Hunting Pressure Increase in Alaska


Published: May - 2006

Continuing subscribers will remember our reports about the self-guided bear hunting opportunities available on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. Well, it seems the place has gotten so much publicity since our first report four years ago that hunting pressure has increased quite a bit. According to subscriber Shane Halstead, who has hunted Prince of Wales six times, about 150 bears were shot on the whole island per year up to three years ago. But this past spring just one of the processors he spoke with reported sealing 200 bear skulls himself. Halstead says that kind of pressure is making it more difficult to hunt the island.

"Ten years ago, you could easily find numbers of bears off the logging roads," he says. "The island was a bear haven, and it was very easy to find decent-sized bruins. But with the enormous pressure it has seen in the last several years, one must get off the logging roads and easy-to-access streams in order to get a trophy."

It seems Halstead knows what he's talking about, as he and a friend hunted Prince of Wales this past September and managed to take two trophy bears. Halstead's bruin green-scored 18 7/16 SCI, and his friend's bear just missed the SCI minimum of 18 by 3/16.

Halstead says he and a friend canoed about nine miles away from the nearest road to a cabin where they based their hunt. From there, he says they floated five to six miles a day downstream, watching for bears. Over a period of five days, he reports seeing 14 bears, nine of which were shooters.

To set up a hunt, Halstead recommends camping or arranging to rent one of the various wilderness cabins maintained on the island by the US Forest Service. Many cabins are equipped with a skiff or other boat as part of the rental. Motors are available for rent from numerous places in Craig or Thorne Bay, as are vehicles and other equipment. He advises renting a canoe or vehicle in........(continued)

 
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