As hunters we all have our favorite spots where we have taken some of our biggest or best trophies. Some just call it their secret spot while others may call it “the honey hole” or by some other name. Guides have their favorites also and in AAA’s early days our “honey hole” for big brown bears was Barney Creek, a small alder filled valley with a southern exposure in our Cold Bay area. The valley was almost four miles long but we never killed or stalked a bear in the last mile of it. We did take quite a few bears on the north entrance to the valley. It was mainly a breeding or hook-up valley. We only hunted it in the spring and during eight springs, we harvested eleven bears over 9’ with seven of those over 10’ and one 11 footer. We also know of a King Cove resident who took his brother to this valley and they harvested two bears over 10’during that same time period. Now that’s what I call a “honey hole.”
I’m posting a story written by one of my clients, John Bermen. The story was published in the Alaska Professional Hunters Magazine in March, 1989. This bear was and still is the largest bear that I have ever guided on. It was also the largest bear taken by a guided hunter in 1988 and received the first place award from Safari Club International, scoring 29 5/16 SCI points. I received a .270 Remington Model 700 mountain rifle from the FNAWS Association for guiding the hunter on “The Outstanding Animal of the Year” for 1988. That’s the rifle where I had the stock cut down for my wife.
What I find so aggravating about hunting for a 10’ bear is I hunted brown bear for myself eight different times and never killed a 10’ bear. Then Brent and I formed AAA Alaska Outfitters and I guided on a 10’+ brown bear the first three springs and the fall of ’89. Four 10 foot brown bears our first five years in business and I wasn’t hunting any differently than I did my last four personal hunts. I even hunted in AAA’s areas on two of my hunts. To this day I still don’t understand that. That being said, I hope you enjoy John’s story about a great bear.