About The Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bears~ “I had that dream again last night“, I tell Brian, when he comes into the cook tent for a cup of coffee. “Horses hadn’t moved much, must have slept, not ate, all night. They are going to be a pain in the ass today, trying to eat instead of walking. Grizzly Bears again?” Brian replies in his half-speak-morning-talk.

Each hunting guide needs to know where the camps are. From a 3 hour horseback ride to 11.5 hours away, each camp has a unique atmosphere and purpose.

For example, “my camp” is great, just great, for Dall Sheep and Grizzly Bears. You might find a Black Bear, but there are so many Grizzly Bears, it isn’t every year at this camp you’ll get to even see one. There are wolverines, and heading out to my favorite camp, I always recommend my hunter has a tag.

I can say, “Oh, that’s my camp” but what that means, is that it is the or one of a couple camps I am really familiar and comfortable in and with. No, not the camp it’s self… The area the camp is based in, the critters that like it best and that we, my hunter and I, will have the best opportunities to find a certain animal, game trails, the critter escape routes, hideouts, alternate routes to and from the ridges or knolls for glassing from.

Grizzly Bears … The Dream

Grizzly Bears~ I close my eyes, exhausted in the best possible way. Snuggle into my bag, shifting to get comfortable.

Hope my babies at home with their Grandma are doing good. Hope we have an awesome day tomorrow. Oh! There. Grizzly Bear. Oh, Grizzly Bears, it’s a sow with this year’s cub. Look how they shine in the sunlight. Watch how they move across the grass. Even though it’s my dream, I can’t see them if I look right at them. I see them so clearly out of the corner of my eye.

Dark, dark brown, almost black Grizzly Bears, blond bears, the Toklat color phase, the hump gives them away~ Grizzly.

I know I am not asleep yet. I see bears when I close my eyes, here, in this camp, I see them. Sometimes one, sometimes a sow with one, two and I have even seen three cubs, here, in my mind’s eye. I have been guiding out of this particular camp for 12 years. I remember the first time I saw bears behind my eyes here. It was really cool, then it was really strange. Over the years, I’ve just accepted that there must be a reason, here.

Grizzly BearsWhat or who puts these images behind my eyes? I ponder that and try not to pick it apart, because it feels like a gift. Grizzly Bears, I’ve talked about here a few times, but never told you ~ that I have always been drawn closer to, pulled, as if I am connected by an invisible string and the bear is on the other end.

Riding up the creek that I love to hunt, I’ve seen Grizzly Bears crossing the water, found one asleep at the base of a mountain, followed them into and through brush bigger than my horse. Seen and tracked a trophy bear that a client and I watched for almost an hour, to get within 50 yards only to hear the unmistakeable (bone-chilling) sound of a cub bear calling it’s Momma. I’ve recognized certain Grizzly Bears, young bears who can’t quite figure out what you are doing out there in their area, following you all day, from and back to camp, day after day after day.

Grizzly BearsThe coolest Grizzly I have ever seen was a white cub. Not a blond, but white. Watched it grow for 2 years in a row. Told a client to go f*ck himself (Yeah, the Boss hates when that happens), when he tried to convince, threaten or even bribe me so that he could kill it. (That was after I explained, for the third time, he was only two, I saw him the year before when he was just a fat little basketball of fur and as he was still with the sow, off limits, legally.)~ and no, I didn’t get a picture- either year!

Located in Unit 12, in the Chisana Valley of the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Pioneer Outfitters has one of the only areas in Alaska that a Grizzly Bear may be harvested by a hunter every year instead of one every four years.

The area has the population and more to support this hunting regulation. With the never ending winds blowing off an unbelievable amount of ice, the grizzlies have long silky coats all year long.

Grizzly BearsA few facts of Alaska Grizzly Bear Hunting:

  • A hunter less than 10 years old may not hunt and kill a Grizzly Bear, except under the direct supervision of a licensed adult at least 16 years old. The bear is then counted against the adult’s bag limit.
  • All Grizzly Bears must be sealed. Evidence of sex must remain on the hide, the entire hide (with claws attached) and skull must be taken to a “sealing officer” (an authorized ADF&G representative will place a seal) in the unit in which the bear was taken in. The hide and skull must not be frozen.
  • A non-resident hunter may NOT take a Black or Grizzly Bear accompanied by cubs.
  • To hunt a Grizzly Bear with a bow, the bow MUST be at least 50 pounds peak draw weight, the arrow must be tipped with a broad-head and at least 20 inches in overall length with at least 300 grains in total weight.
  •  Our open Grizzly Bear Hunting season is August 10th to June 30th.

Are you interested in Grizzly Bears? Get in touch!



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5 Responses to About The Grizzly Bears

    • Funny, Betsy, ya want to know why? Because yes, I have always felt so blessed I found my place AND that it was here, in Chisana, in Alaska. But, being online since January of 2011 has changed my entire world. My outlook on the world, on myself, others, what we do and why…. I am so incredibly blessed. It helps, I think, to remind ourselves of all the good that there is, in our own lives, in our worlds and in each other. Being able to share my life, and the lives of those behind a name (Pioneer Outfitters), reminds me daily, every single day why I love this life. It keeps all the good (instead of the petty or small worries and piss-offs) front in my mind, and in line with that, makes me happier which makes others happy. And THAT is a kick! To bring a little smile to someone’s day. Thank you for being part of my days, Betsy.

  1. I will see one of these!!!!..it has to be a spectacular experience..I’d be happy seeing the track..lol..A medium size black bear is the one and only bear I’ve ever see up close in the wild..he almost stepped on my toes..not sure he ever saw me he was booking so fast! not a chance for aphoto..besides thinking itwas someone crunchimg their way out of the woods from a pit stop!

  2. Speaking as an Alaskan transplant (with 40 years in and around this unbelievably awe inspiring state) I must tell you I love your perspective on bears Amber-Lee Dibble, especially the magnificent Griz. What a spectacular creature to observe in its habitat. I’ve seen many but never ever have I seen a white griz. Thank you for telling the hunter whats what.

    Amber I do believe you have bear energy. Iknow you are most definitely a Momma Bear when you care for your own young..

    Hope you are having a good and productive hunt in the Wrangell Mountains. Your Pioneer Outfitters website is filled with world class photos of Chisana and the Wrangell St.Elias area. The wildlife photos you share so freely are beyond belief.

    Best to you, your crew, guests and of course the bears. Cannot
    wait to hear the stories and see the new round of pics. Well played Amber…..very well played..

  3. Hi again amber….. re your comment about loving what you do and sharing and making others happy…..this is so obvious…
    You have chosen to give your present and future to sharing the Alaska experience with all who desire a true wilderness adventure. Be it hiking, horseback, sno-gos, whatever can get you into the wilds of Alaska…
    Amber-Lee, you lead the way because you KKNOW the way. Your military background and big game guide training make you my choice to lead me and my family into the wilderness of Alaska. All too often visitors to oour state don’t get a second chance in the wilderness of Alaska. There is always an element of danger.
    Being properly prepared and guided is really the only safe way to see or hunt Alaska. Your website both educates and excites.Any person interested in visiting the Chisana area of Alaska will get their blood boiling by visiting both the Pioneer Outfitters website and Alaska Chick blog….the possibilities are endless.

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