E-mail from Kurt Whitehead to Rita Reinhart, Dave Wagner and The Hunting Report, March 12, 2016:
I received this email below and a phone call today from Tim Jones who works with the Hunting Report.
It's too bad you didn't contact me directly instead of having/letting your wife, Rita Reinhart, file a negative report with the Hunting Report.
Dave, I'd be glad to host you for a black bear hunt June 11-17, 2016, an alpine deer hunt this August or a fishing trip this summer.
Your only expenses will be similar to the ones you paid on your earlier trip i.e. tags, licenses, taxes, etc. The cost of the hunt will be totally free but we have to mutually agree on the dates.
This offer is only good if Rita totally removes her hunt report both online and in print and does not file it with the Hunting Report, any other agency, publication, group, affiliation, person, etc. I'm sure you can contact Tim and/or Barbara at the Hunting Report and have them hold your report while you think about it.
If her report goes public to any of the above mentioned persons/agencies/affiliations, etc. , the deal is off. You and the public will be able to read my exhaustive official rebuttal and trip notes that I took during the hunt as well as this email in the Hunting Report regarding Rita's shortcomings, neuroticism, drinking, swearing, etc.
I've conducted at least one fall black bear hunt, if not two in that same river every fall and have had about 12 clients shoot giant record book 19"- 21 1/4" skulled, huge bodied black bears all within the same 1 mile stretch of river that Rita killed her stud 19" 9/16" skulled black bear. It is a remote and difficult place to access that is loaded with fish, hence the large bears, and it is truly fair chase hunting as you have to wade upstream and down for at least an hour both ways as well as take three different watercraft even before you start walking.
In retrospect, I should not have taken Rita anywhere near that river due to the difficulty factor involved and her inexperience, lack of hunting skills and lack of physical and mental skills. We should've hunted more accessible creeks so that your wife would have an easier time of it on her first Alaskan hunt. I am sorry for that mistake.
The only valid complaint that Rita's report contains is that I didn't have Trina along to guide her as originally planned. Trina is much more adept in dealing with problem clients.
Dave, I am truly sorry that I did not have Trina along to guide Rita and I am offering you a free hunt/fishing trip in 2016 or 2017.
Nothing good will come of publishing Rita's report for any of us.
I urge you to put this behind us, move forward and come have an excellent adventure of your choosing in Alaska.
You are an excellent hunter, an excellent outdoorsman, a physically and mentally tough person and an all around good guy!
I look forward to hunting with you again!
E-mail from Rita Reinhart to The Hunting Report, February 19, 2016:
In response to Alaska Glacier Adventures email; I would like to add the following information.
In preparation for this hunt, and per the suggestions from documentation provided to us by Alaska Glacier Adventures (see Expectations and Gear List attached), we did the following:
1. Upwards of a year out we increased our workout schedule. Working out 3-4 day/week including lifting weights, running, hiking with a loaded backpack of 45-50 pounds, etc. Four months from the start of our hunt we increased our workouts to 5 days/week with 2 days having 2 workouts/day. Overall, I also lost 45 pounds in preparation for this hunt.
2. As provided to us by the outfitter a complete gear list of what we were supposed to bring including the specific part numbers and where to purchase the items from. We adhered to this list exactly hence the additional $3,400 expenses. Specifically two large backpacks we needed for the Alpine hunting which were never used nor have been used since (Invoice for Black Bear/Deer Hunt is attached).
3. We spent hours at the range sighting in our rifles. Shooting hundreds of round of ammunition in all different positions as suggested per his Expectations document.
4. I researched and read about proper shot placement for bears and spent numerous hours dry firing as I practiced shot placement.
5. We left nothing to chance in our preparation for this hunt.
To Mr. Whiteheads defamatory comment pertaining to my drinking. Not that I need to explain. I purchased 1 bottle of local Alaskan vodka and 1 bottle of local wine to enjoy with dinner but found out that no wine or alcohol of any kind goes very well with a dinner of ramen noodles or scrambled eggs. The only time I ever had a drink was after the days hunt.
To Mr. Whiteheads defamatory comment pertaining to neuroticism I have never been diagnosed as such nor have ever had any type of mental illness diagnosis.
To Mr. Whiteheads defamatory comment pertaining to swearing. The definition of fricking is as follows: A Southern and Midwestern slang word used to express excitement or detainment without using profanity.
