Arthur Erwin Brown.
[Illustration: TROPHIES FROM ALASKA.]
Big Game Shooting in Alaska
BEAR HUNTING ON KADIAK ISLAND
Early in April, 1900, I made my first journey to Alaska for the purpose of searching out for myself the best big-game shooting grounds which were to be found in that territory. Few people who have not traveled in that country have any idea of its vastness. Away from the beaten paths, much of its 700,000 square miles is practically unknown, except to the wandering prospector and the Indian hunter. Therefore, since I could obtain but little definite information as to just where to go for the best shooting, I determined to make the primary object of my journey to locate the big-game districts of southern and western Alaska.
My first two months were spent in the country adjacent to Fort Wrangell. Here one may expect to find black bear, brown bear, goats, and on almost all of the islands along the coast great numbers of the small Sitka deer, while grizzlies may these are the black, the grizzly, and the glacier or blue bear. It is claimed that this last species has never fallen to a white man’s rifle. It is found on the glaciers from the Lynn Canal to the northern range of the St. Elias Alps, and, as its name implies, is of a bluish color. I should judge from the skins I have seen that in size it is rather smaller than the black bear. What it lives upon in its range of eternal ice and snow is entirely a subject of surmise.
[Footnote 3: The Polar bear is only found on the coast, and never below 61 deg.. It is only found at this latitude when carried down on the ice in Bering Sea.]
[Illustration: THE HUNTER AND HIS GAME.]
Of all the varieties of brown bears, the one which has probably attracted most attention is the large bear of the Kadiak Islands. Before starting upon my journey I had communicated with Dr. Merriam, Chief of the Biological Survey, at Washington, and had learned from him all that he could tell me of this great bear. Mr. Harriman, while on his expedition to the Alaskan coast in 1899, had by great luck shot a specimen, and in the second volume of “Big Game Shooting” in “The Badminton Library,” Mr. Clive Phillipps-Wolley writes of the largest “grizzly” of which he has any trustworthy information as being shot on Kadiak island by a Mr. J.C. Tolman. These were the only authentic records I could find of bears of this species which had fallen to the rifle of an amateur sportsman.