OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Part 1:THE HUNT
Hunting Alaskas Grizz
With Council Alaska Safaris
By Kenny Kunz
|It has always been a dream of mine to hunt the elusive Grizzly bear and when I was presented with the opportunity to do so through Hunt The North, I jumped on it. Hunt The North's Dan Wennerlind set up this incredible spring bear hunting adventure, located in northern Alaskan. We set out to hunt the Interior Grizzly Bear with Krist Zwerneman of Council Alaska Safaris. Krist runs a top notch guide service that will not disappoint. My friend and I were in for an experience that will never be forgotten, traveling from Colorado to Alaska for the journey of our lives. Along the way we witnessed some absolute gorgeous country that few have ever seen.|
|We arrived in the charming town of Nome, Alaska to our awaiting guide crew, that settled us in to our hotel room. There we were able to experience the history and charm that Nome has to offer. We were fortunate enough to meet some of the cast of Bearing Sea Gold, a Discovery hit show, during our stay on the evening before we set out for our Spring Bear Hunt the next morning. It was a pretty awesome experience to see it in person.|
We arose bright and early to head out to the awaiting snowmobiles, located about 50 miles from Nome, to start our first day hunt for the mighty Grizz! Along the way we were able to see the old gold mining dredges that lay abandoned along with the small villages of the locals, which felt like being set back in time.
We loaded up all of our gear on the snowmobiles and set out for the town of Council, Alaska where our cabin was located that we would be staying for the next 6 nights. Because we arrived the night before, we were able to get in an afternoon hunt on our way to the cabin. We were guided by a local legend, Louie Stang, a resident of Nome and a very well rounded and seasoned big game hunting guide. He has been hunting the Nome and Council region for his entire life. He knows every aspect of that country like the back of his hand which proved to be a very important aspect of our hunting experience.
The Mighty Grizzly Bear Hunters-
HTN Pro-Staffer Kenny Kunz And
His Hunting Partner Clark Lodge
|During our hunt we traveled across the Alaskan tundra witnessing some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen- in search of the mighty Grizz. We searched high and low for hours and followed several good sets of tracks, but came up empty for the better part of the first day. |
|We were able to see a herd of musk ox, which we were able to get within 75 yards or so of, which is something I have never seen before. The animals seemed prehistoric with their beautiful long coats and rugged appearance. We made the decision to post up on a hill top to glass the terrain and within 10 minutes our guide spotted a grizzly bear off in the distance. He went into guide mode and told us to get ready and follow him in toe. We were beyond excited, heading out after the bear. As we made our approach, we noticed that there were 3 bears and appeared to have 2 large cubs alongside the big Sow. This was so amazing as we got within 100 yards of them before they scurried off.|
|We watched them for about 20 minutes as they disappeared into the tundra. We were feeling very optimistic at that point as I have never seen a Grizzly bear up close and personal like that. |
|We continued on our journey and did some more glassing on our way back to camp. We were about to call it a day when we did one last gaze upon the tundra and sure enough we spotted a dandy in the distance. We were unable to make out too much as the bear was too far out to see the size of it, so we decided to make our plan to stock the bear. We took off after it which was about 3 hill tops over. Once we arrived in the location that we knew the bear was last spotted, we came up empty in trying to locate the it.|
|Although we couldn't see the bear, our guide knew exactly what to do and took off after it in what I thought was the completely wrong direction. We aggressively tried to keep up with our guide as best we could. To my amazement, we came over the rise and saw a beautiful grizzly bear. Once it saw us it took off running up a hillside towards the cover of a tall alder stand, which was our worst enemy. Lucky for us our guide knew exactly what to do and had put me within 75 yards of the bear to take my shot. |
Louie calmed my nerves as I lined up for my shot. Although I connected, it only seemed to make the bear run faster. With joy and adrenaline raging through my body I took another shot at the bear as it ran up the hill. Again another well placed shot but the bear was not giving up yet!
|It was imperative to get up closer to the downed bear to finish him off. I was able to put one final shot on the bear, which finished my hunt. A memory I will never forget|
Celebration ensued immediately after, as we were all in utter amazement of what just transpired. Louie wasted no time in dressing out the bear and we all headed back to the cabin to gloat to the others hunters in town. We continued to celebrate with an amazing dinner that night while trading stories from the day. It made a wonderful end to this epic day. The bear ended be a dandy having a 22 skull. I was more than ecstatic.