To Mr. Whiteheads commentary, In retrospect, I should not have taken Rita anywhere near that river due to the difficulty factor involved and her inexperience, lack of hunting skills and lack of physical and mental skills. I couldnt have had that much inexperience, lack of hunting skills, and lack of physical and mental skills as I AM THE ONE WHO GOT THE BEAR. I have hunted in Africa, New Zealand, Wyoming, Iowa, Wisconsin to name a few and have successfully taking bear, deer, antelope, red stag and various small game. I would hardly call this inexperience. I took my bear with one excellently placed shot and dropped the bear in sight with no tracking needed.
Mr. Whiteheads rebuttal is fully directed to my husband. We find this rather interesting as I am the one who wrote the report. If he is offering anything to make this right it should be extended to both of us not just my husband. Regardless, we are not interested in anything from Alaska Glacier Adventures. Again this review was completely based on a hunt we thought we were getting AND paid for versus the actual hunt we received.
While Alaska Glacier Adventures may rebuttal this response; I highly recommend that Mr. Whitehead NOT continue down the path of defamation as seen in their most recent email response. This is Alaska Glacier Adventures opportunity to specifically and professionally respond to the hunt we purchased versus the hunt they provided and immediately cease and desist all defamation of David and my (Rita) character and reputation.
Yes, I did get a great black bear but nonetheless this hunt was the worst guided hunt we have done.
Second rebuttal from Kurt Whitehead to The Hunting Report, March 12, 2016:
Tim told my by phone a few weeks ago that 3.12.16 was the last day to send in my official rebuttal. It is now 3.11.16. My official rebuttal is attached. My first rebuttal I emailed you on 2.12.16 is also part of my official rebuttal. Please print it as well.
There are several other documents that are part of the rebuttal. Please publish all of them.
Dave Wagner contacted me in February of 2014 inquiring about our services. I sent him 11 different documents and two highlight emails from the preceding years regarding our operation on February 18. On March 25, 2014, I received a deposit for he and his wife Rita Reinhart for a Fall combo hunt for Black Bear/Deer.
I have attached all the information we sent Dave. There were just a few phone calls. I believe there was one phone conversation with Dave and Rita on speaker phone.
As per their email dated 7.20.15 they were getting in shape and practicing shooting so we are ready.
Both of them were certainly well geared but the main issue with this hunt was the fact that Rita was neither physically or mentally prepared and had a negative attitude. It was her first hunt for big game in North America other than deer hunting in her local area. It was also her first trip to Alaska. She only recently started hunting. Dave is a seasoned hunter, is mentally and physically tough and an optimist.
One of the 11 documents I sent them on February 18 is titled Hunter-Guide Expectations which is a 2 page document providing more information on how our trips work. As a result of Ritas hunt it is now titled Safety, Success and Comfort and was enlarged to 4 pages. It is what you just read.
Never did I mislead Dave and Rita into thinking that this hunt would be anything short of a true Alaskan, fair chase, challenging hunt in a temperate rain forest while walking directly in the creek both upstream and down in search of an elusive and well fed giant black bear. In our conversations and emails I made it abundantly clear that the black bear hunting was the priority and was done on foot while wading up salmon infested rivers. I also made it clear that the deer hunting was done up on the ridge tops utilizing spike tents and was a difficult climb up, down and during the hunt.
Dave should have brought his untested and inexperienced spouse on one of our Spring black bear hunts that are much easier both mentally and physically. Also there is more daylight, the bears are rutting and the weather is better which all lends itself to an easier and more enjoyable hunt for inexperienced hunters. I would have steered them towards this hunt had I known.
I have been an Alaskan fishing guide since 1995, an Alaskan hunting guide since 1996, I have worked for 10 other hunting outfitters over the past 21 years. Ive been hunting black bears in Southeast since 1996, guiding for them since 2000, started my own operation in Southeast in 2004 and have been guiding for black bears as an outfitter in Southeast since 2006.
I have conducted 144 black bear hunts in Southeast as an Alaskan outfitter and guided approximately 20 more black bear hunts working for 3 different outfitters from 2000-2004. I have guided approximately 100 different brown bear/grizzly hunts on the Alaskan Peninsula, Seward Peninsula and in Southeast Alaska each Spring and Fall from 1996-present. I have also guided many other hunts for goats, sheep, moose, caribou and wolves. I currently guide fishermen on the saltwater every summer for halibut, salmon, rockfish, lingcod, shrimp, crab and whatever else bites. I have held a USCG license since 1995 and in years past held a commercial pilots license. All Ive done for the previous 22 years is guide anglers and fishermen.
