Fall hunting season and close encounters
By Erich Neuhaus
Alaska Black bear hunting season is just about underway with the first hunt taking place September 1. Fall hunting is an exciting season as Southeast Alaska Guiding will experience ongoing hunts and expeditions from September 1 through November 30. With black bear hunts running through mid-September, Alaska brown bear hunting season beginning in mid-September through early October, and Alaska mountain goat hunts end the hunting season in mid-October through November 30. So basically from September 1 – November 30, a lot of thrilling excursions will be taking place.
I recently talked to Hans, your Southeast Alaska Guide, about the upcoming season and he’s pretty excited to get out there and see what the fall 2012 gaming season is about.
“Fall is definitely different than the Spring,” Hans said.
In the spring, beach hunting is more common, while in the fall, prepare for some rain forest and stream hunts – basically ambushing the bears when they’re hunting for food. Bring your waders and boots, and prepare to hang out in a stream and wait for those big black and brown bears to come down to eat or drink.
Sometimes the experience in the Fall is a little bit more intimate than the Spring season.
“You’re a lot closer to the bears (in the fall) because you’re in the woods. So your encounters are pretty close. We’re talking sometimes feet,” Hans said.
For the most part, bears want to be left alone and will run off if they see you, but close encounters happen from time to time, especially when a sow is with her cubs and she wants to protect her babies.
That’s when an encounter isn’t wanted.
“A bear can come up on you anytime, anyplace, without you being able to see them,” he said.
Hans told pair of stories about encounters he had with a brown bear sow-and-cubs from a few years ago that got very close. One encounter was really close.
Hans and his other hunter were about 50 yards across the creek from a sow-and-cub traveling the other way. Hans wanted to make sure the mother bear saw them because he didn’t want to scare them. The mom, though, wanted to make sure they were going on their way.
“She had all room in the world to move on, but no, it wasn’t good enough for her and got herself all worked up and all of a sudden she started coming,” he said.
Hans got into the water and splashed a little bit, and the bear stopped, stood up and let out a roar and headed back to her cub before she moved off.
“The main thing is you don’t want to shoot her. That would be a bad situation,” Hans said. “The cub probably wouldn’t survive so you really don’t want to do that.”
But another encounter almost had to come to that.
Hans and his hunter were leaving the forest around a giant dead tree to move on the rocky beach when the pair almost turned into another brown bear sow-and-cub just 20-yards away.
“She saw me and she came like a bullet,” Hans said. “I fired once overhead and she stopped then started coming again. I shot in front of her and still kept coming. Then finally, my hunter stepped around me. He was standing behind and as soon as he stepped around me, she put the brakes on.
“My next round would’ve had to hit her, because I wouldn’t have had another chance to reload.”
But overall, a worst case scenario was avoided by Hans’ expertise and skill, having done registeredAlaska guided hunts for over 25 years. The hunter Hans was with, well, he’ll get to take home the incredible memory of getting as close as a few yards away from a giant brown bear.
That’s what guided hunting is all about. The memories, experience, and stories to tell your friends and family.
Hans will have a story to tell about these upcoming trips so be sure to check back to hear about the hunts this year. They’re all unique and all memorable.
If you want to be part of an Alaska guided hunt with Hans and his crew, call his office to check out the availability of an incredible hunting experience in the beautiful Alaskan landscape. It’s a true great outdoors experience you’ll never forget.