As I am sitting there in the grass surrounded by dead salmon, the idea of my five day trip ending on day one finds me a bit sad… so when the hunter missed his chance to shoot and we watched the bear disappear into the brush up the creek I was doing a happy dance, on the inside of course.
From Germany to Alaska… Quite a Journey
Being from Germany, the U.S. holds promise of wide open spaces and a bit of a mystery. After living here for over 20 years I have gotten used to it, but Alaska still amazes me. Is it the wide open spaces, low number of people or wildlife? I have had the opportunity to make several trips to Alaska but I have to say the most memorable was the one in September of 2010. I went coastal Alaska black bear hunting as an observer.
Getting There Was An Adventure
My trip started in Denver Colorado with a layover in Seattle Washington and then on to Anchorage, which has is one of my favorite places to fly into other. I landed around midnight and then curled up at the airport to catch my early morning flight to Valdez to start my adventure. As we approached Valdez there was fog, but you could still see town below. However, there wasn’t enough visibility to land so needless to say the entire group of people on the plane where more then disappointed when we pulled up the landing gear and flipped a U-turn to return back to Anchorage. I was going nuts as I could see the yacht in the harbor below waiting for me to start the hunt, ahhhhhhhh! Back in Anchorage I was able to book a flight with Grant Aviation who thankfully got my in to Valdez save and sound. I hit the ground running to the Harbor of Valdez to get on the yacht.
Day 1……… Settling In
Even though I am totally an “all outdoors” girl the idea of spending the next five days in a tent in the Alaskan wilderness with a bunch of creepy crawlies all around and not to mention a HUGE population black bears holds no appeal to me. So the only way to go, in my opinion is with a vessel based hunt. Nothing like coming back to a warm meal, hot bath or shower, and a nice warm bed after a day of looking for a big coastal black bear. The first day was spent on the yacht heading out of the Port of Valdez, past the Columbian Glacier and on to our hunting area. After a nice meal on board, the guys filled out paperwork while I couldn’t get enough photos of the breathtaking scenery that Alaska has to offer. My camera was going off like a machine gun.
Day 2……. Let The Alaska Black Bear Hunting Begin!!!
Breakfast and an hour of layering various clothing we’re off to sight in the hunters’ rifle and then we were off and hunting. After about an hour of cruising along the coast in the skiff we spotted a nice big bear. We anchored the skiff, jumped out (five second into it and hip deep in water, I have discovered that my hip waders are less then waterproof) and snuck into less then 50 yards from the bear who had not a worry in the world, moseying along the beach munching on salmon. It was the perfect situation, the wind was right, and he had no idea we were there… and was broadside. It was determined that he in deed was a VERY nice male aka shooter. As I am sitting there in the grass surrounded by dead salmon, the idea of my five day trip ending on day one finds me a bit sad… so when the hunter missed his chance to shoot and we watched the bear disappear into the brush up the creek I was doing a happy dance, on the inside of course.
While the guys discussed why the shoot was not taken (blah blah blah) I volunteered to work on my kayaking skills and returned to the skiff which we had left anchored way out to sure we would not get stranded as the tide moved out. I gotta say for a cowgirl who had not seen the ocean before the whole tide moving in and out is just pretty dang cool all the way around (-:
So you all be sure to join me for the next post in a week to hear about the two toads we saw the same evening….
by Tabitha Smith