Grizzly in Alaska with The Perrins' Rainy Pass Lodge
I spent most of August in Alaska at The Perrins’ Rainy Pass Lodge. It’s the oldest hunting lodge in Alaska, and is a place that I highly recommend. My husband and I hunted there for a 16 day hunt, with a couple of days on either side for sightseeing. One of the animals I was hunting was the grizzly bear. We had a few weird things working against us… Alaska doesn’t get droughts… until this year. Along with the drought, the blueberries that cover the valleys were very sparse. The weather was much warmer than normal, so often animals were laid up in the shade. The salmon run was underway, and typically you will find bears either fishing the rivers or in the valley snacking on blueberries. (You could often find me snacking on those delicious little berries as well.)
Our first several days with RPL, we hunted out of the main lodge, which is REALLY NICE! More on that in another post…. Mornings we would hunt from the lookout point, from which we could literally see for miles. A stalk could be done, as we were on horseback, so we could close distances fairly quickly, then tie the horses and stalk the remainder on foot. Afternoons we hunted the river, where the salmon were spawning, and the grizzlies and black bears were fishing for their dinner. We saw a few bears the first few days, but we were seeing immature bears, sows and cubs, etc. Nothing to get up from glassing a put a stalk on.
There were tons of track and scat along the river, but we had yet to actually put eyes on a grizzly there. On day 6 of our hunt, I got lucky, we had gotten into a treestand at 3:32 pm (I always take a photo from where I am sitting to document the time I sat and the view I had). I was preparing to get the Thermacell started and I hear Steve and Jer whispering from the adjoining tree stands! A grizzly was working its way through the woods far to my right. It came out approximately 12 yards from me, where the salmon were splashing in the shallow spot of the river. I took aim and fired my rifle, immediately rechambering. The bear ran less than 10 yards and went down behind a bush. I went ahead and fired 2 more “insurance shots” into the bear to make sure it was a quick kill. Lord knows you do NOT want to walk up on an injured grizzly.
As soon as I unloaded my rifle and prepared to climb down from the stand, I took another photo documenting the time, and the excitement on my face. 3:46 pm. From the moment I sat in the stand to after the shots had been fired, only 14 minutes had passed! This shows the absolute importance of being silent and stealthy as you make your way to your hunting spot. The bear was obviously already in route to the “fishing hole”.
Then we climbed down and walked to the bear, which the refer to as a Toklat Grizzly, as it was very blonde on the body with darker hair on the legs. A fantastic trophy, and will look beautiful in the house.
As we rode past this river multiple times the next week, there was still quite a lot of fresh bear sign. The area is quite literally loaded up with grizzlies and black bear. I cannot recommend The Perrins’ Rainy Pass Lodge enough. Abundant game and knowledgeable guides, and the camps are very comfortable. Anyone who has hunted Alaska knows this is NOT often the case.