Trigger Happiness In Alaska


Published: October - 2005

Last month, I noted that a fatal, terrible and completely avoidable bear-hunting accident had occurred in Alaska (see page 11), and I offered the view that it seemed to be due to general trigger-happiness on the part of Alaska guides, many of whom go pale and quake at the thought of ever having to go in the bush after a wounded bear. If you missed my report on the accident, go back and read it. Or ask us for a copy (E-mail: info@huntingreport.com. Tel. 305-670-1361). It is absolutely must reading, in my view, if you plan to hunt a bear with an Alaskan guide, as some of them are outright dangerous to be around once you've fired at a bear. Witness what happened to the client involved in the aforementioned accident. He was shot in the back of the head and killed instantly by an assistant guide, who opened fire on a bear from behind the client.

This kind of trigger-happiness, I suggested last month, appears to be rooted in the fact that many guides in Alaska have not focused intently on the challenge of following up wounded dangerous game. Many of them don't carry the right kind of guns, and they don't practice snap-shooting. Instead, they seem to have taken a page from war manuals that call for the use of intense ground fire as soon as a client has shot anywhere near a bear. Their focus is on stopping a bear from ever getting away. Hang what that does to the quality of a hunt. And, unfortunately, hang what that does to safety in the field.

I mention all this again because there is a chance coming up to fix this problem and others relating to guide incompetence in Alaska. Seems the Alaska legislature has passed a bill creating a Big Game Commercial Services Board that will have the clout to license and discipline registered guide/outfitters, assistant guides and transporters. The authority of the board allows it to write new guide requirements and then administer the tests. And the good part is, guides themselves don't have a hammerlock........(continued)

 
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