Alaska Guided Brown Bear Hunts

Alaska Private Guide Service

Smokey Don Duncan,
Master Guide #136

Alaska Private Guide Service Brown Bear Hunts

Alaska Brown Bear Hunts 2014

NEW: The Board of Game has opened the brown bear season August 20 and increased the bag limit to 2 brown bears.

We hunt brown bear and moose in Game Management Unit 17, 250 - 300 miles SW of Anchorage. We have hunted brown bear and moose in this area since 1991. This web site strives to answer all your questions with truthfulness, but you will need to take the time to read it. In the fall, we have 3 basic style hunts. 1) The early season hunts beginning August 20th are along the main salmon bearing rivers while the bears are feeding on fish. Physically, this is the easiest hunt because we can use jet boats to get close to where the bears are feeding and it is very productive. 2) The moose and brown bear hunts are next beginning Sept. 5th for 11 days until Sept 15th. Both the moose and bears are along the river corridors and in close proximity to one another and our jet boats give us a longer range. 3) The late fall hunts, after Sept. 15, when the bears are moving to the berry covered hillsides. These are more spot and stalk style hunts where the ability to hike the hills is required. We still use the jet boat to move up and down the rivers to reach the nearby hills. Back in the mid 1990s we always did great when the bear season opened Sept 20. So if you are in reasonable shape and prefer spot and stalk, you should strongly consider this later hunt. And the price is lower. Plus you may still get to hunt the river and utilize the moose and bear kill sites.

See a real Spring Brown Bear Hunt 1 and Spring Brown Bear Hunt 2 on YouTube or see photos of APGS Alaska Brown Bear Hunts on Picasaweb. Just select Slideshow or Individual photos of Alaska Brown Bear.

The Board of Game has opened Brown Bear hunting season August 20, a full 11 days earlier. This is a big deal. I have developed a new pricing system to encourage you to come and hunt with us and target bears. You will not find a better deal when you figure in the high level of service and the quality of the operation and the number of bears. Plus moose season opens Sept. 5th. Our most popular hunts in this area are the moose and brown bear combination hunt (second animal on a kill fee) and the 2 bear hunt for 10 days with no extra kill fees.

11 Reasons to Choose APGS for the Alaska Brown Bear Hunt of a Lifetime

  • These Brown Bear Hunts have had a High Success Rate since 1991. With a 95%+ client satisfaction rate.
  • Experienced Alaskan brown bear hunting guides. Average bear hunting guide's age is 50, averaging 9 + years brown bear hunting with me in the coastal bear area.
  • We have Spring brown bears hunts and Fall brown bears hunts every year.
  • We hunt 2 brown bear / year areas. Not one brown bear /4 year areas.
  • We have brown bear hunts in areas that even old men, who should be having bypass surgery, can hunt brown bear and be successful.
  • Our areas in Unit 17 are true Alaskan Brown Bear hunting areas, just as good or better for success as Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula, or the South East Panhandle. More brown bear hunt, less money.
  • Unit 19 is not a brown bear unit. Don’t be fooled. The average bear skull in unit 19 is 24”; the average skull size in Unit 17 is 23”. Save ($4000 for 1 inch)
  • Mobility during the brown bear hunts. During the Spring Brown Bear Hunting Season we have snow machines for covering long distances quick, spotting trophy brown bear tracks and/or bear dens or moving to a spike camp or cabin.
  • Comfortable, fully equipped cabins, base camps and ready to go spike camps with (state of the camping art), "Arctic Oven" tents and steel frame tents.
  • Large remote areas of State land for hunting brown bear.
  • Combination hunts are available. Spring has brown bear and wolf, and Fall has brown bear and moose, (caribou now residents only), with incidental species including wolf, wolverine, and black bear. Free World class fishing available at most fall brown bear camps.

We hunt trophy brown bears in the spring, April 10-May 25, and in the fall, August 20 - Oct 10. We hunt every year in this 2 brown bear / year area. This means that you could take 2 bears in the spring and another 2 bears in the fall. Many fall brown bear hunters choose our brown bear and moose combination hunt.

