I’ve seen plenty of “Best Cartridge Ever” or “Only Cartridge You’ll Ever Need” articles, blogs, and editorials, and I always seem to have a bone to pick with them. That’s exactly why I will make no claims that the three loads I discuss below are these are the best, most effective, or even my permanent favorite cartridges for Alaska game.
There are numerous factors that play into any superlative ammo discussion, including versatility, power, and availability. What I want to talk about here is simply three excellent cartridges for anything in Alaska you would hunt with a rifle.
Tyler Freel is on 10-day brown bear hunt on the Alaskan peninsula. He's battling tough weather conditions and rugged terrain while trying to take a bear with his recurve bow. Freel will be calling in regularly on a satellite phone to give updates on his hunt. Here's his first report from day 1 in the bush.
There are a lot of factors that play into the success of a hunt, or even whether or not a hunt will happen.
You can get off on the right foot by having all of the proper gear, but sometimes things still go wrong. I’ve been preparing for my upcoming brown bear hunt for months, but I came to the realization that it might have been for nothing as I sat in the doctor’s office on Friday. I’ve been sick for awhile, and unable to figure why.
As new symptoms began to show, the doc told me that I have shingles. Not only do I have the painful manifestation of the chicken pox virus, but it’s on my face. He said that if it spread to my eyes and I went without treatment, I would probably go blind.
If you’ve been in the Live Hunt loop lately, I’m sure that you’ve read that instead of my hard-hitting .375, I’ve chosen to try and take a brown bear with my recurve bow. If you’ve read that, you probably either think I’m either crazy or stupid, and truth be told I might just be both.
However, in my defense, I must say the recurve is even more deadly a weapon now than it was when it was first invented. I have several reasons for choosing to go with a traditional bow, so hear me out.
With summer just around the corner, many of us will soon be taking to the mountains and trails in bear country. Those of us who fish, hunt, and hike in the grizzly and black bears’ stomping grounds need to give them respect, but also be prepared for a potential violent encounter. So what is the best option for stopping a bear that’s hellbent on tearing you to pieces?
This May I'm headed for the Alaska Peninsula to spot, stalk, and shoot a brown bear with a recurve bow (you'll be able to find full coverage of this trip on Live Hunt). As I get physically and mentally prepared for this hunt, I can’t help but think back to some of the bear stories I’ve heard.
The southern coast of Alaska, loaded with toothy predators the size of Volkswagens, is where bear stories are born. My friends Luke and Josh Randall of Afognak Wilderness Lodge have no shortage of these stories, as they have been guiding and hunting some of the largest land predators in the world for most of their lives. When I was down at the lodge hunting deer last December, Luke told me one such story that would send shivers down any hunter’s spine.
If you want to get an earful of opinions here in Alaska, just ask people about their favorite bear backup gun. You’re likely to get anything from a .50 BMG to a buddy who runs slower than you. Alaska is a place full of big bears and tall tales, but the right backup gun can save your life. The best calibers for big bears are obviously large caliber rifles, but it’s not always convenient to carry around a crew-served artillery piece.
I’ll soon be headed down to the Alaska Peninsula to hunt brown bears with my recurve bow. Needless to say, it would be foolish to make a go of it without having some type of backup firearm. So what do I take?
Alaska attracts a certain type of person, and with Fairbanks (my hometown) being literally the end of civilization, that fact is more evident here than anywhere else. Fairbanks is full of hardy, freedom-loving people who often “don’t fit the mold.” Although the modern world is here and creeping ever deeper into The Last Frontier, there are many of us who dream of an older, wilder time, and have to find a way to keep in touch with that.
The photo at the bottom of this blog looks like it could have come from the set of a horror movie. But don’t blame Wes Craven: This picture was taken by my buddy, JR, while he was out on his trap line this winter.
One day in early March, JR cut across the tracks of a frantic yearling caribou running down a riverbank out of the woods. The caribou wasn’t alone though. JR could see another animal was putting a paw down every few yards, hanging on in a death grip to the fleeing caribou.
By backtracking, he found out what was taking place, reading the tracks as if it were still happening. He found where the caribou had been traveling along the riverbank, and a large lynx had waited in ambush.