Our typical Fall black bear hunts are conducted from our motor vessel Glacier that we use for transport and sleeping accommodations. We tow one or two skiffs with us that we use to access the beach and from there we walk up the salmon-choked streams in search of a mature male that is usually gorging on salmon. The weather is normally decent and the scenery is simply amazing. Wading up these creeks while salmon are swimming into your legs and feet is an experience you will never forget. It is a physically active hunt and some of our best hunting areas are the most inaccessible ones.
A record book bear is usually an old bear and old bears are very smart, cunning and not keen on human activity.
This hunt is physically and mentally challenging. Walking in the water up to your knees and waist while bucking the current is difficult enough, then add being immersed in cool water for many hours. Due to the difficulty of the logistics we are seldom back on the Glacier before 10pm and often midnight. If we kill a bear and skin it out that day we might not get back to the boat until much later. If this isnt difficult enough, throw in the fact that most mature bears, brown or black, seldom come out on the streams to feed until the last hour of light. So here you are, wet from sweat, often bug bitten, standing in water up to your crotch waiting for an elusive giant to make an appearance on a small creek long enough for you to get a good shot. Anyone that has hunted Fall bear knows exactly what Im talking about. It is not for the faint of heart but for all the above reasons is incredibly rewarding and a once in a lifetime experience. Add to the above scenario accessing a difficult area and having to use 3 different boats every day, portaging waterfalls, hiking out by headlamp, late nights, watching all the birds, bears, sea lions and seals feeding on salmon and the reward factor is raised even further.
This is an AWESOME hunt but only if you are physically and mentally tough, optimistic, love a challenge and want a big bad bruin taken totally fair chase in some of the wildest country in the world.
After getting back to the boat many hours after dark, taking care of our gear is the priority. If there is a bear hide to flesh I often stay up all night until it is done. The ears, lips, nose, paws are all professionally fleshed and every square inch of the bear is heavily salted, rolled up and stored in a waterproof area. I have NEVER lost a bear hide due to negligence. The time involved to process one of these giant black bear hides is around 5 hours.
Often during these hunts the weather is good and the sun is up in the morning so we again take care of our gear, dry everything, prepare for the day, eat, hydrate, clean things, take care of boat chores, listen to the weather and get ready for another adventure on the salmon stream.
Our diesel burning stove on the Glacier is normally only used if it is raining since it throws out so much heat that nobody sleeps well. It is always available but the suns rays and breeze dry things out much faster. Often the back deck of the Glacier looks like a laundry facility while we prepare for the day.
The freezer on the boat is always well stocked as is the giant, ice-filled cooler. Shrimp pots, crab pots and fishing rods are at the ready but unless it is a priority for the client we focus on HUNTING first, and fishing once the bear is in the salt. Our twin generators are fired up nearly every morning and evening to charge various batteries, operate appliances and/or the ceramic heater. Our 2000 watt inverter provides power when the generators are not in use.
Our twin sink galley is constantly used to clean dishes and the bathroom (head) has a private sink/ toilet/shower/mirror/medicine cabinet so anyone wanting to clean/relieve themselves are more than welcome and encouraged to do so. Normally everyone washes up in the head nightly after a long day.
We dont drink, smoke, seldom swear, are very tough, healthy and take our hunting/guiding very seriously.
We prefer to guide clients that are like minded, tough, prepared, positive, hardcore trophy hunters that want a jumbo bear and a phenomenal experience in the wilderness of Alaska.
I took detailed notes during Dave and Ritas trip when I first sensed problems on Day One and initially I was going to share those with all of you but have edited them significantly. Suffice it to say that Rita should never hunt for Fall bear in Alaska with ANY outfitter in ANY part of Alaska.
The first day of the hunt we always sight in our guns, eat a large breakfast, pack the truck, then the boat and head out of the harbor towing one or two skiffs. Running fast while towing a skiff is not advisable. We do run fast if we are not towing skiffs or in one of our smaller vessels. On our Spring hunts we start hunting 15 minutes after untying and continue cruising and glassing the shorelines. On the Fall hunts the large bears are congregated near the creeks eating salmon. The logistics involved during the Fall hunts are more complicated. The mature male bears are experts at catching fish, have the best fishing holes and rarely come out much during the day but rather are largely nocturnal.