Since 1991, I have guided hunters for big Brown Bears in Southwest Alaska in unit 17. This area is N.W. of the Alaska Peninsula, and West of Lake Iliamna. Unit 17 ranges from the coastal brown bear areas of Bristol Bay and Tikchik State Park to 150 miles inland to the north to the upper Nushagak River and tributaries. The areas we use the most are in GMU 17 B and C. This large area has a lot of big brown bears. I'll take it over Kodiak, the Peninsula or Coastal South East bear hunts anytime. I have maintained an 80% success rate with many - 100% seasons. The largest trophy brown bear squared 12 feet and is ranked #28 in Safari Club record books. These brown bears grow big and fast because they have a relatively mild and short winter with an unlimited supply of salmon to feast on all summer and an abundance of berries in the fall. The possibility of bagging a big brown bear is real, even a ten + footer, A 9 foot brown bear will have a skull size close to 27 inches. In the spring of 1999, I added snow mobiles, and 5 hunters took 5 Alaska brown bears with the two largest squaring just under 10 foot and the smallest was just under 9 foot, with the average hunt lasting 3 days! Ever since, we have been doing great brown bear hunting in the spring. While my success rates will vary from year to year, season to season and will vary with the hunters' ability and desires; overall it remains excellent for the industry. When comparing success rates, remember, if they paid us we took them. We didn't just pick the cream of the crop so to speak. We catered the brown bear hunt to what they could and couldn't do. And we dealt with unpredictable weather conditions. Still we came up with an industry high success rate. Also keep in mind there are plenty of guides who are excellent at client recruitment because they are good at looking you in the eye and telling a bald face lie. Success rates mushroom. A 6+ foot bear is magically transformed in to a nine foot brown bear with a good photo. And there are several lying guides who operate in unit 17. When you read this web site or talk to me you get the truth. Good and bad. I do what I say I'm going to do. We have an excellent reputation because we provide an excellent hunt (never perfect) at a fair price. We do not make our money by dumping you in a crappy spike tent and leave you with next to nothing edible as some guides do. One guy who chose another guide later told me this; "My buddy and I paid $19,000 each for a moose and brown bear hunt. First we had to pay extra expenses to fly in that was suppose to be included in the hunt. When we got to camp and looked at the food; we had 1 can of Spam and 1 freeze dried / day. If I had not brought my own bag of candy; I would have starved. We had booked the hunt for unit 17 which is brown bear country. We got one small bear in unit 19 which is grizzly country between the 2 of us. Smokey; I work hard for my money, this was my once in a lifetime hunt." And this was a master guide providing the hunt!! I don't have to lie to sell a hunt and I am not going to. You can call and order my brown bear hunting video with 4 different spring brown bear hunts plus lots of never before televised footage. The cost is $8.00 with shipping. Call 907-457-8318.

Which is the best season and when is the best time to hunt? Below is a detailed description of the pros and cons.

Many people have asked me; which season or camp is best? There is no set answer. The weather conditions are what they are when you are there. The season and camp/cabin locations will dictate whether we use snow-mobiles, jet boats for mobility. We have the mobility, adaptability and flexibility which leads to a high degree of bear hunting success. Many factors change each year. Weather, ice break up, snow depth and hardness, physical ability of the hunter, river height, moon phase, salmon runs, berry production and sometimes plain old luck are all important and changing factors. Our various forms of mobility (boats, planes, snow mobiles) and adaptability (large guide areas, and different methods of hunting them) along with the flexibility, (cabins, base camps, comfortable portable spike camps) and experienced, dedicated and ethical brown bear hunting guides makes my operation your best choice. Hunting brown bears does not have to be hard and a smart hunter will be patient and flexible. We will advise you which camp is better for your hunting style and abilities. Below is a brief discussion on advantages and disadvantages of the spring and fall brown bear hunts, followed by a more descriptive narrative. -- top

Spring Brown Bear Hunt Advantages

  • Brown bears, bear dens and fresh bear tracks can be spotted by plane or by riding while riding snowmobiles and glassing.
  • When the snow is hard and snow mobiles can go almost anywhere.
  • Brown bear tracks can be measured for size verification.
  • Big brown bears are more likely to kill a moose or caribou and stay there a while. Plus whales and walruses occasionally wash up dead on the beach which is highly stinky and attractive.
  • We have longer daylight hours.
  • The brown bears can't hide in the snow covered brush as easy, they stick out and they travel more.
  • The first brown bear you see is likely to be a big taker.
  • As the snow melts and the rivers open; I use jet boats for mobility. That gives us a way to get through the transition period and continue brown bear hunting.
  • Plus; wolf, ptarmigan and hare are open until April 30.
  • Many hunters have said that the thrill of riding the snowmachines through the scenic mountains and valleys was worth as much as the brown bear hunt!

