Directly east of Norton Sound, Unit 21 (Middle Yukon) is broken into five subunits. AFGD has no hard numbers for this area, but believe grizzly density is low to moderate, with 10-25 bears per 1,000 square miles. An estimated population of 350-400 grizzlies support an annual harvest of 18-24. Hunting pressure is low, trophy quality good. About 27 percent of the grizzly bears taken in this area are Boone & Crocket animals with skulls over 24 inches. The five-year average on male bears is 23.2 inches.
Sub-unit 21D accounts for most of the bears (an average of six annually). This is also where most of the moose hunts in this region take place. Nonresidents take more grizzlies in Unit 21 than residents. Small numbers make comparisons of fall and spring success rates meaningless, especially since fall bear are often taken incidental to moose hunting.
AFGD says there are also good numbers of black bears in Unit 21, with a minimal harvest and potential for good trophies. Nice blackies squaring six to seven feet with 18- to 20-inch skulls are not uncommon in this region, however, B&C (21-inch) skulls are hard to find.
Subscriber Mike Ambrose took a dandy interior grizzly this past May along the Yukon River in Unit 21. In fact, he and a hunting companion both took record-book interior grizzlies. They hunted with Virgil Umphenour's Hunt Alaska, booking agent Global Adventure Outfitters. The hunt area is about a 1½-hour commercial flight northwest of Fairbanks. This hunt is usually done by snowmobile, but Ambrose says it was so warm that all the snow had melted and they had to hunt from a boat. They traveled up to 70 miles a day looking for bears along the Yukon and its tributaries, where the bears were hunting moose calves. Ambrose tells us the brush in this area was so thick that getting off the river to spot and stalk simply was not productive.........(continued)