In fact, on the same stretch of river that I took Dave and Rita to hunt we have guided 11 other hunters to record book bears. Two of the 12 hunters wounded their bears but the other 9 hunters kill stats are as follows:
Sept. 4, 2007 74 Hide20 4/16 Skull 8 years old .338/121 yds/2 shots
Sept. 6, 2009 72 Hide 19 14/16 Skull 13 years old .375 H&H/112 yds/1 shot
Sept 10, 2010 80 Hide 22 2/16 Skull 5 years old .338/110 yds/3 shots
Sept. 11, 2010 74 Hide 19 13/16 Skull 15 years old .300 RUM/54 yds/2 shots
Sept. 3, 2013 7 3 Hide 20 5/16 Skull 16 years old Bow/32yds/2 shots
Sept. 11, 2013 7 2 Hide 19 14/16 Skull 7 years old .338/107yds/3 shots
Sept. 13, 2013 7 4 Hide 20 11/16 Skull 12 years old .270 WBY/82yds/1 shot
Sept. 12, 2014 Wounded a Giant Male 9.3x62/89yds/2 shots
Sept. 11, 2014 Wounded a Large Male .300/129yds/3 shots
Sept. 3, 2015 610 Hide 17 2/16 Skull No Age Yet 60 yards/.375 Ruger/ 1 shot
Sept. 3, 2015 75 Hide 20 2/16 Skull No Age Yet 30 yards/.375 Ruger/ 2 shots
Rita Reinhart/Sept.10, 2015 70 Hide 19 9/16 Skull No Age Yet 43 yards/.338/1 shot
I have attached a document with all of our kill stats since 2006 and they are also listed on our website.
Ritas complaint that game is scarce are false. Daily we walked past two bear carcasses that our hunters shot the prior week, one was in plain sight that we had to step around. The previous week we saw two other large males that we did not kill and did not spook. One was the largest bear weve seen in a long time and he is still alive. Rita killed her bear on 9.10.15. It is a record book bear and a very nice male that I had not seen before. This area is a phenomenal creek to hunt! Out of the 12 bear hunters that have shot/wounded bears on this creek, only 2 of the bears were not killed in the last 2 hours of light and most were killed in the last 30 minutes of light. The bears are largely nocturnal, have no competitors (no brown bears on Prince of Wales Island) are well-fed and can get food anytime they like. We normally start hunting at the first good creek we come to after leaving Klawock which is about 3 hours from the dock. It is a good shakedown for the clients and we have killed/stalked several bears in the near vicinity but it is not our go-to spot.
I elected to forgo the first nights hunting due to the tides that are necessary to access the spot we hunted from Days 2-5. It is only accessible on a high tide and the high tide was around noon the following day so we needed to be in position at that time.
Ritas statement in her complaint Even after I proved myself when sighting in my gun and demonstrating proper gun handling; he always had to check to ensure I unloaded my gun, proves her inexperience. I have almost been accidentally shot by clients on 2 different occasions and any guide worth his salt is very demanding of gun safety for his own preservation. Just a couple of years ago a client shot and killed a fellow hunting guide in Southeast AK.
Rita proved during the gun sight-in that I needed to be very watchful of her and she proves it again in her report about being upset by me constantly watching/checking her. Every seasoned hunter thanks us for asking about gun safety and their feathers are surely not ruffled when asked if their gun is unloaded.
We were able to access our hunting area around noon and spent the morning getting geared up, fed and packed. It takes three different vessels to access the hunting area and we finally got on the river around 2pm which is perfect. If you are on the river too early the fickle winds can blow upstream and most of the mature male bears are not on the creek until late afternoon/evening anyway. We motored upstream until we could go no further and then started walking in the creek up to the prime hunting area. If you dont walk directly in the stream it is almost impossible to make headway given the thick brush. Also spreading your scent all over the same trails the bears travel is not conducive to harvesting a bear. Contrary to Ritas comment about disrupting spawning salmon, I do take the path of least resistance and also try to limit walking over the salmon nests (redds) but in many places the entire stream is one large salmon redd so the only way to hunt effectively and not disrupt the tens of thousands of spawning pink salmon would be to fly or swing from tree to tree. I havent perfected that approach yet.
Our one mile hike up the creek involved at least 4 rest stops of 5 to 30 minutes. Rita was having a very hard time remaining upright as we walked upstream and Dave was supporting her most of the way. His help worked well. I knew Rita was laboring quite a bit but with the frequent stops and reasonable pace she had no complaints. When we stopped at the first good hunting spot I had her load a round since the cover is so thick and many times a bear just materializes out of the bushes. We discussed a shooting rest for her largely with sign language since it was prime time. After 40 minutes or so we got underway again; before moving I made sure Ritas rifle was unloaded knowing that her rifle would be pointed at my back when she fell...and fall she did.
