We conduct spring and fall hunts for Kodiak brown bears on Afognak Island just NW of Kodiak Island. The Kodiak bear is a subspecies of the brown or grizzly bear. Brown bears migrated to the Kodiak Archipelago from mainland Alaska about 12,000 years ago. As the climate warmed at the end of the Ice Age, the sea level rose and the bears became an isolated population. They are exclusive to this area.
The Kodiak brown bear is a success story in the management of wildlife. The Kodiak bear is healthy and productive throughout the Archipelago and its population is actually increasing. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates, there are 3,500 bears on the Kodiak Archipelago, about 1 for every square mile. The #1 Boone and Crockett record bear came from Kodiak Island. The number of trophy bears taken in the past 5 years with skulls over 28” was higher than any 5 year period since 1960 according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Kodiak Bears are the largest bears in the world. They may grow to over 1,000 pounds, but the average adult male weighs between 600-900 pounds. I have been observing and hunting these bears for over 30 years. A trophy bear will have a head that is small in proportion to its body. The ears of a large, mature bear will look smaller and less like they are on top of the head, but more toward the side of the head. Large bears tend to waddle as they walk. Their legs seem to swing out, more of a side to side motion as they walk. Large bears will have snouts that are almost half the length of the entire head. Older, mature bears will have long ivory colored claws.
These hunts are permit only. There are limited permits allowed for Afognak Island. Fall bear season is October 25th through November 30th. Spring season is April 1st – May 15th. You must apply for these permits and need to have an Alaska Hunting License and a signed client/guide agreement prior to applying. Deadline for permit application is May 31st for the Fall and mid December for the Spring. Fall Hunts include opportunities for other game: Roosevelt Elk, Sitka Blacktail deer and sea duck.