You may recall that hunters headed to Kamchatka for spring bear, moose and sheep and fall bear hunts were previously able to fly from Anchorage across the Bering Sea to Petropavlovsk until Magadan Airlines simply stopped flying this route during the 2007 hunting season. Since then, a number of Russian airlines announced they would fly the route, but none of them ever did. Now it seems Yakutia Airlines will be operating weekly flights from July 12 to September 13, which is perfect for the fishing season there but not for the hunting seasons.
Spring bear hunters are out of luck, as that season ends in May, long before these weekly flights begin. With seasons that run in August and September, some sheep and moose hunters headed for Kamchatka could certainly take advantage of the new flights. But when we asked Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium (540-955-0090) if his clients would use the new service, he told us: "We view the flights from Alaska with some trepidation. Previous attempts [to maintain this route] were not very successful. Flights were often canceled at the last moment due to poor sales, forcing clients already ticketed to either miss their hunts, or to travel around the world in the other direction at the last minute, losing precious hunting time and losing a fortune on the last-minute re-bookings of air tickets. Vladivostok Air was notorious for this sort of behavior. We have adopted a wait-and-see' attitude and will observe the reliability of the new connections from Alaska to Petropavlovsk this year, without recommending them until they have proven themselves.
"The bear population on Kamchatka is so high that the average hunter is finished after two or three days of his eight-day hunt. Nevertheless, we must plan eight hunting days in case of bad weather, which is frequent in Kamchatka. Most folks would........(continued)