By Lance StapletonEditor Note: If a big brown bear is on your bucket list, Senior Western Correspondent Lance Stapleton says you should head to Unimak Island. But you'd better hurry. The deadline for this draw hunt is just around the corner!
Unimak Island National Wildlife Refuge routinely produces many of the largest brown bears in Alaska each year. In fact, it's one of a very few areas left in Alaska where a hunter has a good chance of tagging a bear squaring 10 feet or larger! Unimak Island also has one of the highest concentrations of bears in the state, and since it is located in the Aleutian Island Chain it's so remote that few Alaska residents venture out there - a perfect recipe for big bears!
Wildlife officials do a very good job maintaining the age structure of bears on Unimak, partly by using a draw system to limit permits and harvest. The application deadline this year is December 17
. There is still time to apply this year, but you must act soon! This is one state where you must constantly monitor the deadlines. Last year, applications submitted on paper were due by November 30, while the online applications were due December 31. Also, be aware that in 2011 a priority point system was implemented on these drawings, so applying every year is important. The good news here is that residents and nonresidents have an equal chance of drawing a permit.....