Ed Roten, 66, a retired millwright with Goodhart Sons Inc., who resides in Kirkwood, Pa., and his nephew, Robert Jones, 48, a Solanco alumnus and self-employed carpenter, took a trip to the Prince of Wales Island off of the Alaskan coast during the second week of May and returned home with two black bear.
Prince of Wales Island, the third largest inland of the Americas, is located in the southern southwest part of Alaska. In addition to black bear it is home to Sitka black tailed deer, moose, wolves and an occasional wolverine.
On this trip the local hunters were in pursuit of black bear solely, although had a wolverine made an appearance it would have been tempting. "I wouldn't mind having one of those on the wall," said Roten, whose hobby is taxidermy.
While the bear baiting is legal in Alaska, Roten and Adams were float hunting. "We float near the bay shore and when we spot a bear we sneak and stalk," said Roten. "It was a treacherous hunt, everything was slimy and slick, the rocks were really a challenge."
Weather was also not the most desirable. "It rained practically every day and we even had some sleet."
This was Adams' second hunt in Prince of Wales and he arranged the hunt for he and his uncle. This was not a guided hunt, " said the retired millwright. "A husband and wife rent their home during the hunting season and move in with the husband's parents. They provide the house, boat, and a car. You buy the gas and the extras."
Roten said the two ate well as the host family set out crab pots and stocked the refrigerator with shrimp and crabs the entire week. "What you don't consume you leave for the hunters that follow," said Roten.
Hunting off the bay in back of an inlet, Roten harvested his 220-pound bear on Thursday, May 11, with his Thompson Center Encore 7-mm magnum from about 30-yards out.
Jones, who is moving to Idaho, harvested his 200-pound bear with a borrowed rifle. "We had some problems with the transportation of the firearms," said Roten. "The scopes were really messed up." The host provided Adams with a Marlin 1895M, chambered for the 450.
This was Roten's fifth bear, but first Alaskan. "It will probably be my last. My wife says we don't have room for another one," said the veteran hunter.
Roten was amazed at the bear population of the island. "We even missed a couple before we connected," said Roten. "We saw a total of 26 different bear during the week."
While Roten will limit his hunting to mule deer, elk and mountain lion when he visits Adams in Idaho his nephew plans to return to the Alaskan Island. "He has his heart set on bringing back a seven-footer," said his uncle with a smile.