We hunted until last shooting light and only saw one large OLD bear about an hour earlier that we wouldve gladly shot if it had a good hide but it was so mangy I let it walk off. It is the only Fall bear Ive seen with a lousy hide so Id be surprised if it made it through the winter. The bear finally sensed me at 8 yards after about 5 minutes and Im not sure Rita even saw it since I was just around the corner from her as she had stopped to urinate. We hunted until last light and then walked downstream back to the first skiff by headlamp for about 40 minutes. It is easier to walk downstream than upstream. It is an incredible experience to see and feel so many fish bumping into your feet/legs. It is also challenging and Rita was at a decided disadvantage with her physical skills. This is standard operating procedure on a Fall hunt not just for our operation but also the other 5 Southeast brown bear/black bear outfitters Ive guided for during the past 20 years as well as the other 4 brown bear outfitters up North Ive worked for extensively.
After reaching the second skiff it usually took another 40 minutes to get back to the main vessel the Glacier due to the tides, portage of the waterfall,etc.
By now if was about midnight and we were all extremely exhausted.
I do not drink alcohol (I did more than enough of that in college; wish I had all those nights back!) and am always eating and drinking water and anyone thats every hunted with us knows that Ritas claim of poor food are false. Dave and I ate well on the trip and I always offered to cook some of the delicious salmon, venison, sausage, fruits, vegetables that were in our freezer and extremely large cooler and in fact did cook a lot but what isnt reported is that she rarely ate much at all and never wanted/asked for anything. She was usually complaining about her stomach, her feelings or her body so when she said she didnt want dinner and Dave seconded that we just snacked and ate quick dinner meals in anticipation of laying down for the night. We ate very large breakfasts of eggs, sausage, potatoes, vegetables, toast, fruit, cereal, milk, etc. every morning and I packed two sandwiches each and plenty of snacks, granola bars, candy bars, candy, along with water for all of us during the day. I rarely cooked a large meal at night because they didnt want me to. We all had the opportunity to eat and drink plenty before bed but Rita usually didnt eat much and was busy drinking liquor. When its midnight and Rita is too tired to eat that is her decision.
Dave and I ate plenty of food and I always asked them what they wanted but it is entirely unfair to say one thing every night during the hunt and then find out 5 months later through a complaint to a third-party that this was an issue.
Day three found us in the creek at the same time, late afternoon, doing the same thing we did the day before and the same thing Ive done with the prior 11 clients. Hunting hard, effectively and smart. Rita almost shot a mature bear right at dark but we needed about 5 more minutes to make it happen.
Some of my notes on that day:
Rita kills a stud at 7:10pm way up the stream at 43yds with 1 shot with her .338 and I shoot once with my .458.
Rita made a good shot, offhand, right near dark and Dave was directly behind us so a follow up shot from him was out of the question. After her shot, I fired as the bear streaked off and later collapsed in the river. The bear was nearly totally submerged so no more shots were fired. The bear died/ drowned shortly thereafter and we later congratulated each other, retrieved our gear, donned headlamps, and then drug the bear downstream to an acceptable place to get it out of the river. I was under the bear lifting and soaking wet while they pulled from above. After many attempts and lots of muscle we were able to position the bear for photos the following day and ensure it did not get carried away in case the river rose due to the falling rain.
Ritas complaint about me having a dull serrated knife are totally inaccurate. Anyone that has hunted with me knows I always carry TWO sharp, straight edged Victorinox skinning knives since serrated knives dont work nearly as well and my scalpel is on the boat for the fleshing.
I did borrow Daves knife that night since I was soaking wet and my knives were buried in my pack. Dave produced his knife, I punched a hole in the hide, tagged the bear and we headed back down the stream by headlamp.
On the Glacier it was more of the same as the previous evenings.
My notes on that day:
On the way back to the river to skin the bear and get photos Rita blows a cog and quits on the way to the bear because we had to bushwhack since the river was flooded. Tears-swearing-etc. so Dave and I finally arrive at the kill at 6:12pm. Rita stays in the skiff most of the night. We arrive back at the skiff way after dark and dont get back to the Glacier until 2am. Thankfully we pull our skiffs out when we leave.
That day it was raining and the river had risen about one and a half feet overnight. We motored as far upstream as possible and then started walking on the bank since the creek was too high to wade. As mentioned earlier, it is extremely thick and brushy in a temperate rainforest next to a salmon stream and after only going about 150-200 yards I heard lots of commotion. Rita had reached her limit and Dave and I did our best to calm her down and reassure her that she would be all right. We all went back to the skiff and left her sitting in the skiff that was floating in the river tied to the bank with a firearm, food, water, extra clothes and a PFD. Dave and I proceeded to walk as fast as possible for about an hour to the kill site, take photos and skin the large bear. I did borrow Daves knife for part of the bear skinning.
