A Recommendation for Big Alaska Brown Bears on Unimak Island


Published: December - 2012

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. Getting your permit, however, is not as simple as just making an application. Alaska requires that a licensed guide, or resident next of kin, accompany a nonresident while hunting brown bears. Also, a written guide/client agreement must be completed and signed by both parties prior to the drawing application. If you are looking for a guide to work with, I recommend Rod Schuh of R&R's Alaska Peninsula Guide Service (907-346-3983; rschuh@alaska.net), who will help you complete the application. Schuh's success rate in helping his clients draw one of the seven Unimak permits for the spring hunt or one of the eight permits for the fall hunt is roughly one in 15. Why choose this outfitter? First, Schuh is one of only two outfitters with special-use permits that allow him on this refuge, and he has been hunting there for about 20 years. To clarify some possible confusion about the players, Rod Schuh and Rob........(continued)
 
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