Trophy Alaska Moose and Bear Hunting Adventures on the River

An Alaska Bear Hunting Adventure

By Adina D. Holbrook


So, here I am, in the extreme, remote wilderness of the central Alaskan interior, only accessible by float plane. I’m alone, except for our 3 small children ages 4 on down, on vacation in our well stocked cabin at our trophy Alaska moose hunting camp where we are outfitters and guides. My husband and I run our own guiding business and he just finished a 10 day guided grizzly bear hunt. The kids and I flew in on the flight that picked up our client.

We had a large grizzly bear at our other permanent moose hunting camp cabin, 36 river miles away, giving us some problems, so Ben went down river to hunt it. It was much safer for me to stay with the kids and let him go alone.

The summer months in Alaska are well known for the long hours of daylight. It’s wonderful once you get used to it. I’m from Idaho, so had trouble sleeping in the daylight, after we got married, but I now love the light as I really miss it in the long, cold, dark winters.

There are a lot of bears, both blacks and grizzlies, so we’re constantly on the lookout. At night we have shovels, etc. leaned against the cabin for an alarm to know if one is snooping around.

Well, our third night since Ben left us to go down river to our other trophy Alaska moose hunting camp, the “alarm” sounded at about 4 am. I thought, “Yes, that definitely sounds like a bear”. I crept out of bed and into the kitchen area of our 16×20 trophy Alaska moose hunting cabin. I peeked out the windows and out the front window on the cabin door. As I watched, a large black bear tore into a cot that I should have put away already. He was about 6 feet away from the bottom of our steps. I wasn’t sure whether to shoot him or just scare him off. I noticed how big he looked and he had a scar on his nose. I didn’t want to shoot him at such close range for fear that while he was dying he’d jump up on the porch and become aggressive.

I went to get my gun and found it missing. Oh great, I had forgotten and left it on the porch the night before, before going to bed. I reached out and got it where I’d handily leaned it next to the door. The big black bear owned the place and he paid little attention to me, even when I feebly hollered at him. I decided I wanted to shoot him. He disappeared under the edge of the porch, so I moved to a different window to watch him from. How could he have gotten so far so fast? He walked over and looked in the burn barrel. Could there be two bears? I leaned over and looked up close to our trophy Alaska moose hunting cabin and there was the big boy. He decided to rip up one of the kids’ life jackets and put holes in the sink drain. What a stinker chewing up everything!

I wanted to shoot that bear. It would be fun to impress Ben when he got back. I was nervous to step off of our porch though, so I wanted to get a shot from the deck, which is off the ground by about 3 and a half feet. (We built our trophy Alaska moose hunting cabin several feet off the ground after an especially high water year, so that in the future, during a flood year our cabin would be safe for the trophy Alaska moose hunting that we always do in the fall.) I watched the two bears as they wandered around our camp. They meandered their way over to the outhouse and generator. Then, they headed on down a game trail that disappears into the forest behind where we have some really nice covered wagon style wall tents set up for our trophy Alaska moose hunt in the fall. I was disappointed as I realized I hadn’t had a good opportunity to shoot the big boy from the porch. Just then, thankfully, he decided to come back and he headed over to check out, or probably chew on, the generator again. As he stepped out I was in position and ready. My trusty custom 30.-06 was my faithful gun and I knew it would do the job. I had a perfect opportunity and I nailed him. He dropped like a rock only 3 feet from the generator. He gave the death moan, but I shot him again just to be sure he was not going anywhere.

My custom 30.-06 had done the job. I was standing on the porch with the mosquitoes buzzing around me. Up until now I was able to ignore them because of all the excitement I was experiencing. In Alaska the nights don’t get very cold because the sun doesn’t go down very far below the horizon before it’s rising again, so the mosquitoes don’t slow down for long! Now that the bear was dead and the other one had run off, I could go back to bed and to sleep… only problem? My adrenaline had kicked in! I was 4 months pregnant, and had been feeling sick and drained a lot of the time. I really needed my sleep, but alas I was wide awake for a LONG time. I think it was about 2 hours before I finally drifted off to sleep again. Thankfully I did go to sleep again for a while before needing to get up and take care of my small children. Once the kids get up I can’t lay down for a nap anytime that I need one. I have to wait until they are ready for their naps, as well, and then I am free to sleep.

It was a lot of fun to have a huge surprise waiting for Ben. He was coming back to our trophy Alaska moose and bear hunting cabin today. He hadn’t caught sight of the big grizzly bear that was at our other hunting camp, so wasn’t successful at getting it. When he pulled up in the boat to our moose hunting camp he quickly noticed the fresh bear tracks. Ben is a super good tracker and is always noticing fresh tracts on all the gravel bars up and down the moose hunting river which is the highway at our trophy Alaska moose hunting camp in Alaska. He immediately hollered to me from the boat. “Was there a bear in camp?” I responded. ”Yep, two”. “Did you shoot one?” he inquired. I was very excited to say “Yep, I sure did!” My big black bear squared 6’8″.

Stay tuned for more hunting adventures as we relive them ourselves. The kids love it when I read them a real life adventure, especially one that they are a part of.