Some think hunting over bait is easy, some say not fair. When you stop to consider how many Caribou and Moose calves are taken by bears in the spring it makes you wonder what's fair! Say you are walking down a trail and see a nice bear; shoot it and go to it only to find cubs just yards away off the trail that you didn't see? This is not the time to think "I should have spent more time to study the bear" or to think "I should have hired a guide"! Yes, this actually happened to some hunters from a Christian Hunt Club a number of years ago!
Hunting over bait allows different things to be accomplished; 1. The reason we are allowed to hunt Grizzly over bait, AK Dept. of Fish and Game determined there are not enough bears taken by hunting to reduce the detrimental impact on Caribou and Moose calves. This allows us to participate in sound management practices saving tax payer dollars! 2. Allows us to really look bears over; to judge sex, size and hide condition of the bear. We let more bears walk away than we shoot! It allows the hunter to settle down, take some video and pictures. We can tell by the way bears act if there are bigger, badder bears around. 3. It is a great way to view wildlife. You never know what will show up; wolf, wolverine, fox, bears fighting, bear cubs interacting with each other and my personal favorite; seeing the eyes of a hunter open wide when bears just materialize seemingly from nowhere, unheard! They are not called "Ghost of the Forest" for nothing!
Though baiting season is April 15 through June 30, we only hunt mid May through June 15 before the bears start getting rubbed. Interior Black Bear average 5 to 5 and a half foot, 6 feet or better is our goal. Interior Grizzly average 6-7 foot and the Grizzly season ends 31 May so, if you are planning a chance at Grizzly, plan for one of the two last weeks of May.
We hunt from our privately-owned cabin; fly in only, no running into other hunters! Bunkhouse, sauna and great meals are part of the amenities. Bait stations with tree stands are within bow range. The last seven years we've had 100% success on Black Bears and 50% on Grizzly.
To be completely honest; it is harder to get Grizzly to hit a bait consistently, highly probable in early May. They have a greater roaming territory than Black Bears and harder to pattern, we've changed operations to try and hold them in the area. Our plan; book a Black Bear hunt waiting for a chance at a Grizzly. You can at any time take a Black Bear and if Lady Luck is with us and a Grizzly comes in, you only pay an additional kill fee.
Black Bear hunts start at:
Kill Fee for Grizzly is $4,000.00 which means once successful for one Black Bear and one Grizzly for a one on one hunt; your cost is $9,000.00! An $8,000.00 saving versus separate hunts for Black Bear over bait and a free-range hunt for Grizzly!
Note: Black Bear limit is three per person, Grizzly is one. Crystal River Guide Service reserves the right to limit the taking of additional bears based on sound management goals.