This is a little story about Casey's dad. He was a farmer from Nebraska and Wyoming who loved hunting. When he was 18 he read an article in Outdoor Life about brown bear hunting, and he dreamt of some day going on such a hunt. As Casey grew up on the farm, his Dad passed on that love for hunting, which eventually led to Casey moving up here to Alaska, which in turn led to us creating 60th Parallel. Then Casey's dad was diagnosed with Cancer. Casey had his parents move up to Alaska and live with him. His dad beat the cancer. Then he drew a very rare and coveted brown bear tag for Unimak, a remote island on Alaska Peninsula. Basically the Alaskan version of Jurassic Park. Casey figured it was time for his dad to realize his 50 year dream of hunting brown bears.
I (John) had the pleasure of going along as photographer to document the hunt. It was a really special experience for me as well, watching Casey and his dad get to share such a dream together and so I hope you all enjoy this little photo journal of this adventure.
Casey and his father Gene admired the paw of his bear.
We set up camp in the one patch of brush we could find to hide from the wind. We were well positioned for glassing, being positioned on a bluff surrounded by a large open plain, with two active volcanoes at our back, and the ocean on either side of us.
We picked a stationary vantage so as not to track our scent all over the place, and set up to glass.
We saw quite a few bears each day, but were holding out for the right bear, and the right opportunity. This younger bear came in to camp and gave Casey's dad a bit of a scare when it wouldn't leave, but a couple of warning shots and a lot of yelling finally made it mosey off.
Here, as large sow combs the beach with her progeny in tow.
Isanotsky, an active volcano that dominates the landscape.
The only tree we ever saw on our side of the island.
The remnants of an old native fishing village.
An eagle surveys the landscape. We saw dozens of various eagles and owls each day.
More remnants of the fishing village of the past.
A beach combing treasure, these Japanese glass fishing floats are becoming more and more rare to find washed up from a bygone era.
You never know what you will find on remote Alaskan beach.
Finally, the right moment presents itself. A nice boar works its way along the coastline, and we hurry to get in position to intercept it.
Gene lines u for the shot that he has waited 50 years to take...
Father and son carefully approach the downed bear.
5 decades of dreaming culminate. Check out the coat on this bear! Really long hair, blond back, chocolate legs, a real beauty.
The size of a mature male brown bears paws is always humbling.