By McKenzie Sims
Give me 25, 25, 25… SOLD!!!. 10 day Alaska peninsula brown bear hunt.
After the excitement of booking our Alaska Brown Bear dream adventure at the 2016 Safari Club International, Saturday night dinner reality set in as May came fast! Our flights were booked and bags where packed.
May 21st we loaded the float plane along with guide Josh and prepared for our two and a half hour flight in to bear camp. After arriving in the bay, we would be hunting we met up with Mike and the camp cook we and made the short boat ride across to camp. We settled in had a small lunch then gather our gear and made the short 10 yard walk to the point to glass a small bay west of camp where they two days previous had seen three shooter boars out on the beach chasing saws and eating on the fresh green grass and a black bear Caracas from there the first hunter.
The First morning of the hunt me and my guide Josh would walk about 300 yards through the trees to the second point overlooking a different part of the bay.
We spent the next two days glassing from 6am till 12pm having lunch back at camp then back to the point from 2pm to 10pm. the third day after seeing next to no bears me my guide and our cook Billy decided we would make what we were told to be a three-mile hike to a hidden bay that's never been hunted. We started at 1pm and at just after 4pm 4 miles later no bay.. lucky as we where betting the brush we heard to shots back towards camp and knew that it could only mean one thing BEAR DOWN for my dad, the decision was easy to retreat from our adventure to never ever bay and head back to see a big bear as we rounded the beach to the bayside my dad and his guide Mike had been sitting we could see them down on the beach standing around a large brown object. The three of us were excited to see this because of the bad luck with weather and mystery hike we had been having was looking up with one bear down on the afternoon of day three. High fives, video, and photos were taken when the work started after the bear was caped and loaded in the pack with paws and skull still in I tried my luck at carrying it…. Needless to say when I reached the top of the bank just down the trail from camp I was exhausted and needed to trade off… We hunted another two days with zero bear sightings. The evening of day five we decided that Mike, Billy and I would take the small rubber boat out and venture further into the bay to explore a new country. the morning started off with cold ocean slate water splashing over us and all of our gear but quickly warmed up when a giant boar was spotted feeding on a grassy beach about a mile down the bay. Tide was going out, but we decided to go for it and push our luck as we crept down the bay in a channel getting closer and closer to the boar we discussed game plans on how this could unfold, but before we could even make a play on the boar he didn't like the rubber boat creeping towards him, so he slowly fed back in the brush. the morning hunt was over we were racing the tide back to camp. Back at camp we glassed across the bay and found a boar and sal feeding on a grassy beach across the empty bay on the other side of a deep channel. with no chance to hunt them that afternoon a game plan was made to be on that beach the next morning waiting for them to come back out since they seemed to be a breeding pair, sure enough they where back out on the beach, a plan was made and the stalk began, after crossing the mud flat and sneaking around a rocky point we laid our eyes on the sow feeding in the grass, it was only a matter of time before the boar came back out to check on her… The hours past and no Boar I thought to myself he's gone he was done breeding and went on his way and sure enough, Billy spotted a big bear working his way around the next rocky point. we talked that one up as a loss and headed towards that point to maybe be able to see him again or see more bears. the tide was out the boat was beached an all we had was time on our hands. We traveled the beach crossing small creek channels of pure mountain water heading out to the ocean following the bear high way.. their high was is pretty self-explanatory so I won't go into much detail on that. just when the stars were lining up and we thought we had a giant of a blond boar feeding our way our stalk plan was crushed when to small yearlong cubs came rolling our playing around. Note This was the second biggest bear we have seen in ten days of hunting and would have easily taken on any other bear to protect her cubs, so we turned and headed back to the boat to avoid conflict. just before the boat we found shade under a rock outcropping had some lunch and relaxed we had been having problems with the rubber boat keeping air, so I and Billy went to check on that, sure enough, it was leaking. We got the pump out and began to fill the boat but was quickly caught by surprise when a saw and not one, not two, but three cubs came running out on the beach heading our way. as the bars worked our way the sow kept looking back as if a boar was chasing them they slowly turned and began to follow the shoreline only stopping 30 yards from us standing on their hind legs popping their jaws as they caught our sent from where we left the shoreline and head to the boat. With only the rubber boat in between us, there was no chance for a flight it would only be fight, lucky they spun and ran between mine and Josh's packs and disappeared up the mountain. the tide was slowly working its way back up but wasn't moving fast for us and seeing six bears including our giant boar from the previous morning that had earned the nickname “ colossus “. We decided to make a drive for the water pulling and pushing the boat to meet the rising tide. an hour later we were in the water heading towards the bears. that night only brought watching and planning as there were 27 other bears on the mile-long grassy beach with our boar giving no possible safe stalk option. It looked like something you'd only see out of national geographic bears galore. After getting back to camp, a plan was made for day 8. Day 8 was full of action from close encounters with a fox and more sals and cubs under 50 yards and our boar crossing the beach to the other side leaving us with no chance for a shot and only looking forward to day 9. With bad weather moving back in we had to think about getting out of camp in time to make it back home to everyday working life and family we planned to leave a day early in hopes to beat a storm. The afternoon of day 9 was my last chance at a big peninsula brown bear. Just after lunch we loaded gear in the boat and began to drag it down a small channel to find deeper water to hit the main channel. yet again there were lots of bears were moving down both sides of the beach but not our big boar. we found a small channel the boat could float down towards his home beach and still be out of sight. the tide was rising fast so soon enough we just beached the boat stayed low and watched the sals, cubs, and smaller boars feeding on the grass. about 20 minutes later we heard a loud scream come from inside the brush and a sow and two cubs came busting out, that was a sign of a boar heading our way My Dad, Billy, Josh, Mike and I where all eyes on the beach five minutes passed no boar ten minutes passed no boar.. Then fifteen minutes later boom there he was the Giant of a bear pushed his way out of the brush and down the beach. Josh and Billy slowly dropped out of the boat into the rising cold water to push it to the next bend beach it and hold it stead for me to get a rest and make the 270-yard shot. The boar spun and disappeared in the brush. the sound of silence never felt so cold and airy. We spread outworked our way to the opening the bear vanished in to and began our first pass in the thick. Visibility was next to nothing the rifles were loaded and ready to roll, keeping everyone in sight we walked 100 yards in to the brush, no luck we backed out moved another 30 yards down and began our second push and just as we were going to move down I spotted a patch of fur, less the 10 yards in front of me and my dad calling the group over we realized the bear wasn't dead as he stood up on his front legs to face us I fired reloaded and fired again. Then it was all over, I had my 10 foot squared 25+” skull giant Alaskan Brown bear and a story of a lifetime.,