The prime time for hunting spring brown bears with the snow mobiles is between April 10 and May 5th. That is when the bears traditionally start popping out of the dens and the snow conditions are good. After May 5th launch our boats and hunt our way up river towards the mountains and glass from the  ridges. The bears will be traveling looking for moose and caribou and calves to kill. They will also seek out over wintered berries on the hill tops and winter kills. This is the time frame when we can bait brown bears if the hunter has a qualifying disability. Otherwise you need to be in decent shape and able to climb hills and travel on foot cross country. -- top

Spring Brown Bear Hunt Disadvantages

If you can not ride a snowmachine or snowshoe you should not come on this hunt. To ride a snowmachine you must be able to go from sitting to standing quickly, ride with one knee on the seat or both feet on one side. Off trail and mountain riding experience is a big help. We can quickly teach you if you can move and listen to what we say. Good conditions and a capable rider almost guarantee brown bear hunting success. Repeatedly getting a 400-700 pound snowmachine stuck in deep snow wears you down mentally and physically pretty damn quick.

In the spring, you generally see fewer brown bears because fewer are out and the first one you see is more likely to be a shooter.

Warm weather makes soft wet snow. Ice bridges on rivers and creeks start to break up. The huge lakes get overflow on the ice. These conditions make mobility tough or impossible by plane and snowmobile. Sometimes you must leave that area, go further north towards K2 or switch to jet boats to keep from getting stranded during the transition period.

The weather can be colder with snow. Low lying fog is more likely making it difficult to see mountain tops and high passes. You should probably buy a higher priced plane ticket that allows you to leave early since a large percentage of my hunters tag out quickly. -- top

Spring Brown Bear Hunt Description

April 10 - May 3

The spring season is actually an extension of the fall season. That is, it opens in the fall and closes in the spring May 25.

Early Spring: We start hunting about April 10. Before then there are some but not many bears out of the dens. Everything is covered with snow so we use the snow machines to get around and spot bears tracks and dens. Then we can set up a spike camp close by. Our typical day would be riding out looking for bear tracks, dens and moose kills. We can cover many miles with the snow machine in a day. We also let our spotting scopes cover even more country. Basically, we are covering ground waiting for the big brown bears to pop out and looking for any signs that they have emerged. On a bright day, with the sun right you can see dens and tracks from many miles away. A mountain with no sign in the morning may have a fresh open den or tracks across it in the evening. We know from experience where they like to den. Sometimes the brown bear will come out and walk around and sun himself near the den and then go back in. He may stay there several days going in and out. Just as likely he may pop out for the first time and start walking and never return to the den. Some of those brown bears will go a ways and dig another den and crawl in and stay for up to a week. No matter what they do initially, they will eventually look for something to eat. That is usually moose, dead or alive, anything. Maybe a kill from last fall. When they moose hunt they cover ground and leave tracks to find. If we can spot a brown bear in the morning of a warm day, he’ll eventually bed down when the snow gets too soft for easy travel. Then we have all day to catch up with the snow machines and sneak in on him with snow shoes. When the snow gets hard again, he’ll travel more. Brown bears love to hunt moose when the snow is too soft for moose that are wallowing in it helplessly. The moose kills are generally in the valleys. When they kill a moose, they will usually stay on it and fight other brown bears for it. In the cases of dens or kills, we set up to watch and wait for a shot. The dens are usually high up on a steep mountain and climbing to reach them is no easy chore. And staying there after sun down without freezing is tough. On this early spring hunt, you must be able to walk some. But most importantly, you must be able to ride a snow machine. In both the early and late spring we can hunt bears along the beach and bays where bears are attracted to whale and walrus carcasses. When the bears get on them it is pretty easy to find and set up on and the bears will keep coming back for quite a while. -- top

Later Spring May 5-25

About May 5: We have to move from the snow machines to the boats for mobility because the snow is melting, the lake are covered with overflow and the smaller creeks are opening up. Of course each year can be different. We may also fly in with wheels and land on wind blown ridges, set up an arctic oven spike camp and hunt on foot from there. When we use the boats, we hunt pretty much the same way we do in the fall. The boats will get us around to where we want to hunt. When I first started hunting this area, the season didn’t open until May 10. Usually we head up river towards the mountains. We hop up on ridges to glass long distance up and down the drainage. There are berries that over winter and the caribou will be calving soon. The brown bears will be nearby. We are always looking for a moose kill. The boars will be looking for a sow to breed, so they travel more. Since the brush doesn’t have any leaves, visibility is excellent.  When the bears travel along the main river or smaller tributaries looking for moose we hunt choke points; places where the bear most likely will travel and or be forced into the open. -- top

