I feel as if I wanted to go back, to Kodiak. Almost as if I could return there to live. So secluded, so remote, so peaceful; such a mingling of the domestic, the pastoral, the sylvan, with the wild and the rugged; such emerald heights, such flowery vales, such blue arms and recesses of the sea, and such a vast green solitude stretching away to the west, and to the north and to the south.

    Bewitching Kodiak! The spell of thy summer freshness and placidity is still upon me.

                                                                                        John Burroughs, Alaska: The Harriman Expedition, 1899

    This web site is dedicated to my father Edward F. Kozub, who passed away on November 4th, 1998. At the young age of 60 he lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer. My father encouraged me to follow my dreams and the bears. You can find out more about this special man at www.edkozub.com, which is a small tribute to his life.

    Click here to read North American Bear Article.

    A swimming bear. Welcome to "kodiakbears.com". My name is John Kozub. With this web site I want to share with the world my passion, love and hobby for the Kodiak brown bear, and the surrounding habitat of this magnificent creature.

    Over the years, I have taken countless trips into bear country, and had the opportunity to share this majestic world with many of my family and friends. Each time I bring someone new, I watch in their face the amazement of viewing a bear for the first time. It truly is a spectacular experience. I hope this web site gives you some of this feeling, although you need to visit Kodiak Island in person to get the true experience.

    This is my son Preston on his first bear view.

    Alaska's Emerald Isle

    A map of Kodiak Island. Kodiak Island, Alaska, is the second largest island in the United States (Hawaii is the largest). During the summer months, Kodiak is awash with green vegetation and is better known as "Alaska's Emerald Isle." There are less than 100 miles of road on the island, but they are some of the most scenic miles to be found anywhere in the world. The island has hundreds of miles of convoluted coastline and tidal zones, 117 salmon streams and 14 major watersheds. It is the perfect habitat for the Kodiak brown bear to thrive. In fact, two-thirds of the island has been set aside to form the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Each bear needs miles of land to travel without human populations and dwellings. The refuge offers just that.

    On Kodiak you will only find brown bears. Estimates of the bear population on Kodiak and the surrounding archipelago is currently around 3000. Many more bears inhabit the Katmai Coast area this is close by. I believe these areas have the largest bear population per square mile in the world.

    Planning For Bear

    I have traveled extensively around Kodiak Island, taken many trips into the "bush" as an independent traveler over the years, and had an opportunity to see many bears each time. I personally put all of the plans together for each trip, which takes months of preparation. I usually stay out in the field for at least a week at a time, flying in all the gear and food each time. You must remember that you will not have a store to go to when you're out in the field, so preparation is the key to a successful experience.

    I prefer to plan my trips during the months of late June, July or August, to coincide with salmon runs. I wish I could tell you the perfect time to schedule a bear viewing trip, but there is no way to do this when it comes to "mother nature". The salmon runs can change year to year, depending on the weather and other factors. The salmon bring the bears out of the hills and thick vegetation and into the streams, thus allowing for wonderful viewing and photo opportunities during daylight hours. In the summer, Alaska has a great deal of daylight! Some nights I have been out past 10 p.m. watching the bears. The big boars (male bears) usually wait for evening to appear. When thousands of salmon are rushing up a stream and bears are gorging themselves, to me IT DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT! WOW, IS THIS EXCITING TO VIEW! I would never be able to describe in words the adrenaline rush I get each time I watch this. It will break your heart to visit bears in a zoo after seeing the incredible natural habitat these bears live in.

    Bear Fact: Next time you're in a zoo, read the sign next to the bear enclosure. You'll find that many zoos feature Kodiak brown bears because of the huge size they grow to.

    Bear Spots I Have Known

    My love for bears has also brought me to several areas outside of Kodiak, Alaska. I have spent time in both Banff and Jasper Parks in the Canadian Rockies. These areas can be traveled by car, and I have been able to take my wife and boys with me. The National Parks in Montana, Admiralty Island in Alaska, Denali and Brooks River area in Alaska, are a few additional areas I have had luck seeing bears. I estimate that I have now viewed hundreds of different Grizzlies or brown bears over the last eight years, which has truly changed the way I look at these special animals. My black bear sightings are probably double this.

