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General Information: Tok River Outfitters began operations in 1962 when John Erickson found it necessary to supplement a larder depleted by the ravenous appetites of six hungry kids. In those days hunters were not able to transport a lot of meat, and a good portion of the moose, caribou, and sheep harvested on these hunts ended up in the Erickson family freezer. Forty-some years later, and we're still at it - and still a family-owned and operated business, though John has assumed a somewhat reduced role, and third son Chris has taken over the day-to-day operations of Tok River Outfitters. It is our belief that satisfied clients are the key to a successful business, and it is our intent that your hunt with Tok River Outfitters be a safe, rewarding, and memorable experience. The Nature of the Hunt: Bear hunting is typically most productive in the late afternoons and evenings, and mornings are usually spent on "nature walks" (guide lingo for scouting various tidal flats and headlands for sign of bear use); afternoon activities may include digging clams, crabbing, or fishing. The guide/hunter relationship is 1x1 (one hunter, one guide) unless both parties have agreed upon other arrangements, i.e. a husband and wife, or father and son, that wish to hunt together. Outboard powered skiffs are used to transport guides and hunters to and from the beach. Spring bear hunts are typically a spot-and-stalk affair. This is not a physically demanding hunt and is a good choice for older hunters. Fall hunts, on the other hand, can, at times, be physically taxing - being in moderately good physical condition is an asset. Rarely do we find it necessary to do any sort of climbing during the course of either our spring or fall hunts. Accommodations:All our hunt packages are based from the 45' "Icy Lady", a comfortable vessel with all the amenities of home. Good fellowship, good food, a comfortable bed, and a warm place to dry wet gear make for a good hunt - you will find all this on board the "Icy Lady".
Guns: It is impossible, particularly when hunting dangerous game, to over-emphasize the importance of correctly placing your first shot; and a poorly hit bear most definitely falls into the category of "dangerous game." Although larger calibers allow for a small margin of error, there is absolutely no substitute for proper bullet placement. With this in mind, you should select a caliber that is suitable to the task, but also one that you are comfortable with. Most hunters own a 30-caliber magnum, and we believe this is the minimum that one might choose for brown bear. The bonded-core bullets, such as Jack Carter's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, the Swift A-Frame, and the Alaska Bullet Works' Kodiak Premium Bonded-Core, are proven performers, as are the "X" type bullets from Combined Technologies and Barnes. We've seen many of the more lightly constructed bullets fragment on the heavy bone of our brown bears. Extracting recalcitrant bears from the heavy timber and undergrowth of Southeast Alaska forests is not a favorite activity of hunting guides!
and Gear: For years wool was standard field apparel in Southeast Alaska, but has of late been replaced by the various synthetic materials such as fleece, polypropylene, and Gortex. We are very pleased with the fleece hunting gear from outfitters such as LL Bean and Cabela's. For protection from the rain we also like the light parka length Gortex offerings from both of these outdoor clothing outfitters. Insulated ankle-fit hip boots are a must. If you can find a pair with a good "air-bob" type of sole, so much the better.
Other Important Information: Tok River Outfitters hunts the Tongass National Forest by Priority Use Permit issued by the USDA Forest Service. This area is jointly managed by the State of Alaska and the USDA Forest Service to insure all users a quality wilderness experience, and a high level of success in the field. To this end only a very few permits are issued to hunting guides. Tok River Outfitters, due to it's longevity and reputation, is one of the fortunate few allowed to participate in this endeavor.
April 30-May 9: brown bear, two hunters, observer OK
May 11-20: brown bear, black bear optional, two hunters, observer OK
May 22-31: brown bear, black bear optional, one hunter, observer OK
Sept 15-24: brown bear, black bear or Sitka blacktail deer optional, two hunters, observer OK
The dates and duration of our hunts are flexible, and can be adjusted to fit the needs of our clientele. Our hunters will fly to Juneau (usually via Alaska Airlines) and then travel by small plane to Hoonah, Tenakee, or Pelican. These are regularly scheduled flights, and hunters are eligible to hunt the day they fly.
What You Might Expect To See:
The brown bear population in Southeast Alaska is doing very well - you will see bears.
An abundance of eagles, seagulls, sea birds, shore birds, and waterfowl
Land Otter, Marten, and Mink
Sitka Blacktail Deer, Moose, Mountain Goat, Wolves, and Coyote
Dall and Harbor Porpoises, Orca, Humpback, and Gray Whales
Stellar Sea Lion, Sea Otter, and Pacific Harbor Seal
Freshwater fishing for Dolly Varden, Cutthroat Trout, Steelhead, and salmon
Saltwater fishing for the salmon, halibut, and rockfish
Crabbing, clamming, and shrimping
Enjoy a soak in the hot springs at Tenakee or White Sulphur Springs
A walkabout of the fishing villages of Tenakee, Elfin Cove, or Pelican
References: Call or email for up-to-date pictures and references
Picture Library: The following thumbnails offer a brief glimpse of the various activities we enjoy here in Southeast Alaska. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size image: