Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kenai Brown Bears

This past season we saw much more bear activity than we have in the past. It wasn't just Jane and I experiencing this but other home owners in the area said the same thing as well. It got to the point that the Alaska State Troopers went door to door informing people to be "bear wise" and not to leave a food source available to the bears. I'm proud to say that the troopers did not have to remind us to be "bear wise" because we always store our garbage in a shed and properly dispose of all fish remains. Yes, we do live in bear country and they will occasionally pass through our property (see dock photo above), but "encounters" are very rare. I always say the bears in our area are shy and they usually hear and see you before you will hear and see them. Most of the time the only way that you'll know a bear was nearby is finding their footprints (photo above).

That being said, this past year from July until the end of September, almost every evening at the Beaver Creek gravel bar anywhere from four to six bears would make their way to the river to feed on spawned out salmon (top two photos). The "Bear Show" was definitely an added bonus for many of our guests. One mid morning Gary Blinn and I were heading out to fish and for the longest time a bear was walking up and down the shoreline either looking to cross the river or trying to find a meal. That was a first for me on the Kenai. My bear sightings have always been during low light hours and I think this bear didn't get the memo that it was nap time.

So, here's a few facts about bears. Brown Bears typically live along the coastal areas of the State where they have access to spawning salmon. Grizzly bears are smaller than brown bears and live in the interior or northern parts of the State. The biggest reason for the size difference is food; more food near the coast, less food in the north and interior. On the Kenai Peninsula brown bears are considered "threatened" because of the development in the region. In 1999 the population of brown bears was estimated at 250-300 (sorry, that's the most recent estimate I could find). Hard to say what it is today but my guess is there are a lot more.

When guests ask me about bears in the area it always opens up the door for me to tell a couple of bear jokes. The jokes are older than dirt but they still get a laugh. In my next post I'll share them with you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Caribou Photos

Here are a couple of more photos of caribou that I found on Jane's camera.

This week we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Try to remember that it's not all about having a great meal and watching a football game or two but rather a time to reflect and to be thankful for family and friends. Be safe and enjoy the day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kenai Lowland Herd of Caribou


I always seem to talk about moose that I see on the Kenai so it's about time that I give caribou the respect that they deserve.

Caribou are the most abundant big game animal found in Alaska. Although the Kenai Lowland herd is estimated at 80-100, statewide the estimate is 950,000. Because of the small size of the Kenai herd hunting is not allowed.

From spring until fall the best places to view and photograph caribou in our area are the Kenai Flats (Bridge Access Road), Marathon Road, Kalifornski Beach Road, and the Sport Lake field on the Kenai Spur Highway. Of course, you also have a pretty good chance of seeing a caribou while fishing on the Kenai.

An interesting fact about caribou is that both male and females have antlers. The females have much smaller antlers than the males. If you look at the photos above the top photo is a male while the photo on the bottom are females.

A final fact, and probably less interesting, are caribou (and moose) are part of the deer family

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Do People Fish?

There are a number of reasons why people fish. Some do it for recreation, others do it to put food on the table. Some do it to be with friends or family and others do it to relieve stress. The guy above does it for all these reasons.

I couldn't resist taking this photo of Grant during a king trip this summer. He's probably not too happy that his son Jake and I conspired to take this photo but I thought Grant captured the ultimate pose in relaxation (and napping!).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunrise On The Kenai

Okay, it's only fair if I post a sunset I should also post a sunrise on the Kenai.

This photo was taken in the middle of August. I can remember the morning because it was one of the first mornings after the record of 30 plus days of rain that the sun actually came out. As I was snapping the picture the people in my boat all grabbed their cameras and starting taking pictures as well. Sam said, "well shoot, if the guide is taking pictures of the sunrise than it must be special."

This past summer it was.