Almost two years ago I got the notion to hunt in Alaska, I put in for the draw for Prince of Wales island and was surprised to find out later that I had drawn the tag. By carefully looking at old post here on HT, I new that while not a gimme, it could be done without the use of a guide, so I did a lot of research, found a skiff and cabin rental and went. My hunt started on May the 9th from my home here in Indiana, I flew into Ketchikan on the 10th and took the ferry over to Hollis, from there I rented a car and drove over to Craig to where I stayed. First of all the beauty of the island s unmatched in anything I ever seen down here in the Midwest, the amount of trees was absolutely awesome,and the crystal clear water was unmatched in anything I’ve ever seen. After arriving in Craig and settling in there, I wanted to start scouting, so I took a drive around the area looking at and driving into some of the Clearcut areas near town, there were deer all along the roads and I even seen a couple of bears, so my hopes were high right from the get go! However, I didn’t come all that way just to drive roads and hunt from the truck, so on the 2nd day of my trip I took the skiff out on the water and began searching some of the smaller islands outside of Craig, that day I seen a total of 10 bears, however most of them were very difficult to reach as they were in places that had very rocky shorelines and thus it made it hard to get to by boat, despite that issue I was able to put a stalk on my first black bear, it didn’t work out however, it was exciting to be hunting an animal I had never seen before, and it was a little scary to think this thing could eat me! Day 2 arrived and I basically did the same as day 1 only I didn’t scout as much, I just patrolled the coastlines where I had seen the bears the day before, it started raining and I thought that it might deter the bears from feeding out in the open, but around 11:30 or so the sun came out and seemingly so did all of the bears, I was able to stalk several of them, but every time I’d find one and make a move they would eventually move back into the timber, out of site. While I was eating lunch and driving around in the boat, almost a mile away I seen a small black dot, picking up my binoculars I realized it was a bear and began to move in on it. I am surprised at how close you can get to them in a boat, they pay little attention, I suppose because of all the fishing activity they see in the area, anyhow, as I approached the bear I beached the boat down the coast a ways and began my stalk. It just so happened the the bear was in a small cove, and I had a small point of land that jutted out that broke up my approach to it, as I rounded the corner about a 100 yds I watched as it fed, when it turned broadside, my opportunity to harvest my first bear and my first Real adventure was realized! I’ve never been one to think about trophies but, this animal is by far my biggest success, mostly because of the wild area it was harvested in and because of the sheer amount of preparation it took to see this dream become a reality. I hope everyone that has a dream of some day hunting in Alaska get to do it! This hunt was particularly special because on March the 2nd I lost my best hunting partner, my dad, to cancer, and one of the last things he told me was that he wished he had been able to hunt more with me. When I walked up to my bear a flood of emotions came over me that I had never expected to happen, namely that while I was SO happy that I had done this, I couldn’t share this moment with him. I had however brought some of his ashes with me and spread them in the area where I harvested my bear. I’d like to thank Randy for all that he has done to instill in thousands of people the idea that you don’t have to be a millionaire or pay some high priced outfitter to enjoy our public lands, and I’d like to thank many of you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions on gear lists, ideas on areas, and places to look, it all played a huge part in my success.
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