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Story of Len Onorato's 2016 Fall Brown Bear Hunt

This is a short synopsis of my fall Brown Bear hunt on Admiralty Island Alaska. I contacted quite a few Guides and outfitters in my quest for a Brown Bear. I lived in Alaska and personally new a few Guides. I’ve hunted a very large Grizzly Bear in the Taku River and a nice Black Bear in the Wrangle Mts. I always read about Admiralty Island and wanted to go hunt the Brown bear. So, I did some research and heard of this guy Hans Beartle, he owned 50’ boat. I called Hans and was surprised he didn’t call himself “Master Guide” like many so called Master guides do. He answered my questions. Hans has 37 years being a licensed guide but was humble about his achievements, licensed Boat Captain, Guide, commercial fisherman, Cook, and his skinning skills are superb. I decided to hunt with Hans, but it was close there were two other guides I could have hunted with, both on the Alaska penninsula, and had great references. I read the Admiralty bears are aggressive and I wanted to be with someone who I could trust to have my back, in case things went bad. That is all in compassing being a good decision maker when it comes to the go, no go, on the ocean. I lost two good friends on Kodiak Island because they made bad decisions and died in the water for it. They over loaded a skiff with five people a dog and equipment! After meeting Hans I knew I made the right decision Very professional and caring. He really wanted Burt and I to get a nice Bear. I was coming off of an achilles tendon operation, and my leg was weak. I purchased waste waders but they were not the right kind and did make a deference hunting on those slippery damn rocks. Hans was very patient and made me a walking stick.

I knew if Hans could get me close to a decent Bear I could shoot him with my Sako 375 H&H magnum. We hunted and saw many Bears, but not any that Hans wanted me to shoot. On the eighth day on Thayer Creek we saw what I thought to be a nice bear but Hans said no. I wanted to get my bear on Thayer Creek, but I reluctantly didn’t question Hans jugdement. Hans runs the hunt, and that’s what I was paying him for. Hans knows his hunting area, the wind, the creeks, the salmon runs and the bears. I’ve been with about 12 different guides over the years, non can compare to Hans, he does things other “Master Guides” wouldn’t even think about doing. Plus he works harder than anyone I’ve ever been with. He has the discipline to get the job done. Well, on the day eight of my hunt we saw my bear coming out of Thayer creek. I couldn’t tell if it was a decent bear but Hans gave me the Green Light. My first shot was right in the shoulder and the bear lurched then he wanted to get to the thick area, so I shot four more rounds at 90 yards, into him from behind. This bear took over 18000 foot pounds of energy and then expired. My hand loaded 270 grain Swift bullets did their job. Darkness moved in quickly, we had no time to skin the bear, so Hans suggested I take my long john shirt and cover it to get my human sent on him to keep the other Bears away till morning. Hans woke up early and turned on the generator, and we set out to skin my bear. This was really a hunt of a life time for me, even though I’ve been on about twelve guided hunts and hunted since I was a young boy on my Uncle Tony’s farm. Hans, Natalya, Lucas and Burt made this hunt super special for me. I can’t thank them enough.

Hans Baertle is truly an Expert Bear Guide.

Stay safe hunt safe’

Len Onorato 



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