Got back from Alaska last night about 1AM. Still trying to get over the time change.
To give the short story version of my hunt:
Day 1 - Flew from Anchorage to Iliamna then Flew into my spike camp in a Super Cub my guide was dropped off the previous day. Got my things put away in our 8ft x 8ft tent then we went to glass for about 4 hours before it got dark at 11:20PM. We saw absolutely nothing on day one.
Day 2 - Glassed for 14 hours basically the entire country we could see up to about 5 miles as the crow flies. We put about 4 to 5 miles on our boots but saw nothing not even a squirrel.
Day 3 - We saw a sow and a cub about 3.5 miles off. Watched them until they disappeared then proceeded to log some miles on our boots to check out some areas we had not made it too before. We walked about 8 miles over our 14 hour hunting day.
Day 4 - Was very slow not seeing anything until 9PM when we saw a lone bear on the furthest mountain that was hunt able from our camp about 5 miles as the crow flies. Lone Dark bear generally means a mature boar so we got a little excited.
Day 5 - We had an ice storm early that morning keeping us in the tent then the heavy fog set-in cutting our visibility to less than 1/2 mile. The fog finally lifted enough by 1:30PM that we left the tent to hunt. We headed for our highest perch to glass, after about a 3/4 mile climb we stopped to glass and catch our breath. Pete my guide says looks like I found our sow and cub on the same mountain we had seen them on 2 days before. I looked at them for about 5 minutes with no movement and said I wasn't sure it was them but I spotted a dark lone bear walking on the rim of the mountain above them. Pete looked at the bear and I could see he was excited too. Just then the bear bailed off the top of the mountain right for what we thought was the sow and cub and they scattered. It was actually a sow and 2 cubs. The boar chased one of the cubs all the way to the river down below. The bears were about 3.5 miles as the crow flies and we figures about a 5.5 mile hike away. I told Pete I came to hunt hard so we took off at a quick pace to cut the distance. By this time it was already about 3:15PM so we both knew we were committing to an all nighter with this stalk.
We came off our mountain through a saddle and over the top of the second mountain. Then we had to cross a swamp and climb the 3rd mountain. When we hit the 3rd mountain we could see 3 bears bedded in a snow bank. We knew one was the dark bear that came off the ridge because the other 3 were very light blonde bears. We climbed the 3rd mountain to figure the wind and how we would stalk. After an hour of glassing, second guessing ourselves about the bear, etc. I started to pack my stuff back into my pack and Pete said are we going somewhere. I said yep, either to that damn bear or back to the tent because sitting here isn't telling me anything.
I told him it would take us another 1.5 hrs or so to get to the bears so we would be killing the bear around 9PM and I knew we could not make it back to camp before dark and we still had a pretty good river to cross, something no one wants to tackle in the dark. I then said I was ready to go after the bear if he was willing.
So we headed down to the river pulled our boots and pants off then crossed the river. Damn was that cold it was only about 20 yards wide but that was enough because it was all fresh snow run-off.
We had a perfect stalk we gained elevation on a finger straight up-wind of the bears. Then I saw the cub first. I pulled my pack off and as the cub slowly moved away we crawled closer until we could see the boar and sow laying at the edge of the snow bank.
The bear was laying stretched out facing straight down a caribou trail on the mountain. As the sow picked her head up and looked straight at me from 40 yards away I put one shot right behind the front should of the big boar. He jump up and started biting at the wound and I shot him again breaking his back just behind the shoulders. Then I shot him a 3rd time as he rolled down the mountain about 40 more yards.
We took pictures at about 10PM at night. Then skinned the bear out. By the time we had him skinned out it was dark and midnight. The wind was howling and we were spent so we moved all of our stuff about 50 yards up wind of the bear to sleep. We ended up sleeping under the bear hide because the temperature dropped into the low 30's that night. Didn't really get much sleep because every time Pete would snore I jump up and look around and when I'd snore he would do the same. I took us 7 hrs to pack back to camp the next day where we crashed.