To all hunters...
2008 was a great season for grizzlies, but bad weather plagued us for moose. Spring bear season started out tough with temperatures at night below 0 that kept bears in later than expected, but ended on a high note with 6 hunters taking 3 bears, the biggest measuring 9'3:, none under 8' 11". The fall season was even more productive. Out of 10 hunters, 9 took bears, with the largest measuring 9'8" and another at 9'6". And none were under 8'. In most cases all our bear hunters tagged out within the first several days of their hunt. One hunter said he and his guide saw 10 bears in a single day. The fall weather was the worst I've seen in all my years of guiding. Out of 27 hunting days it rained 24, and one time it rained for 40 hours straight. Add fog for 7 out of the 11 days of moose season to the equation, which often didn't burn off until very late afternoon, and you have recipe for a low success year on moose.
aside from the weather, there were several hunters who actually gave up several days before the end of their hunt and went home very disappointed because they didn't kill a moose. Had they stayed they would've had a good opportunity to take nice bulls. In my pre-season scouting I had very good numbers of bulls over 60" within very close proximity to nearly all of my spike camps that I saw from tech air with my airplane, they started moving in the last couple days of the season. A large portion of our moose hunters went home early because they did not want to take a chance on missing any flight home because of the inclement weather and I can understand this to a point. But if you plan on being late, you can always be pleasantly surprised by getting home on time.
Personally, I feel bad about this because is affects my success as an outfitter, but let me say something I've always told my clients. You will live in a tent in the middle of some of the most unforgiving real estate in Alaska, and you will get wet. Let me repeat that. When you go hunting with me, you WILL get wet while you are hunting. There are no ifs-ands-or-buts about it. Weather in Alaska is very unpredictable. You could easily have rain, hail, sleet, snow, fog, high wind and sunshine...all before noon on a single day. We have comfortable camps with tent heaters to return to in the evening, but with 100% humidity you will not probably be able to dry anything out very fast. It's been this way for the 30+ years I've been in the outfitting business. And it will continue long after I'm gone.
If you're going to spend the money for a guided moose hunt, please realize that all hunts are not guaranteed to take a moose, but I will guarantee 150% effort. That's what it takes to get a trophy moose in Alaska. If you're prepared for the weather physically and psychologically, you have a good chance to take home some of the greatest hunting trophies in North America. In fact, you have to work hard to get any animal in Alaska. The animals are definitely here and live in this harsh environment, but if you quit early, it's a sure bet you will go home empty-handed.
Having said that, let me know if you want to be among the select few hunters in 2009 who want to book a guided hunt with me. We have only limited openings left for our hunts, 5 of our 2007 fall hunters and 2 of our spring bear hunters rebooked for 2009 prior to leaving.
Hello fellow hunters...
A lot of things have happened since the 2006 season...good things. First of all, our 2007 Spring bear season was 100% successful, with the biggest bear measuring 9 ½ feet. Historically we've hunted out of Stony River Lodge, which was great on amenities. However, over the last several years I've had to fly more than 120 miles one way to even see bears. That's a lot of flying and not much hunting. To make a long story short, I applied for and got permission from the Dept. of Fish & Game to set up a new spring bear camp. And, you know what? Living out of that camp for 6 weeks we saw more bears on the ground within a few miles of camp than I ever did from the air. They seemed to be everywhere! This really has the makings of a great spring bear camp and we are very excited about the 2008 spring season.
Next, over the summer I happened to be in the right place at the right time and bought another outfitting business from an outfitter who recently got out of the business. This camp is our Nuyakuk camp and you can get more info about it at www.alaskabiggamehunting.com. It is located north of Dillingham and is about 60 air miles from my existing main camp. The hunting is a bit different with less hilly terrain, a higher moose population and a lot fewer bears. This is a great moose camp, with success hovering around 95% and 1 out of 4 moose making the record book. The only down side is if you want a combo moose/grizzly hunt we will have to move to a different area where there are better bear numbers. From our Titnuk camp you can still hunt moose and grizzly without moving locations.
The weather this past fall was one for the record books. There were 4-5 consecutive storm systems that roared in off the Bearing Sea and lasted for several days with about a day or two in between storms. Some of the hunters had 70-80 mph winds and sideways rain. This really took its toll on the number of quality hunting days for our guests.
But despite the lousy weather our hunters managed to have good success, including a monster 70" moose along with some 9 nice grizzlies. And while I haven't publicized it very much we also took some great Dall sheep. A fellow outfitter and friend in New Zealand took a full curl ram that measured 36 inches and was 11 years old" along with an 8 ½" grizzly with beautiful long hair. Our other hunter took a 42 inch ram that just missed the record book.
Caribou Hunt Status
For the near future I'm not offering any more caribou hunts. There very few decent shooter bulls in the Mulchatna herd. Plus, their migratory patterns have shifted. So, if and until the herd rebounds, I'd suggest you look north to the Western Arctic region around Kotzebue. The animals are slightly smaller because they just don't have the genetics of the Mulchatna herd, but there are over 400,000 of them.
Well, those are the high spots of the '07 season. We're looking forward to another great spring bear season in 2008 and a great fall season with many more options for moose than ever before. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in camp in 2008.
Best personal regards,