Fall Brown Bear Hunts Advantages

THE SEASON NOW OPENS AUGUST 20 AND MORE BEARS WILL BE CONCENTRATED ON THE RIVER FEEDING ON FISH. YOU CAN HUNT FROM TREESTANDS AND GROUND BLINDS UP TO AND AFTER DARK. THERE IS NOW A 2 BEAR LIMIT.

  • The hunt price is cheaper because we WILL BE OUT THERE for moose, caribou and fishing.
  • All the brown bears are out and about and you generally see more bears.
  • We have more ways to make this hunt physically easy. If you can walk to the boat, you can have a legitimate hunt.
  • Combination hunts are possible. We now have an earlier bear season that overlaps the moose season which opens Sept. 5th. A moose and brown bear combination hunt is more successful and convenient than it used to be. Wolf, black bear and wolverine seasons are also open and are priced on a kill fee basis.
  • Brown bears will almost always be attracted to the gut piles, kill sites and meat poles and now we can successfully hunt them when they do.
  • We can set up tree stands and ground blinds for safety, spotting and get closer shots for bow hunters.
  • The weather is more stable. We have full use of the jet boats as the rivers are open.
  • You are more likely to get "A" brown bear (usually closer to 100%).
  • Most, but not all, fall brown bear camps have access to world class fishing.
  • Low water means more fish available for bears to catch and more bears on the river.
  • This is also probably the best method for bagging a brown bear with a bow.
  • We have been in the area fishing before the bear season opens so we know where the bears are and what they are doing.

The fly in camps are positioned so you can watch large areas right from or close to camp. The bears are in the open where you can see and stalk them. -- top

Fall Brown Bear Hunt Disadvantages

The disadvantages to fall hunts are; the days are getting shorter as the season progresses; no snow mobiles or 4 - wheelers allowed in the up river areas. The big bears got big by not being stupid. They do not generally lay around in the open during the middle of the day, which makes the prime time, early and late in the day. Even with spotting scopes and jet boats, we can not cover as much ground as we can on a good day of snowmachining. If September has a lot of rain, and the rivers rise substantially, most, but not all, bears will leave the fish sooner than normal but then they are forced into the more open tundra for the berries. -- top

Fall Alaska Brown Bear Hunting Description

We have several different camps and options available. The basic types are: #1) Hunting along the river hunting the salmon holding holes, moose gut piles/meat pole and the adjacent tundra. #2) Using the boats along the river and hopping up on different ridges along the river to spot up, down and across the river looking for bears on fish, or traveling and eating tundra berries. We can hike the ridges inland to cover more upland country. More spot and stalk hunting. #3) We fly in, usually to a ridge where we can see bear country. We use a combination of hiking and glassing to cover the country.

The bears typically go through a transition during the fall hunting seasons. During the summer and through August into Sept.; the bears are feeding on salmon and staying close to the river. At some point, the bears start to move off the fish and toward the tundra berries, mountain berries and dening mountains. When and how fast that happens depends on the quantity of fish still available which depends on the water level and salmon run numbers.If we are not seeing bears on the river we know they are moving towards the berries on the tundra, and nearby hills.

