Alaska Black Bear Hunts

Alaska Private Guide Service

Smokey Don Duncan,
Master Guide #136

Alaska Private Guide Service Black Bear Hunting

Alaska Guided Black Bear Hunts

These are the best Alaska black bear hunts right here. This web site will answer all of your Alaska black bear hunting questions, if you take the time to read it. Use the side bar menu to navigate. With 27 years experience hunting Alaska black bears, we know what we are doing and there is no one with a long term success rate as high as mine.  Anywhere!

We have 2 hunting areas for black bears with a 3 bear limit. Unit 20 B & C along the rivers where we use boats and off the road system where we use 4 wheelers. Both areas are in the interior of Alaska out of Fairbanks. This is a spring black bear hunt over bait during May and June. We are using a float plane and boats along the rivers and 4 wheelers off the road system. You may also hunt grizzly over bait in both areas. You may choose fully guided hunts; 1 guide x 1 hunter or 1 guide x 2 hunters; an outfitted and unguided hunt or "semi guided" or you may do a drop off hunts (not using my baits). Most hunts are 5 hunting nights but we do offer shorter hunts. The hunts are 5 days because no one in 27 years has hunted 5 nights without ample opportunity at multiple bears. Our long term average size is about 6 foot six inches. Our biggest bears will be 7 1/2 to just over 8 foot. None will make Boone and Crocket but you can make Pope and Young.

3 bear limit, Unit 20 B & C in the interior of Alaska. This is a spring hunt black bear hunt over bait during May and June using a float plane, boats or 4 wheelers to and thru the hunting areas. You may choose fully guided hunts 1 hunter x 1 guide or 1x2, outfitted and unguided or "semi guided" or drop off hunts.

We are now legally allowed to bait grizzlies during our spring black bear season The season for baited grizzly is April 15th to May 31 in 20 B and until June 30th in 20 C. These units are side by side and are separated by the river. Here is how this works. During your black bear hunt along the rivers; if a grizzly is hitting one of the baits, we will offer to sell you the grizzly tag and you can hunt that bait. If you shoot a grizzly, you pay us a $2,000 kill fee. Your grizzly tag would also be good for a second black bear. There are not a lot of grizzlies along the river during our prime black bear season but there are some big ones. The off road 4-wheeler area tends to have more grizzlies earlier (May) in the season. If we are in the off road 4 wheeler area, we will target grizzlies and black bears and you will pay a flat rate for the hunt which includes 1 grizzly and one black bear. The off road 4-wheeler area is over 100 miles out of town. Go to the Grizzly page.  In both areas, extra bears are charged on a kill fee basis.

New for 2013: After 20 years of asking the Alaska Board of Game, it is now legal to hunt same day airborne for black bear over bait, and they gave us (guides only) 10 baits / Guide Use Area, and they allow us (guides only) to outfit a bait and provide you with a bait without having to personally accompany you to and at the bait. This is a big deal. The same day airborne saves you a hunting day/vacation day when you fly to camp. The 1 night quickie hunts works 95% of the time. The 10 baits/ Guide Use Area gives me the ability to have plenty ready for you with out the costly logistics involved in the old system. Removing the "guide must personally accompany" requirement means I do not need to have extra guides just to sit on the bait with a very qualified hunter. The price bait has gone up substantially the last 3 years while the hunt price did not. The majority of the hunt costs and work is placing and maintaining and then removing the baits. In 2014, we went through 4 tons of bait just along the rivers. We have to handle the bait and baiting equipment at least 5 times before it is actually on site. Hunting is the easy part. Walk a few yards from the boat, sit, be still and quiet, fall asleep, wake up and shoot a bear.

Introducing Tourists Quickie Black Bear Hunts: These hunts can last for few hours to 3 nights. They are designed and offered for the package tourist who is passing through Fairbanks or Alaska and only has a night or 2 to actually do something fun. These hunts are priced with a small minimum fee to cover some of the transportation costs to get you to camp ASAP and a large kill fee if I do my job right and you get a bear in the short time allotted. We can pick you up at the airport/hotel and have you back the next morning or even later that night if that is all the time you have. You are expected and required to shoot the first decent bear that comes along. With minimum notice I can usually supply you with every thing you need to hunt. Clothes, boots, jacket, weapon, etc…and the hunt is fully guided 1x1. NOTE: Many package tours end or begin in Fairbanks. Usually the tour companies will allow you to change your departure or arrival date at no additional costs.

See photos of APGS Alaska Black Bear Hunts on Picasaweb. Just select Slideshow or Individual photos of Alaska Black Bear.

If you are considering a boat based, coastal black bear hunt, you need to read the bottom of this page. It has a discussion on the current situation.

