2016 Spring Season in the Sugarloaf Area of the Katmai Preserve
As 2016 comes to a close, I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year. Alaska Wild Wind Adventures had a fantastic year, hunting brown bear the month of May in the Katmai Preserve. With the winter in Alaska being fairly mild again this year, there was anticipation that there could possibly be another warm spring brown bear season up and down the Alaskan Peninsula. Arriving a week before the season I took a few flights with our super cub pilot to scout the Sugarloaf area, prior to setting camps. After spending multiple hours looking over the preserve everything looked great. There was still a good amount of snow on the ground in the upper hills, where I wanted to set camps. We had 5 hunters this year, with two hunters hunting the first part of the season and three hunters hunting the end of the season.
The Pitts brothers (Andy and Fred) were our first hunters that arrived, returning from the prior fall season. Andy broke the ice quickly with harvesting his bear on day 2. It was a well furred 9’10 bruin that had over a 27 inch skull Andy decided to stay in the field for the rest of his hunt and in the course of a week we saw over 35 different bears, including a close encounter with a 10’ boar that chased 4 bull caribou right by our base camp.
Fred was on the opposite side of the preserve in similar country. Fred and professional hunting guide Don Dygert had lots of activity spotting over 30 bears in the course of Fred’s hunt. Seeing boars chasing sows and a handful of large single boars roaming the area, it was just a matter of time before they had the opportunity on a large boar. On one of the final days of the hunt, Don and Fred put a stalk on a mid-9’ boar that came down to cool itself in a pond below camp. While the bear was swimming in the pond, they stalked in a little too close and bumped the bear as it came out of the water at 40 yards, with no ethical shot opportunity. Fred had to pass. Even though Fred’s hunt concluded without a harvest, he had an amazing adventure and I still remember the smile he had on his face when he got out of the Super Cub. With being an experienced worldwide hunter, Fred said “it’s just the way things go sometimes, that’s hunting!” I appreciate Fred’s attitude and look on the entire situation of not getting the bear they stalked in so close to. I have no doubt that Fred will be back this coming fall to try, yet again to attempt hunting the Katmai’s brown giants.
The second part of the season was just as exciting as the first. I had the pleasure of guiding Bruce Mabrey and his son Mark Mabrey. Don guided Mike Moddrell. Bruce hunted with us our first season in the Katmai Preserve, and was excited to return. It was a fun and thrilling hunt, with both Bruce and Mark harvesting some really nice bears. Bruce ended up getting a super long furred sow on the first evening, which squared out a little over 8’6(bottom right of holiday card). A couple of days later Bruce’s son Mark put a perfect shot into a big 9’8 boar a few hundred yards from base camp. Marks’ bear skull was in the 27 inch range.
After Bruce and Mark left the field, I headed over to help Don and Mike out at their camp. They had seen some bear activity along with a handful of wolves. After my arrival spring rain mixed with some peninsula winds in excess of 60-70 miles an hour rolled in. Stuck in the tent because of the weather, Mike entertained us with some of his stories about his tours in Vietnam. As things would go on the Alaskan Peninsula the storm continued for a few days, running us down towards the end of Mike’s hunt and the close of the spring bear season. The last morning of Mike’s hunt, the weather improved and hearing lighter rain drops on the tent, Don and I threw our gear on and headed out to the spotting knob close to camp. Knowing the bears would get up and move with the rain letting off, we glassed as hard as we could looking for that special bear for Mike. Midday I spotted a 8 ½ ft. boar and one huge 10’ plus bear. The only thing was that both bears were way too far away to get. Time was running out and we were now hoping for a bear super close to camp. With two hours left in the season and before the sunset Don spotted a nice sized boar only ¾ mile from camp! Rushing back to the tent, Don told Mike it was time to go. Throwing his gun over his shoulder, Don and Mike rushed down the hill from camp to cut the bear off before it got down wind of them. Closing down to 100 yards, Mike lined up his .375 H and H and shot. Hitting his bear 3 times, it went down very quickly. Mike’s bear had the best furred hide of the season. Measuring 9’9 with over a 27 inch skull, we had one happy hunter in camp. It was truly an amazing season. The weather cooperated for the most part, we got in and out safely and better yet everyone had a great time. I thank all the hunters (Andy, Fred, Bruce, Mark and Mike) that came and hunted with Alaska Wild Wind Adventures this hunting season.
We do have a few open spots left for our 2017 fall brown bear and 2018 spring brown bear hunts in the Katmai Preserve. We are also conducting moose hunts in the preserve as well (we only offer moose hunts in this area on the odd years when there is a fall brown bear season). Alaska Wild Wind Adventures will be attending two trade shows listed below and look forward to seeing you there:
- Dallas Safari Show – Dallas TX. Jan. 5th – Jan. 8th – Booth #1114
- Wild Sheep Show – Reno NV. Jan. 19th – Jan 21st – Booth #360
We look forward to setting up your next Alaskan hunting adventure. Merry Christmas and have a very prosperous and Happy New Year.
Your hunting buddy,
Owner and Operator
Alaska Wild Wind Adventures