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Hunt big brown/grizzly bears northwest of Iliamna, Alaska

This hunt takes place in an area where the big bears are considered grizzlies by Safari Club International and brown bears by the Boone and Crockett Club. Hunter success ranges from about 70 percent to 100 percent, depending on the year. Several of those bears have placed among the top 20 listed in SCI.

The big boars typically come out of their dens and look for a moose meal. The outfitter does a lot of flying until he locates a kill. You'll fly nearby, camp overnight and snowshoe to the bear. We've had excellent luck with this outfitter, who has been guiding and outfitting in Alaska since 1969.

"My partner and I have two Super Cubs at our disposal," the outfitter said. "By working together, we can hunt six areas, which comprise about three-quarters of Unit 17 and half of Unit 19. He has a nice lodge, and we base from there. I have a cabin about 60 miles from there, and he also has a place at 47 Creek, so we have a big triangle to cover. We look for bears, bear tracks, and fresh moose kills."

Once he finds an active den or fresh bear kill, the outfitter sets the plane down and sets up a spike camp. One plane is equipped with skis, the other with wheel skis. It is illegal to fly and shoot the same day in Alaska. The next morning the hunter and guide will glass the den area or wait near a kill site for the bear to return. If you see a big bear as you fly over its kill, you have a good chance of getting the animal the following day.

Price does not include the charter from Lake Hood in Anchorage to the hunting lodge. Hunters typically see several bears, but you should expect to pass up a lot of 7 1/2 to 8 1/2-foot bears to find a 9-footer. The spring hunt is usually better, while the fall hunt can be inconsistent, but some years the fall hunts go very well. The outfitter prefers fall hunters on combination hunts. Booking a moose hunt and adding brown bear as a trophy fee is an excellent idea.

Hunter seldom take a bear squaring less than eight feet, and almost every season a few square nine feet or more. Hunters in the spring stay in a lodge, while fall tents are based from a tent camp.

All pictures on this page show bears taken in 2004, 2005 or 2006

Hunt BR4917

Hunt, guide ratio Prices
Spring grizzly, 10 days, 1x1, starting April 12, 23 or May 4 $13,500 in 2007, $14,500 in 2008
Fall grizzly, Sept. 1-8, 1x1 $8,000 in 2007, $9,000 in 2008
Fall grizzly, Sept. 20-10, 1x1 $9,500 in 2007, $11,000 in 2008
Fall grizzly/moose/black bear combo, Sept.10-20, 1x1 $16,500 in 2007, $17,500 in 2008
Fall grizzly/moose/black bear combo, Sept. 5-20, 1x1 $18,500 in 2007, $19,500 in 2008
Fall grizzly/moose/black bear combo, Sept. 1-20, 1x1 $21,500 in 2007, $22,500 in 2008
Trophy size
Averages about 70%. Weather can be a factor as can be physical conditioning and shooting ability. Some years as many as 75% have made SCI minimums. Typical bears square 8 to 9 feet.

Tag fees, deadlines

Over the counter. Click here for updated prices Round trip air fare between Anchorage and camp is not included
Hunts.Net agent Tom Paluso used his muzzleloader to take a record-class bear on this hunt This outfitter will take a skilled bowhunter. An archer has a good chance to get a close-range shot, but there are no guarantees.
Bonus animals
You may take wolverine or wolf at no extra charge on combo hunts. Caribou and black bear are free on fall grizzly hunts. You must buy tags for bonus animals in advance.

The outfitter burns 3,000 gallons of airplane fuel ech spring. At Alaskan backcountry prices, this is one reason he charges a bit more than some outfitters.