This is the best, most successful (99.9%), and inexpensive hunt that I offer. Mid May to late June is prime time for interior Alaska Black Bear hunting in unit 20. I am the interior's most productive black bear hunting guide providing this successful hunt for over 27 years. Hunters fly into and out of Fairbanks. From 1991- 2014, I have maintained a 99.9% success rate on 5 day hunts. That means that 99.9% had plenty of opportunity to kill a decent bear. That is why it is a 5 day hunt instead of a 3 or 4 day hunt. Nobody has ever gone 5 days with out getting a shot opportunity, usually many opportunities. 4 days for the first bear is very rare. The average is 1-2 nights. The fact is that if you pass up every bear you see, you will go home with nothing. And the worst thing you can do is pass up a bigger one the first night thinking he will come back again. We have a 3 bear limit. Take him and you are going home with a good bear and then hunt a bigger one if you like. 50% of the hunters that intend to take 2 bears stop at one because he is big enough! In my 20+ years in providing this hunt, I estimate that the "take a bear hide home" rate is somewhere north of 95%, with the difference of 4.9% being solely accountable due to turning every bear down, missing bears (bear fever) or wounding every bear. I have seen it all; well maybe not all yet but a lot. Shit happens. The average black bear taken is over six foot with about 50% - near 7 foot or bigger. The only way to leave with out a bear is to miss, miss repeatedly, wound, wound repeatedly or not shoot at all. See our Unit 20 Alaska Black Bear Hunting - 1 or Alaska video.

Unit 20 Discussion

In the spring, these Alaska black bears have the longest and densest fur of black bears anywhere. I specialize in baited hunts along remote rivers. I add new black bear hunting areas every year in a 20,000 square mile area. Primitive weapon hunters using bow muzzle loader or spear, are all welcome and all have taken Alaskan black bears in the past. I use mostly ground blinds and sometimes portable tree stands set up, 5-25 yards from the bait. Quite often, we productively stalk the bears when moving in to the bait. 24 hours of daylight means the bears can't wait until after dark to come into the bait site. The prime time is between 9 PM and 2 am. This can be a dangerous hunt. Did you know, black bears are the most likely bear to stalk, kill and eat you? Some or most of the bears do not know they are suppose to be afraid of humans! They will walk right up to the blind and stare you down! Every thing that moves in the woods is potential prey. They will stalk you. And then there is the black bear rut with possessive territorial males following or looking for females in heat. When we shoot a bear, we try to get it out as quick and quiet as possible on a bear cart and skin the bear at the lodge or camp. If you make a quiet, quick kill early in the evening, you can probably shoot another one that night. It is not unusual to see many bears in a night. 4 bears / night is average.

Alaska black bears go into the RUT in spring, during our season, and we know how to hunt them. Don't say hunting with bait isn't sporting, challenging and fun until you hunt with us! When bears come in, they walk on bear trails and are virtually silent. "Black Ghost of the Forest" is a nick name well deserved. Black bears come from any direction, including from behind you; often they're close, really close. Now think about being in a natural ground blind 10 feet away from a big bear! The maximum adrenaline rush! You must be mentally prepared. This hunt is ideal for the individual black bear hunter, family hunt, or group of hunting buddies. I have had excellent success with two hunters and one guide frequently taking two black bears in one night. We field prep the trophies; skin, flesh, take out paws, turn lips and ears and salt the hide dry. The taxidermist should give you a break. We salvage the meat and hang it in game bags. Upon your return to Fairbanks, the hide and skull are sealed by Fish and Game and you can take them with you. If needed, we will ship your trophies to you or your taxidermist C.O.D. A full service meat processor is also available and he can ship your processed game to you. You can take the meat with you as baggage by placing it in a “Rubber Made” tote or fish box. Spring Alaskan Black Bear is good eating; we recommend you take it with you; we accept and donate in Fairbans any unwanted meat. -- top

Recent Report on Success Rates for Spring Black Bear Hunts. 3 black bear limit.

In 2015 We had no hunters! This has happened twice before in 27 years. We have 2 good back to back years and it is like the hunters think we killed all the good ones. Look, the vast majority of the areas we are allowed to hunt are simply not logistically bait able so it never gets hunted. That is we are surround by huge areas that do not get hunted. So, even if we killed every bear that came in to the bait, the local population would be almost immediately replaced with bears that come in from the perimeters. In 2015 we did put out some of the baits in the off road area and got 3 grizzlies on film in 5 days. 2 were big. And we got several big black bears on film. one pictured showed a grizzly and black bear squaring off at the bait. The next picture an hour later showed a black bear at the bait.
Guides Smokey and Frank with David Eddins record book "Kodiak Black" bear 2014 Kodiak Black Bear

