Basic hunting license $85; fishing only license available. Brown bear tag $500. To save running around, licenses are available on-line at the Alaska Fish and Game website ( Additionally we can advise you of the source for licenses on the ground, if so needed.


Our weather can range from lows in the teens at night with daytime temps in the 30s to the 60s. Conditions vary from driving rains to sunny. A long (below the knee) raincoat is essential. Getting ashore and shore conditions require ankle-fit hip boots. A good rain cap and gloves are also recommended. While on the boat, please use soft boat shoes, no vibram soles. Bedding is provided unless otherwise advised. All the other usual trekking gear is provided. It is best to pack everything in a waterproof duffle bag. Try to keep it down to one bag and a gun case and less than 75 lbs. of weight. Scenery from The Bear Hunter is often breathtaking so be sure to bring your binoculars and camera.

Please be sure and let us know if you have any medical conditions or food allergies so that we can make arrangements accordingly. Local conditions can be tough so it is well to be in pretty good shape for walking, wading and inclement weather. If motion, air or seasickness is a problem, please stock up on and take your medication for these conditions.


The purpose of the hunt is to bring game to bag. The faster the animal dies, the better. On Alaska coastal bear hunts the problem is that the bears run into the black spruce where they are almost impossible to track. The edges inside the woods are full of bear trails and the rest is covered with a sponge-like moss that springs back up as soon as your foot lifts up from it. Since the animal will run until blood flow to the brain stops, the bigger the hole in the circulatory system the better. Since the perfect broadside shot into the lungs is not always available, the recommended shot is into the shoulder with the bullet expanding and going into the lungs. I have seen light jacketed bullets fail to go into the lungs after hitting the shoulder. There was too much bear for the bullet. I have shot more than 10 bears that have been shot by clients and were running away. The bears just rolled like rabbits, thanks for the .411 with Swift 400 gr. bullets. Most of the bullets on the bears that gave me a slight angle exited. I have 4 that were found in the chest area just under the skin after penetrating the whole bear.

In hunting dangerous game, you are more of a hunter than a shooter. The shots are taken at close range to insure a solid hit and a good follow-up shot or two. The shooter hunts deer, goats and caribou. The shots are long, the animals small and not as hard to kill as bears. Usually, there is enough time to wait for the broadside shot that will kill the animal with just about any caliber. On caribou, I find very little difference between a .25-06 and a .300 Magnum with a good chest hit using the right bullet.

The two camps are O'Connor and Keith. O'Connor was a well-educated man with a good job; he didn't have to hunt to eat. He was recoil shy and arrogant to the point of demeaning those who did not agree with him. Keith, on the other hand, was a practical preacher of heavy bullets, especially for elk hunts in the woods where the proverbial 'Texas heart shot' at a departing elk was often the only shot offered. If you were hungry and smart, you would use the equipment that would give you the best chance for success no matter what shot was offered.

I like a premium-quality bullet of at least .33 caliber and at least 225 gr. in weight. The .358 Winchester is about minimum in power; up from there, the .35 Whelen, .338 Win. Mag., .375 H&H, .45-70 and various .416s are fine. Have a small scope on the rifle; 1X-5X is ideal. Back-up sights are a good idea. Practice with your gun under field conditions until you can group in at least 8 inches off-hand at 100 yds. and 200 yds. sitting. The other consideration is speed. Practice shooting without taking the gun off your shoulder. My guns all shoot at under 2600 fps so I sight in 3 in. high at 100 yds. I can hold on where I want to hit out to 200 yds. without worry about trajectory. On your hunt, you might not get the shot you wanted so make up for it with the right caliber and a lot of practice.

Handguns are o.k. if larger than .44 Mag. caliber. Handgun hunters should be able to group 5 shots in an 8 inch circle at the longest distance they are comfortable with shooting. This is shorter than you think.

Bow hunters should bring knee pads.


Alaska and Era airlines fly from Anchorage to Kodiak. There are many hotels in Kodiak; Best Western, 486-5712; Comfort Inn, 487-2700; Shelikof, 486-4141; Russian Heritage, 486-5657 and others. There are regular flights into Kodiak on Alaska Airlines.

In the interests of time clients typically will take a float plane out to the boat and back on overnight trips. Getting to hunting and fishing areas can take considerable sea time and may not always suit those susceptible to seasickness. Rates are about $300 to $400 for Afognak. We’ll assist in making these arrangements when air transport is necessary.

We can freeze up to 150 lbs. of fish on the boat and vacuum pack. You can buy insulated boxs to help preserve your fish during your trip home.


We are not in charge of the weather. Occasionally conditions at sea and in the air may deteriorate and we’ll have to postpone a departures or cut a trip short for the sake of safety.


I have been in Alaska over 38 years hunting and fishing every chance I get. My biggest thrill is getting customers close to the bears or hooked to the fish.
- Joe Polanco
"The Bear Hunter"