    I must be honest; my favorite place in the world to see bears is still on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

    Where Are The Bears?

    Float plane. Inflatable raft. If you think you can see bears outside the airport or town on Kodiak Island, think again! It takes a great deal of planning, money and timing to have great bear viewing opportunities. Renting a floatplane to bring you out to this remote area can cost thousands of dollars, if you plan to camp for any length of time. In most cases, you also need to fly out an inflatable raft and small engine to get you to good salmon streams on remote lakes. However, some float plane operators offer day trips, which will fly you in and out for a few hours of bear viewing. This may be a great way to get started.

    Bear Fact: Over the years I have met many people who have lived on Kodiak for years and have never seen a bear. You need to do some work to see the bears!

    This web site features some of my pictures from Kodiak Island. Many others were taken by my good friend Chet Wysocki, who I have brought with me on several trips to Kodiak. In fact, I do not spend much time taking photos during my trips, as I am caught up in viewing bears themselves. I am also not a professor on the subject of bears. I am simply trying to give you an idea of the real life experiences I have had on my bear viewing trips. In my years of research and reading on the subject of bears, I have yet to come across much written by the average person like myself.

    I am a person that has a burning passion to protect these great creatures. At the same time, I want to excite others who care to take safe trips into the bush to view these animals responsibly.

    Getting to Kodiak

    From Anchorage, it is approximately a 1- hour flight to Kodiak Island. Jet service is available on Alaska Airlines. It can take another hour to be flown in a floatplane into the National Wildlife Refuge on Kodiak. In town you have several hotels to choose from (they even have a Wal-Mart now!) Weather changes fast on this island, and the seasoned visitors knows to leave an extra day or two in your plans as you most likely could be fogged in during the summer months.

    Boy what a view! Once you land in Kodiak, the road system is limited, but the view and surrounding landscape is magnificent! Watch for whales, bald eagles and fox and as you drive down these unpaved roads. You can also experience some great salmon fishing seconds off the road system. Both the American and Oldes Rivers have wonderful salmon runs. In my many years of traveling the Kodiak road system, I have seen only one Kodiak bear. It is not too common! For the best viewing opportunities in my mind is to hire a floatplane to take you into the bush. This trip into the refuge is like entering another world to me! If you visit http://www.kodiak.org you can explore what this great part of Alaska has to offer.

    If you plan on camping out inside the refuge, there are a limited number of public use cabins, which are available by lottery. I have listed all the information at the end of this site.

    Camping In Kodiak

    I would like to give you my thoughts on camping in the bush in bear country. I am not an expert in this area, and will state that up front! I need to continue to stress this point throughout my web site. What I can share with you is my vast "hands on" experiences, which is a good way to supplement any textbook on the subject.

    I have read dozens of books on this subject and the main theme in each one is to keep a clean camp! Stupid mistakes like leaving trash at a campsite could cost a bear its life! Other tips that I've found to be crucial include:

    1. Cook well away from where you plan to sleep
    2. Do not keep fish in camp
    3. Clean your catch away from where you are going to stay for the night
    4. Bring bear proof containers if you plan to camp in a tent and not in a cabin
    5. Always carry a good first aid kit

    Even though I try to be careful and prepared as I can be when entering bear country, I have had several encounters with bears over the years. I do carry a Smith & Wesson .44 magnum, but thankfully I have not needed to use it on any of my trips other than to shoot over a bear's head to scare it out of camp. I also carry Pepper Spray, which has come in handy a few times over the years.

