POW fly-in hunt (pictures and everything)

wllm1313

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When I was in high school my family took the ferry from WA through SE AK and ever since I've always wanted to go back. I've done a couple of spring bear hunts at this point. I've hiked logging roads and climbed mts with a spotting scope, both of which are a blast, but with this trip I wanted to try something a little different; fly in and hunt via a boat.

Having lost my dad just months before I applied for this tag, my father-n-law volunteered to accompany me on the trip.

We arrive late in Ketchikan and stayed at a local hotel, they picked us up at the ferry terminal and took us over to safeway to grab some last minute supplies, including dry ice for the cooler.

Seems, like no matter how hard you try you bring way too much crap. That said we managed to get all our gear, inflatable boat + motor, and two hunters into the plane with room to spare.
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Definitely the best ride into camp I've even had

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Since you can't hunt the day you fly we set up camp and then did some fishing.

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Day 1 we headed out and found our first bear, went in for a practice stalk but got winded.
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Came back to camp to find fresh sign everywhere, around 9pm this little lady padded out about 120 yards from the tent.
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Day 2 I decided to go for a little walk up the stream behind camp.

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It took over an hour to go .25 miles, fallen timber in the river you couldn't climb over + nasty crap on the banks... new appreciation for the climb BigFin did in Rain Deer, the vegetation is spiteful.
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Came around a bend and this guy was at 35 yards hanging out.



Day 3 we headed out and found a good glassing spot, we decided that since we only had a couple of days left we needed to actually start hunting do more than just look at bears.

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We spotted what looked like a decent bear and went for a stalk, we were able to get up to just under 100 yards spent what seemed like 15 min looking at the bear.
Definitely a boar, great coat, decent size, although not a monster by any means... and more importantly the time and conditions for a perfect shot.
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I was able to make a good clean shot took, a even better bear than I had thought.
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We were pretty close to camp, so we decided to load the bear up whole and make the quick trip back to camp.
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We skinned the bear, boned out the meat and were able to get everything into our coolers. I had waffled back and forth with salting versus freezing, but since we were able to get our hands on dry ice I decided to skin out the head, turn the ears, remove the toes and then just freeze it. ( You have to present the unfrozen, skinned out skull for checking)

Neck and rib meat didn't make the photo...
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Our last couple days we spent hanging out around camp, fishing, and enjoying the freakishly good weather.
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As were packing up our camp we had a final visitor to our spot.

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Things got a bit tight on the way out, but the locals turned out to give us a send off

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and we got an amazing sunset
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Really appreciate BigFin for helping planting the seed of this idea in my head and @Randy11 @MinnesotaHunter @muskeg for putting up with all my pestering.
 

wllm1313

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Awesome recap man. Looks like a great time. The SE Alaskan understory is in a league of it's own, isn't it?
It's Unreal... definitely want to go back for a black-tail and fight my way up to the alpine. One of the coolest places I've been lucky enough to hunt.

Also biggest gear take away of the trip... load what you think are the right amount of brews... then double it.
 

JLS

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It's Unreal... definitely want to go back for a black-tail and fight my way up to the alpine. One of the coolest places I've been lucky enough to hunt.

Also biggest gear take away of the trip... load what you think are the right amount of brews... then double it.
When I was in college, I spent a summer in SE AK working for the Forest Service as a timber cruiser. We spent every day in that crap. One weekend, a couple of coworkers and I decided to hike into an alpine lake that was rumored to have grayling in it. We drove in to our bushwhack point, and took off up the mountain. I foolishly believed once we left the timber life would become easier. We hit a band of some sort of berry bush that was intermixed with thickets of Devil's Club. It was nearly impenetrable, and the next 500 feet of elevation were unforgettable. On the flip side, once we hit true alpine, the sailing was smooth. We saw an incredible number of good black bears, and a couple of nice blacktail bucks.
 

wllm1313

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When I was in college, I spent a summer in SE AK working for the Forest Service as a timber cruiser. We spent every day in that crap. One weekend, a couple of coworkers and I decided to hike into an alpine lake that was rumored to have grayling in it. We drove in to our bushwhack point, and took off up the mountain. I foolishly believed once we left the timber life would become easier. We hit a band of some sort of berry bush that was intermixed with thickets of Devil's Club. It was nearly impenetrable, and the next 500 feet of elevation were unforgettable. On the flip side, once we hit true alpine, the sailing was smooth. We saw an incredible number of good black bears, and a couple of nice blacktail bucks.
How was the fishing though?
 

neffa3

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Badass trip, thanks for sharing. Looks like you got pretty decent weather. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would to rate the various aspects of the trip (you pick which aspects you want)?
 

brownbear932008

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Awesome I love SE AK such an awesome place. Gotta love you some devils club. I had the fun of falling off a log into a whole patch of it.
Beautiful bear
 

Randy11

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That's awesome! Looks like a hell of a trip. Very well done.
 

wllm1313

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Badass trip, thanks for sharing. Looks like you got pretty decent weather. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would to rate the various aspects of the trip (you pick which aspects you want)?
Bears -10
Fishing -4 (user error)
Weather -11 (who goes to SE for a 9 days and doesn't get a drop of rain)
Devils Club - 7 (perfect amount of pokey)
Transporter - 9
TSA - 2 (lost my rifle coming home, spent 15 min checking my case in (yes I timed them) pulled out rifle, ammo, cameras, etc. put each layer of foam in separately, and hand checked all the foam for ???)
Gear-8 (pretty much had everything we needed, could have paired it back a bit)
Tides- 3 (got hosed one day and missed a morning of hunting due to being stranded
Beer selection -8.5
Beers per day per person - 3 (see previous comment)

Also... had a bit of BigFin motor luck... those damn things run on black magic and just don't respond well to being bounced around in planes. We got everything squared away on the first day... but not without 90 min of tinkering.
 

npaden

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Very nice. Thanks for sharing. That last bear to visit while you were packing up camp looks like a pretty good one. I guess it's like they say, the only way to shoot a giant bear on the last day is to not shoot a big one earlier in the trip.

Congrats.
 

neffa3

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I'm been wanting to do a trip like this for a while, not sure I would do bear, but something in SE AK. What gear did you bring and what do you think you could have done without? What's the backstory on the fishing only being a 4? What ended up being wrong with the motor? Sorry lots of Qs
 
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Muskeez

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Awesome adventure! Congrats!! Would you say this type of trip is best done with 1 shooter and one observer? You obviously saw enough bears for 2 shooters to harvest. Probably not a 3 guy type trip based on the size of your boat and plane?
 
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