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Brown bear hunts in western Alaska -- fly in or flat by raft

Pat O'Brien, long-time Hunts.Net customer, and his 8'4" brown bear.

Hunt BR4950

Hunt, hunter:guide ratio Price per person
Brown bear float or fly-in trip, 10-day hunt $9,500 with two hunters per guide
$12,500 with one hunter per guide
Trophy size Travel
Most hunters take bears ranging from 8 to 9 feet. The biggest bears in the area usually square over nine feet. 10-footers are a possibility but are rare. Fly to Dillingham. All air charters from there are included in the price. You will fly into the area the day before your hunt begins and fly out the day after the last day of your hunt.
Lodging/meals
Backpack tents, backpack meals.
Licenses Notes
Over the counter tags. Click here for the latest price. Fishing is good for silver salmon, rainbow trout and Arctic char

Another view of Tim's great old sow.

The Arctic grayling are healthy in the river, too.

Hunts.Net CustomerTim Lynch got an "ancient bear with messed up" teeth -- an old 8'8" animal.

Update, 2/2/2011: The hunter on the float trip in 2010 got his 9'2" bear the first day at 90 yards. There is a chance to shoot a moose in 2011.

Here's a chance to hunt brown bear with a small outfitter who keeps his overhead down by doing all the guiding himself.

This hunt is offered by a former Air Force recruiter whom I met more than 20 years ago when he was based in northern Utah. He ended up guiding for me on one of our mule deer leases and did a great job, getting along with customers and the other guides and producing three great bucks the first season.

Greg Muh's brownie was just shy of 8', but it was a beautiful bear. After he shot it, he saw four other bears that day, including a nine-footer.

He loved the Rockies but was always attracted to Alaska, so when he got a chance to transfer to the Air Force base in Anchorage he was gone. And soon he was guiding every September for one of the bigger outfitters in Alaska and soon gained a reputation as their No. 1 guide, consistently producing the biggest moose and caribou and the most bears for their customers. That company sold out a few years ago, and by then he had gained registered guide status (the equivalent of an licensed outfittter in the Lower 48).

Brown bears in Western Alaska are typically between eight and nine feet square, such as this typical bruin.

He currently offers a float trip hunt in an area that holds a good number of bears. His prices include the flights to both the starting and ending points of the float trip. Flying days are not counted in the days of the hunt, so on a nine- or 10-day trip, you can hunt every day. Though non-residents may not hunt moose near the river, you may take a black bear, wolf or wolverine if encountered on either hunt. You also can enjoy world-class fishing for red-colored silver salmon in the six to 10-pound range, rainbow trout from 18 to 25 inches long, and Arctic char in the 16 to 23-inch category.

His hunts are a bit less expensive than some brown bear hunts, and that's because he avoids high overhead by running a small operation. He doesn't hire an assistant or a cook, so he wants hunters who are willing to pitch in with raft and camp work.

There are enough bears in his both areas that there is a good chance of producing a bear for two hunters as long as the weather cooperates. So, unlike most other Alaskan outfitters, he offers the option of a less expensive hunt with two hunters per guide.

Most hunters get a crack at a bear between eight and nine feet square, and the bigger bears in the area are usually over nine feet. Though he has seen bears pushing the 10-foot mark, holding out for a bear of that size is unrealistic in most of western Alaska. The country is generally open, so hunting is by glassing , then spotting close for a shop. Occasionally you'll see a bear right from the river, but hiking to vantage points and glassing large expanses is the most productive method of hunting. -- Rich LaRocco

Greg with a rainbow trout. Fishing is excellent on this remote river.