2005 results. 10 hunters took 22 black bears. 2006 10 hunters took 12 black bears! 2007 - 4 hunters took 9 black bears. Several over 7 foot! In 2008 the first hunter took 3 bears in 5 nights plus missed a big one. The next hunters were husband and wife. She took one and he turned down everything else down in search of a 7 foot minimum size bear. They came back in 2009 and she shot one the first night and he shot one the second night. The average black bear hunt lasted less than 10 hours on stand. On any given bait on any night the big ones can come in or they may not. The next hunters in 2008 were father and 13 year old daughter. She got a nice one and he nicked one with a bow. The last 2008 hunter only had 3 nights. The first night he saw 4 bears and shot 1 cinnamon bear. The second night he saw 4 bears and shot none. The last night he saw 8 bears including a 7 1/2 foot monster cinnamon big black boar that walked in and walked out with a sow. Why he did not follow commands to shoot? He killed a black phase bear later that night. 2009 was a big fire year in part of the areas we hunt along the river. The 2009 fire took out several of our good bait sites on the south side of the river. Some of those bears probably came to the other side of the river where we hunt and some probably went further away. WE still went 100%.  In 2010, along the river, we got 3 bears 7 foot or better and a bunch between 6 and 7 foot. Probably the biggest bear of the year met us at the river when we went to pull the bait. The guide had to fire a warning shot to keep him out of the boat. He then stalked us to the bait and escorted us back to the river. We knew a big one was there but never caught him. In 2011 we chased the ice down the river and hunted earlier than ever before. The baits went active pretty quick. The first hunter shot a 6 1/2 footer the 3rd night. We saw plenty and one night got some wolves howling and called 2 in and got a missed shot at one. All of the rest of the river hunters (4) took bears, between 6 1/2 and 7 foot 3 inches. The last 2 hunters at the cabin at the end of June took 2 seven footers with real good hides, surprisingly. Another year of great hunting big bears and excellent hides. In 2012, we had another 100% success rate while we went through 2.5 tons of bait, bears were crawling all over one another like maggots on a gut pile. And when a black bear is shot with a .338/378 it goes down and stays down! Maybe a little big for black bear. 2013 was unique. Record cold and record late breakup on the river. We had to postpone the first 4 hunters until later. We got 18 bears. The average was 6 foot 6 inches with the biggest squaring out at 7 foot 10 inches with a 19-5/8 inch skull putting Jerry, a bow hunter, in the Pope and Young record book. 4 bears were 7 foot or better. 4 bears were wounded; 2 bow, one rifle and one pistol. Plus we rented a riverside 100 year old lodge and not one hunter or guide spent a single night in a tent. 2014 was a good year with 21 hunters taking 27 bears and one "Kodiak Black" that made the Pope and Young record books. We had the lodge again and had at least one good grizzly hitting one of the baits and probably 2 others during the season at other baits. We explored some new country and established some bait sites there for the future. We went through over 4 tons of bait and lots of gas. We are now covering over 200 miles of rivers plus some more off the rivers.

Benefits of Alaska Black Bear Hunts with APGS

  • A GUIDE STAYS WITH YOU AT THE BLACK BEAR BAIT ON GUIDED HUNTS. Not like Canada and other places where you get dropped off and abandoned at the bait.
  • MORE BIG ALASKAN BLACK BEARS PER SQUARE MILE. When are you going to believe a 3 black bear limit? Skull sizes up to 20 1/4".
  • AVERAGE BLACK BEAR TAKEN IS OVER 6 FOOT! Much bigger than the average black bear taken in Canada or the average Alaskan coastal black bear.
  • 24 HOURS OF DAYLIGHT (MIDNIGHT SUN) ALLOWS US TO HUNT WHEN BLACK BEARS ARE MOST ACTIVE. The bears can't wait until dark to come in! Prime time is 9 PM to 2:00 am.
  • This is an EXCELLENT GRADUATION PRESENT. It can be timed after school lets out. Plus I offer 1x2 father and son/daughter/wife discounts. What a great way to acknowledge the transition from child to adult!
  • Alaska Black Bear Hunting Dates

    2016 Black Bear Dates
    May 1-6, 6-11, 11-16, 16-21, 21-26, 26-31, May 31- June 5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20-25, 25-30.

    We generally do not schedule river hunt dates before May 16th because the river ice has to break up first. The off road black bear and grizzly bear hunt is what we start May 1 or soon there after.

    These are the dates that you will arrive into camp and depart camp. You will fly/travel to camp between 9 am and 4 pm. Homeward return flight should be scheduled after 5 pm: For example: For dates 6/6-11, you fly to Fairbanks on June 5th, spend the night. On June 6th you fly to camp. You hunt the nights of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and return to Fairbanks about noon on June 11th. The bears must be sealed at F&G. Meat is packed and frozen. You can fly home the evening of the 11th or spend the night and fly home the next morning. IF your departure date is on a weekend when F&G is not open to seal the bear, then the hide and skull are chilled/frozen if needed and sealed Monday and then shipped to you. You pay us a little for the extra trouble (unless you paid for the full in town service) and you pay for the shipping. You may be able to get FWP (Game Wardens) to seal a bear on the weekend or after hours. Please see additional costs below.

