SPECIES OVERVIEW - Brown & Grizzly Bear
These huntable North American brown bear species are going to be explored in this article.
- Southeast Alaskan Brown Bear
- Kodiak Brown Bear
- Northern Alaskan Grizzly Bear
- Southcentral Brown Bear
The difference between the brown bear and the grizzly bear is the region it is found. The big brown bears are found on Afognak and Kodiak islands, the Alaskan Peninsula, and east and southeast along the Alaskan coast. The grizzly is found elsewhere on the continent. The boundary is a line of separation between the larger coastal bear and the smaller interior grizzly.
The proper taxonomy and classifications of the subspecies of brown bear is debatable but the general subspecies have been separated out by regions with huntable populations. Then what options you have in those areas, as far as hunting goes. This will help you see what options are out there for your dream hunt.
Hunting the brown bear is a unique experience. It’s some of the most boring hunting—endless hours spent waiting—but when you finally spot that huge bear across the tundra… exhilaration courses through you. You’ll never forget that thrill.
We’ll give you a breakdown of the area and price (from most expensive to least expensive) and explore guide options.
Southeast Alaskan Brown Bear
These bears inhabit the ABC Islands—Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof—of southeast Alaska and the area they inhabit include thick timber, deadfall and a thick canopy. They are the darkest furred brown bears and are similarly sized to other Alaskan brown bear.
Most guides have boats and are certified with the U.S. Coast Guard. A hunt would usually include glassing from small skiffs along the shoreline and short hikes up rivers. Tide levels will vary and weather will greatly impact your chances.
Average hunt prices: A 10-day brown bear hunt will average between $13,500-$29,000 and most claim an average bear size of 8 to 9 feet. A higher-end hunt will include fancier accommodations and if you’re looking for a hunt that doesn’t include camping and extensive hiking, this could be a good option.
Northern Alaskan Grizzly Bear
These bears have a similar lifestyle to common inland grizzlies and must endure the long winter and extreme cold. In the northwest, some rivers have plentiful salmon and can allow for a larger bear. In the northwest, there is also less brush but the downside is it is wetter and difficult to hike. Fall hunts are the most productive and seeing many bears per day would be common.
Average hunt prices: Between $15,000 and 19,000 on average. Most of these hunts have remote tent camps.
Southcentral Brown Bear
The closer you get to the boundary line in this area, the more likely you’ll run into smaller bears because there are fewer resources. Baited bear hunts are available in some areas during summer and spring.
Average hunt prices: Between $11,000 and $26,000. These hunts are some of the most reasonable and economical, depending on what your hunting style is. In general: less fancy, less money.
Kodiak Brown Bear
This is the most famous (and the largest) subspecies of brown bear. It’s been genetically isolated for 10,000+ years. A hunt for one of these giants is going to be a story for your grandchildren.