Ritas complaint that He did follow up my fatal shot with a non-fatal shot putting a nice hole in the bears hide, which he said was an old wound. is once again inaccurate. The fact is that I missed the running bear, she killed it and there were several old pus-filled wounds from other bears in his large hide. She wasnt even there to watch the bear get skinned or take photos of it.
On the return, I carried the bear, Dave carried our gear and we met up with Rita several hours after dark. More of the same in prior nights on the Glacier regarding Ritas attitude and actions. I thoroughly washed the bear hide in the salt water to help get rid of the bacteria and stowed it in a basket for the night so it could drain. We finally crawled into bed early in the morning around 3:30am.
My notes on that day: Dry out gear, flesh and salt the bear all day and hunt the bay to the South in the evening. One fat sow, 3 other adolescent bears. Rita stays on the boat. Rita had another meltdown before bed about ????? who knows what. Her attitude and actions make no sense.
My notes on that day: Mega attitude this morning so I tried to talk to her and find out what is wrong and all she said was Im just done Im tired and I just want Dave to kill a bear or this will be the most expensive bear hunt ever
I offered to head straight to the nearest dock and get shuttled to our house. She said No, I dont want to spend anymore money I offered to pay and she said No Ill be fine.
I cleaned the boat, talked about how the shower works, told her to take advantage of it and she replied NO. Ive tried several times today to talk to her while Dave showered but she is in silent mode. Even though it is the last day of the trip and we normally would head into port, I offered Dave another night of hunting. He definitely agreed so we motored for five hours and hunted until last light. Lots of sign but zero bears. Rita was in bed when we arrived. Dave and I ate a delicious meal of venison tacos and had a lot of fun telling stories till late. He acts like nothing is wrong and when I confronted him earlier in the day about Ritas behavior before we went hunting and told him her actions and attitude are totally out of line he just said to leave it alone and she will be fine.
Day 8 of a 7 day hunt
My notes for the day follow:
Pulled anchor shortly after 7am and motored for home.Tied to the dock around 11:30am and immediately took them to the house for the rest of their gear and later took them to the airport.
Are you thinking of coming to Southeast Alaska for a Black Bear Hunt? Here are some suggestions that will make your experience more enjoyable. [This is just one of several informational attachments we send to ALL of our prospective hunters. I feel the information lined out in these four pages are KEY to establishing the expectations I have for my clients. It also gives our hunters a basic understanding of how we conduct our hunts & answers many of their questions right out of the gate. I have highlighted several sections that pertain to this hunters specific complaints so The Hunting Report readers can decide for themselves what is good, bad, or ugly in this case.]
Safety, Success, and Comfort
Alaska Glacier Adventures and its guides will work exceedingly hard for you and try their utmost to make your trip of a lifetime an enjoyable and successful experience. Our goals are to provide a safe, legal, productive, enjoyable trip and send you home with the trophy of your dreams. A successful hunt is not always a killing hunt, as we cannot control Mother Nature or certain factors that may arise during a hunt. Our detailed information is for your safety, comfort and success. Please read all the information we send you. The following letter is to help ensure a successful trip.
Three things you can control are
1) Your mental and physical conditioning;
2) Your quality and selection of gear-if anything tests gear, it is an Alaskan Hunt.
3) Your shooting ability-practice, practice, practice. Shoot from extreme angles to find out what your guns trajectory is and shoot from many different positions, especially the prone position. Most of our clients shoot from the prone position because it is very stable position when both elbows are on the ground.
A few thoughts on your PHYSICAL CONDITIONING regarding our different hunts:
1) The spring black bear hunts and the late November and December Deer hunts are generally easy because we cruise around by boat and beach hunt. You should be able to get in and out of our boats and walk on the beaches proficiently.
2) The fall black bear and late October/early November deer hunts are more difficult as we do a lot of walking and are on our feet most of the day. The salmon streams where we hunt the fall black bear and the muskegs(meadows) where we hunt the deer have slippery and uneven footing.
You need to be in moderate/good shape and have good mobility and balance for these hunts.
3) The early season deer hunts in August and September are strenuous. This is a backpack syle hunt. Be prepared to haul a 30-40 lb. pack uphill 2500+ feet near the top of the mountain where we will camp and then hunt from a spike camp until the deer hunts ends. After we complete the deer hunt, be prepared to pack a heavy load when we descend to the boat. We will do some fishing on the way home if weather and time allow. You need to be in good/excellent shape for this hunt.