|For the next few days we searched high and low for a Grizzly for my friend Clark. We cut numerous tracks and covered an insane amount of country. We spotted numerous moose and muskox, as well as countless numbers of bear and wolf tracks. It sure kept us on our toes. Every morning before each hunt we had a filling breakfast with hot coffee right on the bank of the river. It was sure nice to ride out every morning on a full stomach. We rode hard all day long through every type of terrain imaginable. Then each day we would find a high peak and enjoy a nice lunch. We gazed over the tundra as we would eat lunch in the hopes to spot another Grizzly for Clark. |
With the 5th day of our hunt was coming to an end, we were starting to get concerned we may not find the bear Clark was after. We gave it one more shot that day, before heading back. As we were glassing the terrain, Louie screamed out, I got one over on the hillside. Mind you this hillside was about a half a mile away and I still cant believe that he spotted this grizzly from so far away. It took me a few minutes to even find the bear. Without skipping a beat, Louie told us to finish up and get moving!
|It wasn't long before we had Clark in position to take a shot. Just as Clark got ready, the bear heard us and the beautiful blonde Grizzly stood up on its hind legs to see what was going on. |
The bear then saw us and turned and ran. While it tried to run, it continued to punch through the snow, making it hard for it to travel very fast. Clark fired and nailed the bear with a well-placed shot. He took one more shot and hit the bear again but she still kept going.
Clark got re-positioned and dropped the bear with a final shot. It was a highly intense and an exciting experience that will never be forgotten. Clark ended up with a beautiful blonde sow Grizzly with dark paws. She was a gorgeous bear that we were all proud of. We all celebrated while Louie dressed the bear out and we headed back to camp.
|This is by far one of the best hunts that I have ever had the pleasure of going on. From the world class ice fishing for record Graylings, to riding our snowmobiles along the Niukluk river, this is one hunting adventure that will go down in the record books for us. The hunting camp was second to none. The people of Nome were amazing and the country is to die for. Being in the country is|
|surreal and really takes you away from the everyday hustle that most of us have to deal with on a daily basis. Being able to see the Northern lights every night, to eating moose, muskox and fresh grayling adds to an experience that most people will never have the opportunity partake. Council Alaskan Safaris will not disappoint, as you will find yourself with numerous opportunities to hunt the majestic and mighty Grizzly bear and an experience you will cherish for the rest of your life.|
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
|Outfitter Krist Zwerneman and his head guide Louie Stang make a great team. Louie, who is a native to the area did a fantastic job for us. He knows the country like the back of his hand and put us on the animals we were looking for. Both Krist and Louie are very personable and made the trip an absolute success for us. 5 / 5!|
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
|The equipment used on this trip pretty much consisted of snow sleds, to get us around the area, as we needed to travel a lot to find the roaming spring grizzlies. The sleds were in great shape and did the job. There were no hiccups what-so-ever. 5 / 5!|
|Score||5 / 5|
|In my opinion, the opportunity to harvest the animal you are looking for is the most important aspect of a hunt like this. The meals, lodging and other aspects of the trip are just the icing on the cake, to make the entire experience a most memorable one. Now that being said not being successful would not tarnish this experience, but if the game is not present on a trip of this caliber and you do not have the hope of being successful each day, that makes for a tough hunt. We were both successful on this trip and so were all of the other hunters we spoke with in town. Krist's past success on this hunt is nearly 100%- 5 / 5!|
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||4 / 5|
The lodging on this trip consistent of a modernized cabin with a wood stove. We both felt very comfortable throughout the trip and it was nice to have a warm, clean cabin to come back to after a long day in the field. Due to the remoteness of the location, the lodging aspect of the hunt was more then adequate.
All of the meals on the trip was also taken care of by the outfitter. We were able to enjoy some of the Alaskan delicacies such as moose burgers, caribou steaks and fresh grayling that we caught the last day after the hunt was over. We gave the lodging and meals aspect of the hunt a 4 / 5!
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||4 / 5|
|Krist's standard 7 day all inclusive spring bear hunt package is $16,000 per hunter and his 7 day fall bear hunt package is $14,000. Although overall this is an expensive investment, after researching similar type trips, we felt his pricing for this hunt was in line with the competition. We gave Krist a 4 / 5 for the overall package price.|
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
|Overall this trip was everything both of us could have asked for. The experience was one of the most memorable hunts each of us will take with us for the rest of our lives. The opportunity to harvest a wild Alaskan grizzly was one that cannot be duplicated. we could not be happier with the trip! 5 / 5!!! |
|Overall We Scored Council Alaska Safaris A 28 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate At All To Refer Krist To Anyone Looking For A World Class Alaskan Grizzly Hunt!|
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