We can easily cover large sections of river with the jet boats. Some of the best bear feeding areas (on fish) are a very short distance from my K1 jet boat base camp. When we hunt these feeding areas we use tree stands and chairs in ground blinds near where we park the boat. If the moon is out, we can hunt into the dark on full moon nights. We can legally and legitimately hunt after dark. When the bears are silhouetted against the water, all we need is some moon light or clear skies and star light to make a close killing shot. The prime time in any area is the evening twilight. On the river, they become active since the fish can’t see them as well so the catching is easier. The bigger bears (smarter ones) on the tundra will also be active in the morning until the sun hits them hard. Traveling bears will be spotted all during the day. When the weather turns sour with hard wind and rain, the bears generally hold in the cover. When it clears up; they’ll be out in force all day filling their bellies. Eventually, the bears will start to leave the fishing spots and head out to the open tundra and alder patches on the hillsides to feed on berries. The tundra and mountain hillside (under 2000 feet elevation) are always covered with some kind of berries. Then we spot and stalk hunt from our spike camps. When I say spot, I mean you can see a long, long ways and cover a lot of ground so spotting scopes and good binoculars are needed and used. Most of the spotting can be done close to or from camp but being able to hike is required to take full advantage. During this time, bears stay put on berry patches giving you enough time to make longer stalks. It is not unusual to see as many as 9 bears in a good day of glassing. The bull moose are in full rut and we sometimes find a moose that was killed fighting or a rut crazed bull that mistakenly challenged a bear and lost. We can almost always get a bear from a fresh moose kill. Many times, several bears will find the kill and fight over it and usually the bigger ones command and control the kill site. Bears will also feed on our bear carcasses. Plus, wolf, waterfowl, ptarmigan and wolverine season is open. Most, but not all, fall bear camps have world class fishing.

Brown Bear and Moose Combination Hunt

Brown bear season opens August 20 and moose season opens Sept 5. Moose hunters along the river can now pick up their river corridor moose permit in Dillingham as late as Sept. 8th. So combination hunters typically come in between August 31 for a 15 day hunt or Sept 4th for an 11 day hunt and hunt until the 16th. For more information on the Brown Bear and Moose Combination Hunts go to the MOOSE HUNT page. Select the "resident" or "non resident" moose hunting link and read about the various moose hunts. You'll see why most hunters are choosing the combination hunt during the fall -- top

Alaska Brown Bear Hunt Prices and Brown Bear Moose Combination Prices

Please read carefully and pick the price that best suits you. The price of gas, nor anything else, has declined in Dillingham. The price of the spring snowmobile hunt is expensive due to the cost of gas, land use permit fees, short season, guide use areas and additional guides and $10,000+ snowmachines burning 10+ gallons/day each. Gas in most camps costs about $20/gallon.

Brown Bear Hunt Prices

Moose cannot be "added" on to these prices. See combination hunt prices below. Dates are the dates you arrive and depart camp.

Date Ranges Guides / Hunters Bear Hunting Days Cost per Hunter Bear Kill Fee Wolf Kill Fee
4/14 - 4/24 1/1 9 $25,500 1st Bear Included, 2nd Bear $3,000 $200
4/24 - 5/4 1 / 1 9 $25,000 1st Bear Included, 2nd Bear $3,000 $200
4/14 - 5/4 1 / 2 9 $18,500 1st Bear Included, 2nd Bear $2,500 $200
5/4 - 5/15, 5/15 - 5/25 Baited# 1 /1 10 $18,000 $3,000 2nd bear No Wolf Hunting
5/4 - 5/15, 5/15 - 5/25 No Bait 1 / 1 10 $14,500 $2,500 2nd bear No Wolf Hunting
8/19-27 1 / 1 7 $11,000 $2,000 2nd bear $200
8/19-30 1 / 1 10 $13,500 2 bears, no kill fees $200
8/27- 9/4 1 / 1 7 $10,300 $2,000 2nd bear $200
9/1 - 9/16 1 / 1 7 $11,500 $2,000 2nd bear $200
9/1 - 9/16 1 / 1 10 $12,500 $2,000 2nd bear $200
9/16 - 10/10 1 / 1 8 $9,300 $2,500 2nd bear $200
9/16 - 10/10 1 / 1 10 $10,500 $2,500 2nd bear $200
9/16 - 10/10 1 / 2 10 $9,500 $2,500 2nd bear $200

# This is a river boat based hunt utilizing bait for brown bears. We can only use bait for brown bears if the hunter obtains a medical waiver from F&G. Many conditions can apply. Restricted mobility, bad knees, lungs or heart may work. The hunter must apply in advance to Fish and Game for a "Methods and Means" waiver that allows baiting brown bears. The application must contain a statement from your doctor.

* * Wolf is considered incidental and priced as such. This means that once your primary animal/s are taken, your hunt is over and we do not spend money chasing wolves for the chance of a $200 kill fee. Our minimum daily rate to continue hunting for wolves (once your primary animal/s are taken) is $350/day.