    Please note, and keep this in mind when planning your dates: The bear activity at the baits start out slow early in the season. Then it will pick up as the ground thaws, water drains off and, plants start to green up.  Then the bears will start traveling and more bears will track the first bears back to the baits especially as the rut kicks in. Therefore, we prefer to take hunters desiring only one bear early in the season and taking hunters wanting 3 black bears, or groups of hunters wanting multiple black bears, later in the season. Toward the end of the season, we need to watch for rubbed bears. The "prime time" is generally the middle of the dates listed above (May 20-June 15th). So we prefer to start booking there and work both ways as needed. I call the "prime time"; the time when black bear activity and selection is good and the threat of a rubbed black bear is low. Prime time dates can vary some on a yearly basis due to winter conditions and spring weather but this is taken into account. All dates have produced fine bears in the past.

    Special note to bow hunters.

    We hunt primarily out of ground blinds sitting in a chair. Most of our set ups are 20-30 yards away which is close. It will be very hard for you to stand up and draw noiseless or not with in sight of the bear to release. The closer you need to be for a shot the harder it gets for us and you. It is best if you can draw silent behind the blind and stay seated. I am seeing more traditional archers who need or want to be closer and the closer the better. The need to stand up is the big problem This gets to be a problem 2 ways. The first is the close movement and noise factors and the second is the adrenaline rush that comes from being that close to a bear who has looked right at you and knows you are there. It is too close to talk and your guide is probably getting the same adrenaline rush. The bottom line is: if you are not skilled enough to shoot sitting from a chair or refuse to learn and practice, then you should stay at home because you will waste my time and yours. There are good reasons why we typically do not use tree stands. I like lighted knocks. It helps to tell where the bear is hit, good or bad.

    Believe it or not; 20 years ago, I never worried about bow hunters. They killed what they shot at, one arrow one dead bear. They out did the rifle hunters. Now rifle and bow hunters miss or wound at about the same rate. I do not like it or want it and neither do you, so please come prepared and practiced. Same for pistol hunters or spear hunters. There really is no good excuse for missing or wounding at these ranges under these conditions. But the sustained adrenaline rush takes it's toll every year and it is something that hard or impossible to train for. My job is to put a bear in front of you. Your job is to kill it. Beginning in 2016, all bow hunters must have an IBEP (International Bow Hunter Education Program) certification card by law.  -- top

    Alaskan Black Bear Hunting Prices - River Hunts, CABIN AND OFF Road HUNTS
    (Off road 4 wheeler Black and Grizzly Bear combination hunts May 1-31 are priced seperately further below). These dates and prices are also good for the off road 4 wheeler hunts taking place after May 31st

    Hunt costs include YOUR TRAVEL from Fairbanks to and from camp and the first bear. All food, gas, boat etc… is provided. All you need to bring is hunting clothes, weapon, and game bags.

    Black Bear Hunt Prices 2016

    Guides / Hunters Bear Hunting Days Price / Hunter
    1 / 1 5 $5,100
    1 / 2 5 $3,850
    2 Outfitted unguided*
    Drop Off Hunt 2 persons
    5 - 7
    $2,000 each

    To take a second or third black bear you must buy another bear tag, available in camp, and pay a kill fee of $700 per bear. MORE PRICES FOR OTHER HUNTS ARE LISTED FURTHER BELOW. Grizzly kill fee is $2000. Plus you have to buy the grizzly tag before hunting grizzly.

    *Outfitted and Unguided Hunt - 2 person minimum. You will hunt our bait. Everything you need is provided and you will be put in good locations but you must hunt on your own. That means hunt, kill, track, pack and skin out, flesh and salt the bear yourself. Also to BOW hunt, you must have a bow hunter education certificate from the IBEP or similar organization.  $3,000 each, includes 1 bear each, extra bears are $500.

    Father/Son or Husband/Wife Hunt Price - River Hunt Only

    Days 5
    Guides 1
    Hunters 2
    Price per person $3,550

    Price includes one bear each. Extra bears are $700 each.

    Need a shorter hunt? We can do a 1-3 day hunt for a decent size bear (over 5 foot but probably bigger; we average over 6 foot). You might even be fortunate and have a big one come in the first night. The shorter hunts are an excellent choice for those who are short on time and aren't picky on size.  The hunt is priced with a flat rate and kill fee.  We will probably have to fly the plane both ways just for you. More information on Alaska Black Bear Quickie Hunts.

