Hey, Hey, BooBoo!

Congratulations ! And a great write up. S E and the Tongas is like nowhere else. But as a guy from south central I kinda like it here.
And we have moose. And lots of wolves too. A few bears cruising around of both colors. If you'd like to hang out at our cabin for a bit that would be great. Pretty good hunting and a warm bed all in one.
I knew I would want to be out when I got older and was blessed be able to build this. Got the land in a lottery and now have a place in the middle of nowhere with lots of untouched public land.
Anyhows my beautiful wife likes when I don't go out alone. And the welcome mat is out. 09E7C847-A67E-4254-84C1-CD839F855A40.jpeg77A3B9D3-A852-4334-9FA9-AB762DF63FD7.jpeg20210325_073038.jpg79C64E49-44AB-4251-9912-26755EAED3C8.jpeg20210317_114422.jpg
 
Here's the story of Jim's hunt.

After he and Frank helped me and Jace get my bear to the boat, the evening was spent eating Sitka Blacktail tacos and planning locations where Jim might find a bear that met his standards. With his stack of big bears and him using a .58 caliber Hawken, he felt he had to cover a lot of ground.

Up the next morning, we were cruising beaches and looking for more bears. Some small ones, but nothing that got Jim excited. Late in the morning we decided to head over to where I shot my bear and see if there might be some eagles Jace could film while they finished off the carcass.

From a distance, it was obvious there was another bear on the beach a couple hundred yards west of where I shot mine. He was weaving in and out of the driftwood litter. Jim stated he was worth a look.

I beached him and Jace, staying behind to hold the boat in the wind. After about twenty minutes Jim came back to the boat with a big smile. He told me the bear was a very good bear, no rubs, and then told me to go look at the bear around the corner near where my carcass was.

With Jim holding the boat, I walked over to where Jace was filming both bears. "Holy crap, that thing is a beast." Yeah, he was rubbed some, but he was surely bigger than the bear I shot and was feeding only about fifty yards from the carcass of my bear. I glassed a bit more and told Jace I was going to hold the boat while Jim got his gear ready.

When I got to the boat I asked Jim if that bear was as big as he looked. Jim confirmed he was. He agreed it was bigger than my bear.

I told him to get going and I would hold the boat or go back to the big boat and wait for his inReach. He said he wanted to go look again and see what the wind was doing in that back estuary.

About a half hour later, he and Jace came back to the boat. I was excited to hear the plan he had crafted. Jim explained the wind was now SW, a ninety degree change from when I shot my bear last night. He felt it would make for a difficult stalk to get within Hawken distance.

Jim felt that bear was worth his time to hunt here for the next two days of our hunt and he didn't want the bear to smell him, knowing if a bear smells you, the odds are you will scare him away for good; he'll go find a different area to feed and hang out or just be mostly nocturnal.

I admired Jim's patience to hunt this bear under better conditions. I offered him the Howa, knowing he could sneak to 200 yards and have that bear as his own. He didn't even think about it, just smiled and quipped, "Na, I'll get 'em."

With the incoming tide we headed back to the big boat, glassing some smaller bears along the way. Once on the boat, Jace loaded some footage of this bear for Jim to inspect. Yup, everything he was looking for. A bear that meets Jim's standards is "big." For it to be within yards of where I killed my bear was remarkable. The other bear that we spotted and caused us to look more this morning was no slouch either.

A plan was hatched for the evening hunt. I'd drop Jim and Jace off at the beach, they would sneak to a setup based on wind direction and wait for the old boy to feed out. I'd spend the rest of the evening at the big boat and wait for their inReach to bring the packs and knives.

That's what we did. Unfortunately, the only bear that fed out was the other "nice" bear. That bear was not appealing to Jim, even with his perfect black coat. I wish I had been there to watch, but a third person was just more noise, movement, and odor.

I picked them up before dark. Back at the boat, Jace showed footage of the other bear. Damn, in most hunts, surely in Montana, that bear would be in big trouble. To think a bear of that quality was the third best bear on this stretch of beach makes me think I might want to come back here in a few years and look for him.