A few thoughts on SHOOTING: There is a trophy fee on some hunts so please practice. Even a nonlethal wound will be assessed a trophy fee. Wounded animals will invariably die at some point. You can only shoot/wound one bear. This is the Alaska State Law. You can shoot more than one deer but dealing with the meat/trophy of the first deer is the priority. You need to do your part to make this a successful experience and much depends on you.When it comes time to take the shot, we normally do not spike your adrenaline and also alert the animal by telling you exactly when to shoot. This is a critical moment and the less distractions you have, the better shot you will make. Please realize that when we finally give the stamp of approval to a particular animal, the hunt is now in your hands. Wait for the correct shot placement, then take the shot if your are comfortable. We normally will not call your shot. We will have earplugs in and will likely be preparing to back you up. It is very difficult if not impossible to back up a hunter while telling them exactly when to shoot. You need to be prepared to make that decision. We will coach you in the days and hours preceding this moment and if you are unsure, please ask and we will discuss it in great detail. Too often our clients expect us to give constant feedback meanwhile the best shot opportunity disappears. Normally we are silent after we tell you the animal is a trophy and that you should shoot it because we do not want to rattle you or alert the animal. We are concentrating on our shot if it is needed and also want to see where the animal is hit. Many well intentioned guides will say SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT but it has been our experience as both the shooter and the guide that this usually results in a poor shot.
The prone shooting position is by far the best position to be in when shooting big game animals because of its stability. This is the position we strive to be in when it comes time to take the shot. Please practice shooting from this position. It is the same position snipers use, on your stomach with both elbows on the ground. This forms a tripod with your rifle stock and both elbows.
Do everything you can to get in a prone position before taking the shot.
We will do a pre-trip sort through of your gear and ensure you are well prepared. Everything from more clothes to a better headlamp to scope covers has been purchased in the past. We will go to the gun range prior to the trip to verify your guns accuracy and determine your skills. Please have your weapons sighted in dead-on at 200 yards. Never put a round in the chamber until you are instructed to do so and always practice gun safety and muzzle control.
A few thoughts on WEAPONS & AMMUNTION: Bears are by far the toughest and smartest of Alaskas game and they hardly bleed due to their thick layer of fat that acts as a plug. They bleed internally but weve found plenty of mortally wounded bears with hardly a drop of blood. Also, Southeast Alaska is a temperate rainforest. We receive over 10 feet of rain a year. Tracking a bear that doesnt bleed much, if at all, in a wet rainforest means that you should dispatch your bear as quickly as possible if you want to take it home. This means...use a big stick. We are proponents of overkill. Kill the bear right there, right now and you will not lose sleep and will take your bear home with you. Yes, your trusty .270 will kill the bear, but will you find it? Not many bears can take the punishment of a .300, .338 or .375 and go very far. We are also proponents of getting close; this is called hunting. We are not snipers and big game animals deserve to be hunted, not sniped from way too far away. With this is mind, please bring a .300 win mag or larger. The venerable .30-06 is fine if you are shooting a 220 grain bullet but this is the smallest caliber we recommend. Please bring a weapon that is stainless with a synthetic stock. Saltwater is hard on guns.
Please bring a premium scope with at least 6 power magnification. You will always be more accurate with a higher power scope. We prefer you bring a variable power scope that you can turn down to low power if we are tracking game and turn up to a higher power of 8 or more when it is time to shoot. Too many of our clients forget about cranking up their scope prior to shooting. Lets do everything we can to remove the variables of a poor shot. Turning up the power setting on your scope makes a big difference. Also, the bikini scope covers work great for sealing out rain.
Bullets are equally important. Please do not bring any type of ballistic tipped ammo for the bear hunt. We recommend premium controlled-expansion bullets like Barnes Triple-Shock, Swift AFrame, Trophy Bonded Bearclaws, Nosler Partitions, etc. Berger bullets and others that fragment are a poor choice if you want to take your heavy boned, giant black bear home with you. Most of the bears our clients shoot are well over 300 pounds with many in the 500 pound category.
A few thoughts on BOWHUNTING: If you are a bow hunter, we highly recommend a heavy fixed blade broadhead such as Muzzy or Thunderheads.
To LEGALLY HUNT IN ALASKA WITH A BOW: 1)Beginning July 1, 2016, all hunters using bow and arrow to hunt big game must have successfully completed a department-approved bowhunter certification course. 2) The total weight of the arrow has to exceed 300 grains and be at least 20 inches in length. 3) Your bow has to have at least 40 pounds of peak draw weight. 4) The broadhead has to be a fixed, replaceable or mechanical/retractable blade type and can not be barbed.