    *Is an outfitted and unguided hunt right for you? These are questions I would ask you and you should ask yourself. Keep in mind, in 27 years, I have seen most, but I am sure, not all of what can happen. Have you hunted bears and killed one in the past? Can you judge a bear for size and sex?  Have you tracked a wounded bear? Would you be comfortable doing so? Alone? Do you know how to skin a bear? Split lips, turn ears, remove the paws and salt the hide properly? Will you screw up the bait site and ground blind by moving around, swatting mosquitoes and talking or wounding a bear then looking for it on all the incoming bear trails during prime time for 3 hours and thereby ruining the bait for the rest of the season or forever? Can you hold off shooting a dink bear 5 feet away staring you down? Can you physically drag a bear out by yourself or with a hunting partner? Will you take 2 hours photographing the dead bear right by the bait, talking and laughing during prime time and scare off 10 other bears? Will you alert and spook 5 other bears at the bait site trying to film your hunt? Will you need a camp and want us to do all the cooking, cleaning, etc..?

    Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Combination Hunt.

    This is a combination black bear and grizzly bear hunt. First we drive over 100 miles out of Fairbanks and launch the 4 wheelers at the trail heads. You must have experience operating a 4 wheeler off road. Trail conditions will be challenging, especially so when we hunt early spring during break up. We have a cabin 8 miles in that we can use, but the trails will probably be so bad that we will camp near the baits we want to hunt. In fact we may have to walk considerable distances just to get there. So you must be able to hike and carry your own gear. The big problem we have is, this is break up and we never know how much snow we will still have left or how early or late it will leave or stick around. We may actually have to use a snowmachine and 3 wheeler if we have a cold late spring. Last year, 2015, was a low snow year with an early warm spring. The first grizzly was filmed April 30th. Typically the baits are being hit by grizzlies by May 10th at the latest. This area has more black bears than grizzly bears but both can and do get big. We killed our first 8 foot black here years ago. The next night at the same bait, we killed a 7 1/2 foot black bear. We caught several big black bear on camera last year and one picture showed a big grizzly and black bear begining to square off at the bait. Beleive it or not; we have seen good size grizzlies scared off the bait by a big black bear boar. We have killed a Boone and Crocket grizzly in this area on a spring hunt years ago. Now that we can hunt grizzly over bait, this hunt should have a high success rate for grizzly. A big black bear should be no problem. This hunt is only available until May 31st. On this is a hunt, 1 guide for 1 hunter works best and availability is limited. It is possible that late in the season towards the end of May, we may be able to fly you in or out. Wolf season is open as well. Look around the web; I see black bear only hunts priced higher than this hunt is priced.

    Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Combination Hunt Dates and Prices for 2016

    May 1-31 Actual hunt dates arranged. 1 guide/1 hunter. 7 hunting days/nights. $8500. No kill fees on grizzly bear or first black bear. Limts: 1 grizzly and 3 black bears. The second and 3rd black bear are charged kill fees of $700 each. Price does not include license and tags.

    Free Fishing? Not any more: Unfortunately the Alaska Board of Fisheries screwed us both. They now require us to be a licensed fish guide business $$$ and as licensed fish guides and we have to fill out daily paperwork along with weekly reports. I spent $1000 and went to the Anchorage BOF meeting and argued strongly against the wording of the new definition of compensation that could be interpreted as making us fish guides also. I asked for a hunting guide exemption. I failed to convince them. It probably did not help that no other hunting guide, guide board, or anyone else testified against it. I still think I am right, but I will not risk a court challenge. Therefore, If you want to fish, there will be a minimum fee of $100/day to help offset license fees.

    All that said: When you go to bed soon after returning to camp and leave your guide up all night and half the morning to skin, flesh and salt your bear; do not expect him to get up the same time as you or to take you fishing the next day and guide you the next night. This is really a hunt. Fishing if at all is limited and highly dependent on whether the water level is rising or falling. Falling is good. And we have to travel to get there. But you can burbot fish in front of camp. Like catfish fishing.

    Black Bear Spring hunt gear list in pdf

    Unit 17 fall spot and stalk hunts are listed further below. Not offered in 2016 at this point.

    Youth Hunters

    If you are under the age of 16 you must have completed a basic hunter education course or be accompanied by a licensed adult who has completed a basic hunter education course. If you were born after January 1, 1986, you must have a hunter safety card. All non-residents regardless of age must have appropriate licenses. All non-residents 10 years of age or older must have tags and harvest reports. A hunter who is under 10 years of age may take big game only under the direct supervision of a licensed adult 18 years of age or older with the animals taken counted against the adults bag limit. -- top

    Licenses, Permits, Tags

    Licenses - I sell all the licenses and tags

      Non-resident Non-resident Alien
    Hunting License $85.00 $300.00
    Fishing (7 days) $55.00 $55.00
    Fishing (14 days) $80.00 $80.00
    Fishing Year Round $145.00 $145.00

    Some pike fishing is available near some of the baits. This is not the trophy size pike but you can catch some fish between 18-36 inches.