Brown Bear Bow Hunts. These hunts are specifically designed for bow hunters. In the fall we have the early season when the bears are on fish and we use tree stands and ground blinds over fishing holes and travel paths. In late fall we have the spot and stalk hunts which are typically located in the surrounding hills out of the river vegetation where the bears are feeding on berries. We may have some moose kill sites to sit on. In the spring we would try and find a bear in the den and set up close by and wait for him to come out. There are no kill fees on these hunts.
   - 4/18 - 4/28 one guide/1 hunter for 10 hunting days $26,500.
   - 8/19 - 9/4 one guide/ 1 hunter for 10 days $15,000.
   - 9/16 - 10/10 one guide/ 1 hunter for 10 days $14,000.
There are no additional kill fees for a second bear on this hunt. However we charge $500/ day to continue hunting after the first bear is taken.

Bear and Moose Combination Prices - This is now priced as a Bear Hunt with a Moose Kill Fee

Date Ranges Guides / Hunters Bear and Total Hunting Days Moose Hunting Days Combination Prices 2nd Bear Kill Fee Moose Kill Fee
8/31 - 9/16* 1 / 1 15 11 $14,500 $2,000 $3,000
9/4 - 9/16 1 /1 11 11 $12,500 $2,000 $3,000
9/4 - 9/16 1 / 2 11 11 $10,000 $2,000 $3,000
9/9 - 9/20 1 / 1 10 6 $12,000 $2,000 $3,000

* This time frame allows you switch emphasis between bear and moose hunting during your 11 day window.
** Wolf Kill fee - $200: Wolf is considered incidental and priced as such. This means that once your primary animal/s are taken, your hunt is over and we do not spend money chasing wolves for the chance of a $200 kill fee. Our minimum daily rate to continue hunting for wolves (once your primary animal/s are taken) is $350/day.
NOTE: If the hunter has 2 brown bear tags and takes a second bear instead of a moose, the second bear kill fee is $2,500. IF the hunter takes a moose and brown bear and elects to take a 2nd bear, the kill fee is $2,500. APGS may elect to not pursue a second bear after primary animals (1 moose and 1 bear) have been taken for many reasons unless the client pays an additional daily rate of $350/day.

Logistics

Travel

You are responsible for getting to where we meet you. All spring bear hunters will travel through Anchorage directly to Dillingham or Koliganek. Spring hunters will leave Dillingham or Koliganek and go directly to camp by plane, boat or snow machine. Early fall bear hunters will fly directly to Koliganek from Anchorage with Dena'ina Air at $310 each way 907-332-2216. Dena'ina has treated us right. We will meet you in Koliganek and boat you to camp. Fall Combination hunters will fly on our chartered plane from Anchorage to Dillingham on Sept 4th . You'll pick up your moose registration permit at Fish and Game and then fly on to Koliganek where I will meet you. On Sept. 16th the chartered plane will fly you from Koliganek back to Anchorage. Round trip costs is about $725/ hunter. IE: Anchorage to Dillingham to Koliganek and back to Anchorage. For this to work right, you will need to mail some of your gear to Koliganek beforehand. Note: Some late fall bear hunters may fly direct into Dillingham with Penair, $400-$500 round trip, and then be flown to camp on a charter.

Some hunters who are hunting only bear choose to leave once they have a bear. Keep that possibility in mind when booking a ticket if your time is important. Airlines are so screwed up now that to change a ticket you basically give up the return and book a new expensive short notice ticket. So booking a full fare changeable ticket at least on the return makes sense.

Most hunters are now mailing their gear ahead to and from Koliganek. We can pick it up and have it in camp waiting for you. However you will want to bring your rain gear with you. In fact you need to wear it on the flight to Koliganek. There is no building at the runway. So if it is pouring down rain and blowing, you'll get soaked before we leave Koliganek and you'll be drenched by the time we make camp. The boat ride to camp is 75 - 100 minutes to camp.

Guns and cases: You will need a lockable hard case to either mail the long gun, (no pistols in the mail) or fly with the gun. Either way, you will need a soft case. IF you fly with your gun, leave the hard case in Anchorage at your hotel (they have storage rooms) or at the air taxi operator. If you mail it, you will leave the hard case in Koliganek. Note the amount of postage and bring that many stamps with you to mail the gun back. Ammo must be in a bullet box and not laying around loose. When mailing gear it is good to mail it in a waterproof Rubbermade tote 18-25 gallons. Bring an extra duffel bag. When you get back to Koliganek, you can mail the gear back in a duffel bag (extra stamps) and we will use the tote to ship the hide and skull to Anchorage and home. You need to bring your own stamps. An assortment of $1, $5, and $18 is a good mix. The P.O. will not have enough. -- top

