Jawless in Kenai
Bear Hunting Magazine|November - December 2020
Jawless in Kenai
A Solo Mountain Bear Hunt Turns up an Unusual Bruin
Carrie Kegler

As a lifelong Alaskan, avid hunter, and angler, I have spent a great deal of time in the mountains with friends and family enjoying everything the alpine has to offer. For several years I’ve wanted to try a solo overnight hunt for black bear, mostly just to see if I could do it. The idea of going alone after a bear appealed to me because all the challenges and decisions would be my own; everything from the choice in location, to the stalk, and pack out.

This fall, all of myusual hunting partners were hooked up with work schedules, and couldn’t join me on my quest to put a little more meat in the freezer, so it was a great opportunity to try that solo hunt

á¹ o, on a sunny Saturday morning this fall, I headed out for a valley in the Kenai Mountains a couple hours drive from home that I know well. After making it up the valley a few miles, I came to a glassing point I’ve sat on many times and scoured the hillsides for bears as they fed on the berries above the tree line. I didn’t spot anything on my end of the valley, so I turned my attention to the hilltops in the direction I came in.

Two miles away, there he was, plain as day. It was obvious he was a big bear, even from that distance. I had somehow passed him up on my way in; he was probably obscured by the folds in the hillside which can make a mountain look deceivingly smooth all the way up to its peak. I took a realistic estimate of the amount of daylight I had left, packed up, and headed down the valley after him.


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November - December 2020