After dinner of blacktail burgers, we retired to the bunks. Jim confirmed his commitment to hunting that bear again in the morning, stating the old axiom, "You don't leave huge bears to look for smaller bears."
 
It was now Tuesday. With predictions for high winds coming on Wednesday afternoon, Jim wanted to call the hunt around noon on Wednesday, giving us time to run the few hours back to the ramp without too big of waves.

After a quick breakfast we retrieved the bags of my meat and hide that hung in the shade on a cool breezy point. I then dropped Jim and Jace back at the beach. The low tide would come around 11am. Jim told me to be there at noon to pick them up. There was almost no wind. Hopefully that would help them.

I retreated to the big boat and spent the morning processing my bear meat, putting it into small freezer bags, and freezing it in the small freezer the Lindell had under one of the hatches. This was one of the better smelling spring bears I've ever had. I look forward to eating him. I fleshed out the rest of the hide and removed the feet from the claws.

When I arrived at noon Jim and Jace were waiting for me. Obviously, Mr. Big did not show up. One small bear made an appearance. Amazing how many different bears were using this long beach and estuary. It made me wonder if there are multiple bears using the good spots and I just need to spend more time in those areas.

A good afternoon nap had everyone in high spirits. Jim and Jace loaded the skiff and I hauled them back to the beach for the evening hunt. Not too much wind, but again, what wind was there, was coming from the SW. Not good. They'd have to make another big loop to have any chance to set up.

I got an inReach to come get them around 9pm. That was not a good sign. They confirmed such when I got to the beach - no bears came out tonight. Damn it, they needed a better wind to hunt this spot. The bears were out, as Frank and I saw two younger bears from the anchorage of the bigger boat. Just likely these bears had circled downwind and were waiting for safer conditions before they came out to feed.
 
We woke for the last morning of the hunt. Jim was still committed to the big bear he had seen on Monday. We motored over to the beach. It was calm, deceiving of the 20+ knot winds to come later in the day. Hopefully that would allow them to get a set up and Jim could get a roundball in the big old boar.

Back at the big boat Frank and I got everything ready for the run back to shore. I waited for an inReach. Finally at 12:30 I heard the beep of a new message. Unfortunately, it was not a message to bring packs and knives, rather to come pick them up. Dang it.

When I got there, they reported not a single bear had come out. The wind was good, but still no bears. Jim had surely given a good effort to a bear surely worthy of such. I wish I had grabbed some images from Jace to show that bear. I'll get some uploaded later this week. It was a whopper.

We pulled anchor and made the run back to the boat ramp. We loaded up our gear, gave our thanks to Frank for the pleasure of Camp Lindell, then headed to Jim and Karen's house. We spent Thursday filming interviews and wrapping up the episode. Later Jace and Jim caught a lot of sea-run cutthroats. I'm not yet cleared to run a fishing rod, so I gave commentary about how they should fish.

The trip was one of those where everything goes better than it should, short of Jim not hanging a tag on that big bear. Sometimes you work your butt off and fight terrible conditions only to come home empty handed. This time, I felt we got more than we deserved, especially with good weather and cooperative bears. We counted 26 total bear sightings, a few of which were likely duplicates. Not bad for five days of hunting.

Super thankful for the use of a big boat. It is not something I ever expect to happen again, but with it working out as it did, we will gladly share our footage and images with Lindell for the comforts created. Having done this hunt many times in tents and cabins, the bigger boat solved a lot of logistics we normally face.

As with all hunts, it seems we end up trying out a few new things. On this hunt, two stand out for me.

Nosler suppressor. This was my first time hunting with a suppressor. A couple weeks ago, @brockel stated that once you hunt with a suppressor you will never hunt without one. I agree. Having a short barrel on the Howa SuperLite makes the suppressor very manageable and it makes a .308 feel like a .223.

Caribou Gear Rifle Shield - It's always raining up there. Except for this trip when it only misted a few mornings. This shield has a large enough muzzle cover to snuggly fit over a suppressor. Easy on, easy off. I've never hunted with one before and I can see it becoming a normal part of my gear in fowl weather.