      Non-resident Non-resident Alien
    Black Bear $225.00 $300.00
    Brown / Grizzly Bear $500.00 $650.00
    Caribou $325.00 $425.00
    Moose $400.00 $500.00
    Dall Sheep $425.00 $550.00
    Wolf* $0 $50.00
    Wolverine $175.00 $250.00
    State Waterfowl Stamp $5.00 $5.00
    Federal Waterfowl Stamp $15.00 $15.00

    NOTE: A tag will cover any animal of equal or lesser value. *Wolf tag is not required in unit 17 or 20.

    You buy your hunting license and initial tag from me by mail before the hunt.

    Additional Costs

    Non-Hunter in camp $100/day, plus round trip airfare (approx. $390).

    Non-Hunter going on the hunt $200/day, plus round trip airfare (approx. $390). -- top


    Transportation, Hide & Meat Shipment, Extra Costs and Full In Town Service

    You will fly in to Fairbanks where you can stay at a hotel or Bed and Breakfast before/after the hunt. The next day you will fly to the lodge/camp by float plane usually between 9 am and 2 PM. We use boats from lodge/camp to the black bear baits. Cabin and off road hunters may travel by air, highway vehicle and 4 wheeler to and from the hunt location. We pay transportation cost to the lodge/camp and back.  At the completion of the hunt you will return to Fairbanks around noon and you can fly home that night arriving home about noon. The hide(s) and skull(s) must be sealed at Fish and Game before they can leave the State.  FedEX and UPS are located near the airport if you wish to ship anything yourself. If the hides have had enough time to dry and they are sealed, you can take them with you as baggage. The following are things or services you may need that are not part of the hunt price. I have purposely chosen to make these "added costs" because some people need them, some don't and some want them and some don't. To simplify things the contract will has a space to prepay for "full in town service"  which includes all of the extra costs listed below for $200/ hunter or $275/2 hunters. Full in town service also includes picking you up at the hotel room and shuttling you to the float pond or back to the hotel room if needed. We salvage the meat whether you want it or not and whether required by law or not.

    Taking the bear hides and skulls to F&G for sealing: $75/ hunter. Rubbermade tote for shipping hide/s or meat; 18 gallon $20, 28-32 gallon $30. Freezing meat in camp or in town to take or ship home $40. Shipping meat or hides via FedEX $75, plus you pay shipping. Game bags $20/bear. These cost should be paid to me before leaving camp or paid to the person handling you in town as needed. If I have to bill you for it then the price doubles.

    Alaska Black Bear Hunting Camps

    We will be in the Tolovanna Roadhouse or in a tent camp along the river or in one of our cabin or tents off the road system. At a base camp, I provide a full camp with food; all you need is hunting gear and game bags. The Road house is not on the road. It is on the river. The roadhouse name comes from the old dog mush trail to Nome during the gold rush days (1900s). It is the oldest Roadhouse still standing in Alaska. We have the off road cabin mentioned above and another one to the south. We have spike camps along the river and off the road. Both camps have large free standing (stand up in) nylon tents (about 10x15) with plenty of mesh ventilation. Each tent has Rollo-cots and 3" fabric covered air and foam pads. Wood stoves are not needed but we do keep a campfire going on the banks of the river. Permafrost is usually nearby to keep drinks cool. We have showers at the river lodge and off road cabin. You bring any beer, whiskey or tobacco for your needs. Give me notice if you need a light sleeping bag. All you really need to bring is your weapon, hunting clothes, game bags  (or pay us $20/bear), headnet and some mosquito spray. -- top

    Alaska Black Bear Hunting References

    #These people have been to most of my camps and have hunted all seasons and all game along with the fishing. *Hunted as father and son.

    *David Eddins and son Andy TX 903-348-6348;  Bill Jones TX 817-563-1586; *Kai Burkett and 3 O'Connor boys TX 361-645-5050; Dennis Brownley TX  210-616-4175; *Damon Hodges and 3 sons TX 903-238-3191; Don White AR 870-367-1031; David Jacks AR 870-723-5535; Ward Rabb AR 870-367-6905; Ron Leslein GA 478-719-6101; Joe Izganics GA  Mark Robbins MT 406-425-3834; Ervin Justin CA 559-999-2588; *Athol and Cody Schmidt Australia NT 08-879-210-22

