the den and confirmed that the bear was dead. The shooting was perfect, but the only problem now was removing the bear from its fallen position in its den. It took another few hours to dig the big boar out of its den and skin it. While doing so, I had realized that I had made a mistake. A mistake I was willing to live with. Wanting to get the shot before the boar returned into the den knowing it was a good bear, I under judged the size. It was a boar like I said but instead of a 9 foot boar, it squared out to be 9’7 with a 26 15/16th skull. I will take that surprise anytime. Being late in the day and the sun setting, I decided to leave the hide and come back for it in the morning after the snow froze again and the walking was easier. I estimated my pack to weigh a little over 100 pounds. It was a fun and exciting hunt with Dave, great shooting and a very impressive bear.
Alaska Wild Wind Adventures first fall season in the Sugarloaf area of the Katmai Preserve was September – October. Lots of sweat and hard ground work was put forth by myself prior to the hunting season, to prepare for moose in September and for brown bear in October. Spending over 20 days in the field hiking, scouting, floating the rivers and assessing game numbers in the Sugarloaf area earlier in the May and then July. Focusing in on past information from geospatial mapping, National Park Service game studies, fish run locations and other material, proved to be very valuable and helped in selecting the certain areas AWWA hunted this fall in 2015.
Moose season took place September 5 – 15th. A float trip was set up and CJ Park and Dave Openshaw from Utah. CJ was the primary hunter on this trip with his good friend Dave tagging along in hopes of also having the chance at harvesting a moose if time allowed and opportunity presented its self. The trip started at one of the larger lakes in the Sugarloaf concession. With plans of hunting the major river system and side tributaries as we floated down the 50 plus miles of river to our pick-up location. With such a long float to make in a 13 day span, camp had to be packed up every few days in order to make the pick – up point on time. This gave the chance to cover lots of ground. With the weather being warmer than usual the entire season and temperatures holding in the mid to upper 50’s, it made for lower rut activity than expected. After floating farther down the system to an area that had exceptional sign CJ, Dave and myself camped for a few days. The first morning at this location on the 8th day of the hunt proved to be a good one. The night time temperatures had dropped into the high 20’s and put a good frost on everything, spiking up activity.
We still hunted, mixed with raking and cow calling to a high ridgeline a half mile from camp. Only sitting for 20 minutes, it didn’t take long for a mature bull to show up at the edge of the long meadow where I last called from. At a quick glance I knew it was an exceptional bull and saying that out loud, got CJ excited. After getting a full frontal view of the bull to see its width mass and brows, there was no question it was a shooter. CJ positioned himself on his pack and waited for a broadside shot. The first shot was perfect but it took two more shots before the bull dropped. The wide bull fell in its tracks on a very nice piece of dry ground, which almost never happens when moose hunting. After high fives, congratulations and struggling to position the bull for pictures, the size of the animal set in for CJ and Dave. Heavy packing and sweat ensued for the next 7 hours to get the bull back to camp. CJ’s bull was an amazing mature animal, 65 inch wide antlers with great points and solid brows. After official scoring he exceeded the Boone and Crocket all-time minimum of 224 inches and went 236 inches, placing it well into the record book. The final days of the hunt went well, there were two weather days but lots of great fishing followed down one of the best rainbow trout rivers in the state. Catching rainbow trout in the mid 20 inch range and grayling pushing 20 plus inches all day long, topped the entire hunt and made it exceptionally fun for CJ and Dave.
October 1st was the start of brown bear season. A cold snap with snow a week prior to opening paired with the large salmon run, had the well fed bears so lethargic that most movement of big boars was seen heading east to the denning country. Two brothers Andy and Fred Pitts from Illinois hunted from October 1st – 12th. The movement of bears was steady with Fred and guide Don Dygert seeing boars in the 8 to 9 ½+ foot range. They also had a very close encounter with a 9 ½+ bear mid-way through the hunt but did not connect. Andy and I, saw a few boars in the 9’ – 10’ range but they were too far away to make reasonable efforts at attempting a stalk. Overall we did see a good number of bears. Andy and Fred had a great time hunting and rebooked to return for the upcoming May 2016 season.
With Andy and Fred not being able to stay longer to hunt due to other obligations, they left on the 12th of October. With having no hunters for the second part of the season, I took my father Ron and guide Don to the eastern part of the preserve, to see where the bear movement was heading and finish up the season scouting and possibly doing a little hunting. It turned out to be a very good trip and we found a spot where there was an abundance of bears. In the course of 7 days there were upwards of 50 to 60 different bears spotted. Between family groups, adolescent bears and large single mature males, there were a few that pushed or exceeded the 10 foot mark. With lots of bears around, a bear tag and permit in Ron and Dons pocket, the decision was made to try and harvest one or two of the big bears spotted on the first day.
On the third day of the hunt my father harvested a record book brown bear on the lake shore as it was searching for salmon. A perfectly placed shot at 70 yards left the bear only running 10 feet and expiring. Being one of the shortest recoveries I have ever seen or had guiding. Ron’s bear squared 10’2 from paw to paw and 8’10 from nose to tail making it an honest 9’6 with a green skull scoring 28 3/16th inches Boone and Crockett. After closer examination the brown bear was a very old boar with no teeth, the biologists in King Salmon estimated that it will more than likely age between 20 to 25 years of age. An excellent animal to harvest with memories that will last forever.
The fourth day was a camp day where Don and I fleshed and prepared Ron’s bear hide for the salting process. The fifth day we went out looking for a nice big bear for Don. Seeing nothing of interest and heading back to camp later in the evening, we noticed that the carcass of Ron’s bear had been moved from where it was earlier in the day. At a closer glance, another boar had pulled it up off of the bank of the lake and started to eat and bury it. Approaching carefully to 40 yards Don and myself could tell the bear was a mature boar in the 9’ class. Without hesitation, Don made a great shot on the bear dropping it with the first shot and quickly putting a second shot in for reassurance while I waited in case of a needed back up. The two well-placed shots had fallen Don’s bear right where it stood. I congratulated Don on excellent shooting and harvesting a mature bear. After pictures and skinning and fleshing, Don’s bear had a hide that squared out at 9’1 with almost a 26 inch skull.
That’s all from Alaska for this year. For more information on our hunts feel free to call or email me at 907-414-5434 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out our website for new and updated pictures from this year. There will be more to come. I hope all is well and please keep in touch. May you have a joyful and prosperous New Year.