Outfitter Critique: Lots of Brown Bears Seen on This Alaska Peninsula Hunt

Subscriber Joe Weiss (11069) reports seeing lots of brown bears during his Oct. 2017 hunt on the Alaska Peninsula with Majestic Mountain Outfitters (406-347-5401; www.majesticmountainoutfitters.com) and guide Sky Smith. Weiss found this outfitter in Hunting Report Article 3712. Don Willis had the concession at the time but recently sold it to Jeff Chadd of Majestic Mountain Outfitters. After talking to both men, Weiss kept his reservation. He was accompanied by a friend, and they met three other hunters on the way to Iliamna, AK.

Weiss arrived at the hunting area by floatplane. While most of the hunters stayed at the lodge the first evening, Weiss immediately went into the field. Weiss and Smith made camp two days before the season opened. On the first day of the season, the two were greeted with bad weather. Weiss reports 80 MPH gale-force winds. Despite the strong wind, Weiss says the tent held and that his guide knew how to handle the weather.

Weiss saw a dozen or so bears each day. He says, “As we glassed, we were always in view of bears.” On the second day of the season, Weiss and Smith spotted a bear on the mountain and determined he was a shooter. The two walked about 200 yards to the river and shot 80 to 90 yards across it to take the 10-foot brown bear. A kayak was flown in to allow the two to cross the river the following morning to retrieve it. After retrieval, they flew back to the lodge. All hunters in camp got their bears by the second day.

Weiss says the terrain consists of “meandering hills” and there was no arduous climbing. They hiked a couple miles per day. Weiss recommends slip-on waders and hip boots. Weiss did not draw a tag but paid an additional permit fee for the area. He reports a hunting cost of $25,000.

When we talked with Chadd, he told us that he has been guiding brown bear on the Alaska Peninsula for 35 years. Majestic Mountain also hunts the Wrangell Mountains for Dall sheep, moose, grizzly bear and black bear. They have two openings for brown bear in spring 2018 and two openings in fall 2019 (brown bear hunts on the peninsula are restricted to spring seasons during even-numbered years and fall seasons during odd-numbered years for non-native hunters). He says it’s best to plan ahead if possible. We have one other report for Majestic Mountain in our database.