    #John Henderson, OH 216-272-4997 -- 2 time hunter 4 bears; #Joe "Kastaway" Kulis, OH 440-232-8352 - 1 time hunter 2 bears; #Bob Migliore, TX 409-737-3986 - 1 time spear hunter; *Les and Curtis Smith, UT 435-258-2144 - 3 bears; Ken Warr, UT 801-963-2627 - 2 bears; #Larry Roby, VA 434-933-8608 - 3 time hunter 6 bears; #Bruce Trapp, OH 440-247-6755 - 2 time hunter 3 with bows and 1 each with rifle and pistol; *Matt and Dan Emery, PA 814-328-5279 - rifle and bow respectively; James Swidryk, NJ evenings 201-991-0860 - pistol hunter; #Vernon "VJ" Jacquel, PA 814-476-1058; *Rich Warren, TN 901-837-1736; Tim Sherick, PA 814-765-1019 2 bears pistol and rifle; *Jeffrey Pannier and Son, PA 412-915-9505; Joe Schleuter, MO 314-348-7472; Carmon Bennet, VA +3 friends 540-483-7454 - all got 2 bears; Bob Jeans, 540-489-6650 *Gordon and Jason Marsh, AL 334-567-0853; Les Forman, UT 801-446-4490; *Reggie Hopwood and son, AR 901-220-6112; *Scott Teal & son, AZ 928-533-8449; #Tom Owen, WI 414-640-7865; #Mike Hawkins, TX 713-249-0838. Brock Feyer Alaska 704-661-4598, Bob Hanna CO (303) 420-4809. Matt Mosher AK 316-765-2096, Nick Murphy AK. 907-743-0447 moose. Jammie Mullins CO 720-219-6088. Jeff Pratt OK. 405-317-1950 black bear

    See our complete list of REFERENCES from all hunt and fishing trips.

    See APGS Black Bear Contract

    PLEASE NOTE: A hunters' tag is considered filled out if they wound a black bear that is not found. Wound means any animal that was obviously hit or knocked down or leaves blood.  If you clearly "miss" a black bear, you pay a $350 penalty to maintain first bear status. The 2nd and 3rd bears are charged under the same conditions. This isn't practice and there is no good excuse for missing a whole bear at 10 - 25 yards. You miss - you pay. It is not my fault and should not cost me money. This also applies to outfitted and unguided hunters. -- top

    Fall Black Bear Hunting Unit 17. Spot and Stalk Hunts. Sept. 20 - Oct. 10 My pilot retired and I sold my plane. I am not booking this hunt unless the new plane owner or another capable pilot signs on. I am not taking bookings for this hunt at this time.

    Smokey Don Duncan's Explanation of why I charge for missed bears: It is not always possible to tell if a black bear was missed completely or not. We have to check it out in most cases; how could you miss at 10 yards? That means we have to disturb and scent up the black bear trails and the bait area which costs us more than the black bear that was scared off. Alaska black bears don't always bleed right away so we have to cover the escape trails looking for blood and tracks. While doing this we are probably scaring other black bears that were trying to come in. And we may lose a productive bait for several days afterward not to mention the spooked black bear will hang up away from the bait if it ever comes back at all. And the blind is definitely done for that black bear. You get to pick your shot. Nobody makes you take it. I asked one guy who took offense to this policy; "How many bears do you think you should be able to miss before my end of the bargain is fulfilled?" No answer. That is why I charge for a "missed black bear". Several factors can prevent missing or wounding a bear and they apply to everyone regardless of "skill, knowledge and practice". First, put a scope on it if you can. Especially pistols or rifles with only open sites. Under low light conditions at 2 am the black sites disappear on the black hide of the Alaska black bear. People who wear bifocals must have scopes, period. Second, the black bears can be close and intimidating for a long period of time. Understand maximum sustained adrenaline rush sometimes. There is a good chance that even the simplest of "check off lists before you fire" is thrown out the window or forgotten altogether. And third, know your weapon and practice with it. The hunt is easy and the shots are close but intimately knowing the weapon is still mandatory. Unfamiliarity is never an excuse. Fourth, in 2012, I had a hunter that intentionally missed 2 bears over 7 foot at close range standing still. Why? To avoid the higher kill fee, and to avoid having to process the meat or tan the hide and pay those costs. How do I know this? He stated he had no where to put the mount (wife says "not in my house") and he asked and I told him, we have to salvage the hide and skull or the meat. He then asked how much the meat processing and shipping would cost. He shot both weapons at camp afterward; both were dead on and he was a crack shot. I found the bullet holes in the ground at both baits. He missed the second bear by 7-10 feet to the left while shooting from shooting sticks at 22 yards. You can't flinch that bad with shooting sticks. I spent 8 hours looking for those bears he could not possibly miss. One bait was ruined for the season and the other took 2 weeks to recover. Wounded includes finding blood or knocking the animal down or the animal definitely reacting to the shot as being hit. II have lost 10s of thousands of dollars in kill fees in the last 5 years (mostly on brown bears) because we could not find blood. The bears were knocked off their feet and did not bleed or did not bleed soon enough for us to find the blood. The hunters would always claim the animal was hit, then change their opinion when we could not find any blood and they saw the chances of finding the wounded bear were slim. They were trying to and did escape the kill fee because we could not find blood. Blood is nice to find but lack of it or the inability to find it does not mean the animal was missed. -- top