A few thoughts on BOOTS & RAINGEAR: Our early season deer hunts in August/September will find you sweating a lot. Bring top of the line breathable raingear such as Kuiu and the Helly Hansen Impertech jacket listed on our gear list if you want to cover all bases. The spring and fall Black Bear hunts and the late season deer hunts will find you in need of excellent raingear at some point. If you are going to bring one set of raingear, then the Helly Hansen Impertech bibs and jacket is it. Make sure it is Impertech. Helly Hansen makes a large array of gear but this stuff is the quietest rubber raingear we have found. If you want to increase your odds, then bring both a set of quiet, high quality, breathable raingear like Kuiu and the Impertech rubber raingear. Xtratuf boots have superior traction. Get the insulated models for all the hunts. They keep your feet warmer. Remember they need to fit over your neoprene stocking foot waders. This means you should buy them one size larger. The Bama Socks take up the extra room in the boots when you are not wearing the waders. They go over your regular socks. You will wear socks, Bama Socks and Xtratufs or socks, waders and Xtratufs. On the alpine deer hunts in August/September, you need very sturdy, high-quality, hiking boots. Also bring the Xtratufs while on the boat/fishing.
A few thoughts on TRAVEL & LOGISTICS: You are responsible for all your own flights including reservations on Alaska Airlines (800.252.7522) from Seattle to Ketchikan, Alaska and from Ketchikan to Klawock, Alaska. We recommend you travel from the Ketchikan airport direct to Klawock, AK via Island Air. Then you dont have to deal with the fact that the Ketchikan airport is on an island with no road access to town. IF you are traveling to town you will need to pay the $6 airport ferry to cross the channel to town. Call the Cape Fox hotel before you start this trek to get their free shuttle. You can also take a taxi, which are usually lined up and available on the town side. Word to the wise: Get a free luggage cart on the airport side at baggage claim as it makes transporting your gear on and off the airport ferry and up and down the ramps much easier! You can return the cart on the town side at the top of the ramp. The carts will be available there for your return trip as well.
We provide transportation to and from the Klawock Airport.
A few thoughts on LODGING: IF you are staying in Ketchikan before or after your hunt, reservations can be made at the Cape Fox Lodge (907.225.8001). The Cape Fox is an excellent hotel/ restaurant and is near the downtown shopping area. We will make lodging reservations for you for the night before and the last night of your trip in Klawock on Prince of Wales Island and you can pay for these upon your arrival.
A few thoughts on HOUSEKEEPING & MISCELLANEOUS: If the weather is lousy for a few days, dont despair, as the weather is fickle and ever-changing. Keep in mind you might be detained by bad weather or stuck out on the water, so float planes are a last resort option. I am generally conservative with my decisions regarding weather since being stuck in bad weather and missing your flight connection is a bad deal.
There is plenty of heat to dry things out on the Glacier and it is a very comfortable floating base camp. We have 120 volt power 24 hours a day to charge/run electronics. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN since none of us need a cold or flu. Turn off lights when you are done and in general try to be neat and tidy so life for everyone is better.
DO NOT bring liquids of any kind in the sleeping berths. Your bunk is clean and tidy like the rest of the boat so please make sure it stays that way for the next guest.
We own a beautiful waterfront lodge Treasure Hunter Lodge where we conduct our summer fishing trips. It is located in Klawock, AK and hunting out of the lodge is certainly an option. We own a new, high-speed, 26 aluminum hunting/fishing vessel Treasure Hunter that can go anywhere anytime and gives us many options.
We own a new, high-speed, 20 aluminum hunting/fishing vessel Trinity that also gives us many exciting options. We own 2 bombproof, rigid-hull inflatables and 2 rigid-floor inflatables that get us to the shore safely, quietly and stealthily.
We can stay at several Forest Service cabins and/or tent camps for part or all of your hunt which also gives us many great options.
We have many resources at our disposal to conduct a great hunt and a great adventure. Weather and unforeseen circumstances may dictate a change of plans to our normal trip of staying on the Glacier during your hunt. Unforeseen circumstances may cause us to change how we conduct our hunts. This may include staying at our waterfront lodge, day hunting via any of our watercraft, utilizing the road system and hunting via ATV/road vehicles, on foot, etc.
So you want a great hunt and a great adventure? Come with a great attitude, be mentally ready, be physically ready, bring good gear, know your rifle, shoot it often from all angles & positions, especially the prone position and come ready to hunt. This is your hunt of a lifetime so prepare for it as such and come with a winning attitude. We are looking forward to a great hunt, great memories, and great friendships!
Kurt & Trina