Pre-Hunt Information

Before your hunt, you will receive a packet containing a gear list, a travel plan sheet, contact numbers and Hunting License and Big Game Tag applications. Total airfare should be between $1,100 - $1,300 from anywhere USA (less from the NW). -- top

Trophy and Meat Shipment

We skin the bear where it falls and remove the skull. At camp, time permitting, we will flesh and salt the hide. However we may need or prefer to freeze the hide and get it to Koliganek where it is flown to a taxidermist in Anchorage where it can be sealed by Fish and Game and then fleshed and salted or frozen and shipped out to your taxidermist. You can take the hide and skull with you as extra baggage if it is salted and dried but it will be too heavy if just frozen. We are not required to salvage brown bear meat. -- top

Licenses, Fees, Permits

NOTE: License. I sell you the license and tags by mail. Do not buy them from the state.

License

  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

Tags

Extra tags are sold in camp. A tag will cover any animal/tag of lesser value.

  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.

Kill Fees

Black Bear $800 / $2,000
Wolf $200.00
Wolverine $400.00

*800 on our river based hunts and $2000 on our fly in late fall hunts.

Permits

There are no permits needed for brown bear. I sell the license and tag. However, if you are on the bear and moose combination hunt; you will need the moose registration permit. available at the Dillingham F& G office Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm July 15th to Sept. 8th. If you shoot a bear and wish to pursue another bear you must first buy another tag. I sell extra bear tags in the base camp but I will not spend a day and $500 in gas to bring you another $500 tag unless you pay me for the added expense.

Additional Fees

We take your trophies to Koliganek at no charge. Dena'ina Air Taxi will likely charge you about a dollar/pound in freight from Koliganek to Anchorage. The taxidermist in Anchorage may charge you fees for sealing, fleshing and salting the hide. I charge a maximum of $100/animal to handle moose or caribou meat donations and I may reduce or waive that fee if the meat is given away at camp to someone in Koliganek.

Non Hunters Charges

Charges are base on whether the non hunter stays in camp, snow machines, fishes, photos, etc… The price must cover transportation, food and lodging at a minimum. Call for exact price. -- top

Alaska Brown Bear Camps

I use several base camps, temporary base camps and spike camps. I also rent cabins on the rivers for spring and fall hunts. The K1 base camp is located on the main river where I use jet boats to move around to hunt different areas. The KS3 temporary base camp is on a tributary river. We use jet boats to reach the rolling small hills along the river where we can hop up and spot longer distances or hike out the ridge for spotting. We also use spike camps through out my hunting areas. I typically use a custom Alaskan made, "Arctic Oven" tent which is water proof, insulated and heated by a wood stove. It is rated for -60 degrees and 100 mph winds. Like I say; my spike camps are better than some guides base camps! In the fall we are going more towards setting up temporary spike camps within walking distance to where the bears are feeding. That allows you to be there early and stay later and gets you in and out with much less noise.

Base Camps are outfitted with steel frame weather and wind proof tents (10x12, 12x12 or 12x20) with wood floors, wood stoves, cots, pads, shower, food, privy, lanterns, cookware, and spike camp supplies, etc... Camps also have V.H.F. radios, which can be used to contact the other camps, the village and planes for in coming or out going emergency messages. You can rent an extra satellite phone in Anchorage for business purposes. (We have 3 Sat. phones. K1 will always have one and the others are used where the radios may not work. K1 is our main base camp. It has a full cooking stove, freezer, generator, tent and trail lights. You will eat good and rest good. You should never have to sleep on the ground or in an unheated tent. And there is always plenty of good food. (Think - Not oatmeal or freeze dry every day if at all.) The cabins are equipped with everything we need. -- top

Handicapped hunt and Methods and Means waiver

Alaska law allows Fish and Game to waive some of the methods and means restrictions for disabled hunters. In this case, they will allow bait to be used to hunt brown bears. IT is not set in stone what qualifies for a waiver. The application instructions lists some examples but they are not the only conditions that will qualify. Congestive heart failure does and maybe real bad knees, who knows? The only way to find out is to apply. The application review will take about a month. The bear baiting season must be open, here in unit 17, that is spring season only; and the brown bear season must be open. So the spring baiting season for brown bears is effectively April 15-May 31st. We have never baited brown bears and never baited this area in unit 17. We have 25 years experience baiting black bears in unit 20.