    A special note to those afraid of Alaska mosquitoes. Yes, we have them. No biting flies or anything else. They are more of a nuisance than anything. You'll need a head net with good visibility, large mesh and thin thread. A lot of mosquitoes at the bait is a great sign. The black bears bring them. The more mosquitoes the more black bears. We use insect repellant and or thermo-cells. In reality, by the time you put on your camo clothes they can't bite through. About the only thing you need bug dope for is your hand or on your thin glove. Bring unscented cutters in the pump bottle. Do not try to bring aerosol cans on the planes. You can buy those in Fairbanks and bring on the float plane. You may want to check with the airlines or local TSA about the butane bottles used in thermo-cells to see if they are plane legal. Let me know if you need me to have some for you.

    "Dear Smokey,
    You were talking about your black bear area in the interior. You know everybody has been told that Prince of Wales Island is supposed to be the place for large black bears. Well, I personally can tell you that the information has changed. I have been living in Thorne Bay and Whale Pass on Prince of Wales Island for 6 years. I know a large majority of the operations on the island and have talked to many hunters and seen a large number of black bears that have been taken on the Island and the size of black bears has been going down hill . The average black bears that I have personally seen are way smaller than people are saying. I can remember when I first got here. You could drive down a logging road and see black bears all over the place and a good number of those bears being of trophy class. Now the last couple of years the hunters are asking me, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE BIG BLACK BEARS THAT WE HEARD ABOUT?

    Hunters and myself are not even seeing large numbers of black bears period. I’ve been a guide for 16 years and I tell them, “Well you should have come here 5-6 years ago before the big push of hunters pounded this place. When you harvest around 500 black bears a year for a long time, you’re going to have a impact on the bears.” This island is not that large of a land mass, even though it is the 2nd largest island in the US. Most of the S. E. Ak. coastal areas have seen a large increase in the number of black bear and black bear boat hunters. The bears have been shot and killed or educated. It ain’t like it used to be years ago. I personally would recommend that hunters take a good hard look at your area up north before going on a black bear hunt anywhere else. Because of the vast country and your remote location your area is kicking some butt for large trophy class Black bears! Hell, just being able to shoot 3 black bears a season should tell people, there's a lot of good bears in your area!
    Sincerely, Aaron Kulas"

    UPDATE: The Board of Game severely restricted black bear hunting in the Prince of Wales area. Good, smart move. Just not soon enough. The damage has been done and people and businesses harmed.

    There has been a general explosion of boat based, coastal black bear hunting from the Anchorage area down along the S.E. panhandle. Most of the new operators are transporters and are not guides and are not restricted to any particular areas or species. Transporters are very restricted by law in what they can do for you on shore. Basically, they can only load and unload the boat. They are somewhat restricted on what they can do for you on board. They can not help you butcher, skin, flesh, etc… A lot of these operators/transporters are sport fish charter boats extending their revenue seasons before and after the fishing/bear watching tourist arrive. The way this hunt is typically conducted, inherently puts it straddling the line of legal and illegal. The Big Game Commercial Services Board has just authorized a special investigator to concentrate on this area and this type of service providers. Boat based hunting in these areas use to be rather good in the "old days". It was done mostly by brown bear, goat or deer guides who are restricted by guide use areas and guiding logistics and consequently only took so many hunters. This is no longer the case. A lot of the areas have seen greatly increased hunting pressure due to the increase in transporters. Boats usually consist of six hunters/trip. And the areas most likely to be hunted are the areas close to the major harbors and airports. This steady increase in boat based hunting pressure has been going on for some time. And the bears are not as "stupid" as they use to be. I am hearing more and more reports of hunting success failure concerning these types of hunts in these areas. Years ago, under a different guide board, service providers were required to tell you the truth, there was a truth in advertising requirement. It is no longer there. The truth is written here on this web site. The good, the bad and the ugly. You will not be catching halibut or eating crab on my black bear hunt but you will be seeing and killing bears. I can not say for a fact, but I doubt any long term operator or guide has the success rate and or the average size bears taken that we do here in the interior. Our skulls are not the biggest, we will never put you in the B&C books north of the Alaska Range but your hide can square out big and be the best quality in the world. -- top

    Smokey Don Duncan, Owner, Master Guide #136 and P.H.
    299 Alvin St. Fairbanks AK 99712
    Landline: 907-457-8318     Verizon Cell: 435-890-8328

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