Big thanks to Jace for his hard work and smiles. He loves this part of Alaska as much as I do, having done an internship up here. He's great with a camera, always smiling, and happy to encourage me to shoot.

Thanks to Jim and Karen for their kind hospitality. They are always inviting me up to hunt with them. I wish I could take them up on more offers, but I suspect they'd tired of me. Jim is a ton of fun to hunt with. All smiles. Being a geologist and hunter who has worked for 30 years on the Tongass, he's a huge fountain of knowledge that adds so much information and intrigue to every hunt. I enjoy it when he comes south and I get to return some of the favors.

I also admire all of Jim's conservation work. He's volunteered for many projects related to bears and blacktail deer. He now does that officially by leading a lot of the Sitka Blacktail efforts on behalf of the Mule Deer Foundation.

Thanks Jim. You're a true friend.

I hope all of you put the Tongass on your trip list. Whether it is fishing, hunting, or just touring, it is a remarkable landscape that is a true treasure. So much to do that I never feel that I do it justice.
 
I hope all of you put the Tongass on your trip list. Whether it is fishing, hunting, or just touring, it is a remarkable landscape that is a true treasure. So much to do that I never feel that I do it justice.
The very first hunting trip my wife and I took outside of our home state of WI was to the Tongass on POW that was a direct result of influence from a video called "Alaska Blacktail Dreams". We were researching logistics and whatever we could find to putting together that adventure and stumbled across your video and it was the very first time I had ever heard of you. I was hooked and we felt that we could make this work with you as inspiration. You have likely no idea how much I truly do owe you for that.

Its been almost 8 years since that research happened and every year since we have been putting in for spring bear on that island (we hunted blacktail and had a fall bear tag back then) and although the odds aren't really that bad to get a tag, it has taken this long to finally draw it so we can head back to where it all started for us. Beyond excited to get back to that place and I'm sure we will continue to apply for a bear tag there each and every year because I don't think a person can truly get "too much" of that special place.
 
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Cool write-up and great bear. The Tongass is really amazing. Congrats once again!
 
Congrats on an awesome trip and a special bear. I'm sure the hard work of PT and recovery made the success even more sweet.
 
Thanks great write up. Finally, this spring has been a little light on bears. Hope to do this trip sometime.
 
Yeppers real nice to get back out in the bush. But I suspect that the bears went nocturnal. They see plenty of boats. And can get smart fast, while the younger bears haven't learned as much about caution. And they can smell, good. I believe that walking in areas where bear can be hunted can contaminate the area. You have any thoughts here ? And you can get into some big woods.
I've hiked to the top of Naked island north of Montague. Not much beach but more straight up. Those little deer look like grey ghosts in the fog. I've got a rack of ribs and burger to throw over a fire.
I harvested a beautiful 2 year old black sow a couple years ago. Beautiful wife n me were having morning coffee, fresh from the woodstove coffee pot. I went to throw out the coffee grounds in the bottom of my cup. Stepped out on the deck. While taking a good look around the cabin, there is this little bear. I stepped back into the cabin n politely ask her if she wanted to harvest a bear. She grumble a heck no she hadn't finished her coffee yet.
Well I did. I couldn't believe how clean this fall blueberry black was. Clean as anyone's cat. 2-3" of pure white fat. Beautiful wife finished processing into brats n sweet Italian sausage. The fat went into the moose burger mix. Great taste.
We have so many that the board of game authorizes 3 black per season, just need free harvest ticket. And 1 brown bear. All the wolves you can get.
Nice story, and hanging with ol friends n going hunting n ocean fishing. Oh yeah, thats the life.
I read about folks wanting to come up hunting. Beautiful wife taught me that if we wait until we have the time n money we wouldn't do much.
And life only gets tougher. Get the family or friends to get out.
Life can happen to anyone at any time. And lots of memories can mean a lot more than money. Just can't go buy those.
Just trying to inspire folks. And as the boss here is rightfully trying to inspire others to use our public lands. And try to find more ways to get families out. It is your lands tooooo
 

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