Our game plan in unit 17 is to place baits along the rivers near choke points and travel corridors. We will use the boats to place and maintain the baits. We will use spike camps to be mobile and so we can stop and set up when we find an active bait. I expect the shots to be 100 yards or so. Not close like the black bear baits. Once an active bait is located, we will set up on it with a ground blind pop up tent and stay there round the clock with a chair, cot, heater and some food. The hunter needs to be mobile enough to walk 100 yards to and from the boat to camp and the blind. The costs logistics for gas and bait will be very high hence the higher price.  

We are also offering a baited grizzly hunt in unit 20 where you do not need this methods and means waiver. Use this form of Methods and Means Waiver.

We are also offering a baited grizzly hunt in unit 20 where you do not need this methods and means waiver. See our spring grizzly page that discusses baited hunts

References

Barry Brevik, PA 724-816-8588; James Swidryk NJ 201-991-0860, Ken and Sara Hebard IA,  641-221-1000; John Smythe, OH 614-354-4211; Mark Hedges, IN, 574-952-7345 cell, 574-935-4526 hm.; Buck & Brad Carroll, GA 478-256-2018; Gerry Mumfrey, TX 214-564-6300; Phil Humphrey, NY 585-765-2139; Bob Stogdill, TX 376-421-9046; Glen Buckner, ID; Joe "Kastaway" Kulis, OH 440-232-8352; John Henderson, OH 216-272-4997; Wayne Shelton, OH 330-336-7001; Tracy Fisher, OH 440-298-1569; Allen Henderson, PA 724-676-5091; Bob Vanicek, PA 814-323-4647; Larry Fenton, PA 814-825- 8182; Joe Marino, PA 814-774-0517; Doug Maine, PA 814-665-3012, Jim Brozell, Pa 814-774-3790, Don Young, PA 814-833-5058; Rick Morris, PA 814-824-8119; Richard Startek, NY 716-826-2003; Ed Fernandez, WI 715-384-8095; Craig and Cory Power, TX 713-535-5500; Bob Migliore, TX 409-737-3986; Wes Neal, TX 713-946-0497; Phil Stringer, TX 281-852-6356; Jim Davis, AR 870-901-0071; Jerry Vestal, VA 434-973-5828; George Johnson, NJ 609-859-2733; Jan Smith, NC 336-434-3283; Jerry Smith, NC 336-279-6022 wk#; Bob Endres, SD 605-886-6502, Dan Wesen, MT 406-586-0775; Tom Owen WI 414-640-7865; Jerry Dennis, AZ 623-327-0934 or 623-341-9271; Barry Barton, PA 724-234-3656.

Fall Brown Bear Hunt: 2010, Report from Chris Reilly, NJ

Smoke;, Just wanted to send a note and thank you for the excellent hunt I had with you this year. This was a landmark year in breaking my brown bear jinx which has been hanging around my neck for about 9 years and included six other hunts. I had a great time with each of my hunts and everyone gave their best but it just never came together. I must have spent over sixty thousand dollars over the years on the hunts and sure did my best to support ADFG and Continental Airlines.. But I digress, I had a great time and Brad is an excellent guide, probably should do two on one hunts as he has that much energy. The scenery, everyone in camp and the silver salmon fishing were outstanding. I look forward to coming back up and seeing if we can get a big old boar, maybe a spring hunt is in order. Look forward to speaking with you soon and if I don't get to you before have a great Holiday. Chris Reilly

SPRING BROWN BEAR: APRIL 13-27, 2008, Report from Ted Martin, TX

I can’t say enough about the people, services, and equipment that Alaska Private Guide Service provided for my hunt. Smokey Don Duncan, Don Young, and Tom O’Connor are truly professionals in their field. Hunting for brown bear in the Tikchik State Park wilderness on snow mobiles is an experience I will always treasure. The logistics of such a hunt is not easy, but these guys made it happen with such ease, which only speaks to their expertise. The guiding, food, and equipment were top notch. They all gave 110% and truly wanted each client to fill their tag. If you want to experience a spring brown bear hunt in amazing country, you can’t go wrong with this outfitter. My great bear will attest to that!!
Ted Martin TX. e-mail: charles.martin@luminant.com -- top

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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
Email: apgs@gci.net

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