Call Me Lucky
A successful hunt begins with thorough preparation,
Kodiak, Alaska--that wondrous mystical island home to the largest brown bears in the world--became my home for an early spring bow hunt in 2012. My #1 bucket list hunt began as a dream that eventually evolved into a reality. For years I read about other hunters, looking at their pictures in magazines as they smiled behind their big bears. I wished it could be me. But I wasn’t sure if I would really be able to make it happen. But, as you can see, that’s me in the picture. Me! I did it! The brown bear in the picture squared 9’6,” scored a 28 5/8” (green) skull, and has superb dark fur that will make a magnificent standing mount. Good thing I have a vaulted ceiling in my man room.
To be honest, all hunters know that a successful hunt always requires a little luck. My luck was being in the right place at the right time to harvest this beautiful brown bear. But all hunters also know that even more than luck, a successful hunt takes preparation. I did my homework. I thoroughly researched the hunting zones of Kodiak Island. I questioned Alaska Fish and Game regarding success percentages, weather, and terrain. I met with fellow SCI brown bear hunters to hear their hunting experiences on Kodiak. It became increasingly clear to me that the Red Lake Zone of southwest Kodiak would be my choice not so much for the open terrain, the high concentrations of huge brown bears, and phenomenal success rates, but the availability of a superior guide. I knew that my hunt would be only as good as my guide and I wanted the absolute best. I had heard about brown bear guide Scott Mileur. Scott started as a packer for the most famous bear guides in Alaskan history: Bill Pinnell and Morris Talifson. Scott was first in line to continue guiding in Bill and Morris’ prime areas. Scott has now guided in southwest Kodiak for over 34 years. Talk about luck, I was able to book a hunt with Scott on short notice due to a very rare cancellation. Hunters wait in line for this guy to guide them because his success rates are off the charts. Scott has the uncanny ability to locate big bears and draw them in to his clients. For a bow hunter, like me, this was imperative. I watched Scott entice my world class brown bear into easy bow range by making grunting noises, breaking small limbs, and subtly calling with a rabbit distress call.
Secondly, my hunt was successful because I chose good hunting gear. Kodiak weather is miserable, even brutal, and the terrain is punishing. Early spring can be freezing cold, windy, and is always wet. Staying dry and warm keeps you in the hunt longer. I wore the best rain gear I could buy. Knee high “Muck Boots” were a must on our daily multi-mile mountain treks thru thick alders and across numerous fast-flowing creeks. Crooked Horn’s High County Extreme II pack kept my survival items, daily food, and plenty of extra clothing perfectly dry through constant rainy weather. I learned first hand how important a quality waterproof back pack can be. Being a bow hunter, I was concerned with protecting the delicate parts of my compound while pushing my way through thick vegetation. Cams and cables don’t do well around nasty vegetation. I especially appreciate the bow carrier on High County Extreme II pack. The Extreme II was designed to carry a bow low in the pack so that the upper bow components don’t extend above my head. This low design kept the top of my bow clear of overhead obstacles. The pack’s extra large lower pouch incased the lower components of my compound bow nicely, as well. I threaded my way through miles of thick alders on this hunt and not one limb ended my bow hunt.
If you are planning a brown bear hunt start by reading Pinnell and Talisson: Last of the Great Brown Bear Men by Marvin H. Clark, Jr. Contact Scott Mileur at 907 745-1747.