There is no doubt about it that an Alaskan hunt is the adventure of a lifetime. Especially if you bush plane into a remote location. The terrain is rugged, the animals are like giants of old, and the beauty is unmatched. They call Alaska the last frontier and for good reason. With most of the land uninhabited by humans, it is the prime place to find wildlife of all kinds. There are some things you can do to prepare yourself to increase your chances of success.
- Weather. This is one of the key components to success. I’m not just talking bringing a little rain gear… I’m talking weatherproofing all your gear. It rains A LOT during hunting season. Your rifle needs to be able to withstand the perpetual drenching that Alaska inevitably offers. In order to prevent rusting and damage, a stainless-steel action and barrel is the way to go. Your stock should be composite, and your scope should be waterproof. Additionally, all your clothing should be waterproof. Your boots should be able to withstand the beating of the rugged terrain and weather.
- Weapon Choice. This is critical. Considering the fact that a brown bear is a behemoth of an animal, they require a lot of force to take down. They are incredibly powerful animals. Whether you are hunting with a bow, rifle, or muzzle loader, it is important that you choose the caliber wisely. The suggested minimum caliber rifle is .30-06 for taking down brown bear. The suggested minimum pound pull for archery is 65 lbs. If you are taking a brown bear with a muzzle loader, then the suggested minimum caliber is .50. It is critical to choose a weapon that can get the job done. The last thing you want is to chase a wounded brown bear and it is your responsibility as a hunter to kill ethically.
- Field Judging. Familiarize yourself with the art of field judging brown bears. It’s a special skill that is imperative to have. It can be incredibly difficult to determine a boar from a sow. It can also be difficult to determine a mature boar from an average boar simply because brown bears are large animals in general. Help yourself by becoming familiar with field judging techniques. It could mean the difference to get yourself a mature boar.
- Hire a local guide. Unless you live in Alaska or have some good buddies there, you most likely don’t have the time to scout areas. Increase your chances of success by hiring a local guide, who can get you on prime brown bear real estate. Additionally, local guides offer unmatched wisdom because brown bears are their specialty. Often you can make them a combo hunt and have your chance at Caribou, Moose, or Dall sheep as well.
The nice part about hunting brown bears in Alaska is that you can “choose your own adventure”. Meaning if you want to sit on the tidal flats for some massive coastal bears you can do that. Or for more of an adventure you can chase them in the more inland parts of North America. Either way, hunting brown bears is an exhilarating species to hunt.