    Close Encounters With Bears

    I always like to travel in the bush with at least two other people. There is truth to the old adage "safety in numbers", and you will have a better chance to avoid conflict. If you do have a close encounter with a bear DO NOT RUN! This is very, very important to remember. This will trigger the bear's predator instincts. That is one thing you do not want to do! Back off slowly always facing the bear. Talk to the bear to let it know you are human. Wave your hands and jump up and down to let the bear know you are there. This may sound crazy, but it works. If by chance the bear does charge, hold your ground. It may be a false charge. This is hard to do, and most people feel the need to run. Unless you have a tree nearby to climb, stay put. The Kodiak brown bear does not climb trees (at least not that I know of). I have viewed cubs in trees many times, but not adults. If the bear makes contact with you, fall to the ground face down with your hands covering your head. Play dead and hope for the best.

    Bear Fact: One of the most common factors leading to problems with bears is when you surprise them. Always make noise in bear country to let the animals know you are coming. Bear bells are great to have. If you are working the streams and rivers the vegetation is usually thick. Bears bed down in these areas, and you can easily come upon animals here. Making noise will insure the bear knows you are coming.

    If you see a sow (female bear) with cubs, PLEASE do not get too close. The mother can get very aggressive. Out of all my encounters over the years, I still get nervous when I view a sow with cubs. One year I came upon a mother and three cubs. This sow was not happy to see me, and did give me a false charge. At that point, I backed away quickly and left in the Zodiak (raft) I had. Having an exit strategy like a boat is very helpful. I am extra careful when a situation like this arises.

    It is always a good rule of thumb to keep your distance at all times when viewing bears. There are some places in Alaska (I will call them the "fast food" of bear viewing) where bears will allow humans to get very close. This is not natural bear behavior, and I feel sorry for the bears and people that run these areas around Alaska. I prefer going to places where I do not see another human for the entire trip. That is why I keep going back to Kodiak year after year.

    Bear Fact: A good floatplane operator will know the best "secret spots" around the island for bear viewing in the bear's natural habitat, and will be able to steer you away from the "fast-food" set up bear viewing locations.

    I hope this web site will give you a starting point to learn more about Kodiak brown bears. It is with great pleasure that I have this opportunity to share with you my passion and hobby, the Kodiak brown bear. I will, from time to time, update this site so please check back.

    Happy bear viewing from Kodiak Bear Expeditions!

    Kodiak Facts:

    • Settled by Russians in 1792
    • Sixth largest city in Alaska
    • Average annual rainfall 74.2 inches
    • Average annual snowfall 84.5 inches
    • Home of the largest Coast Guard Base
    • 252 air miles southwest of Anchorage
    • Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge ---2491 square miles
    • Second largest island in the United States
    • Home of the Kodiak brown bear the worlds largest carnivore

    Bear Behavior:

    It is important to know some of the signs that bears may show you during an encounter. Many of the books on the market today have many wonderful pointers. I have seen many bear behaviors of these during the years and they are pretty consistent with each animal. However, some bears can not be judged and will act out of the ordinary. I remember I saw a dead cub once on the side of a lake. Many bears just walked around it, but one bear used it as a meal! Bears that are going through daily activities may continue to walk at a normal pace when they see you. They will continue fishing, sleeping or just lumbering around. These I would term bears that have no problem with humans being around. When bears get up on on their rear legs and look around, this also is a non-aggressive move. Bears are curious and like to know what is going on around them at all times. Everytime I am out in the bush I see these types of actions that can be intimidating, unless you know what the bear is trying to accomplish. When bears start to growl or salivate from the mouth, this is something to be cautious about. I have had a sow with cub's make some loud growling sounds at me and I took them seriously. I was invading her fishing spot and she let me know that. In this example I backed off and gave the bears plenty of space to go about their business.

    Aggressive moves could include a bluff charge, bouncing on the front legs, or even slapping objects like rocks or brush. It is a good idea to move out of the area as quickly as possible, if you encounter these behaviors. I have found that responsible bear viewing includes learning as much as you can about the animals and the area you plan to visit. I have only briefly covered this subject. There is so much to cover on this topic and many books on the market that will give you some great insight. Most people have no idea about how to act in bear country. I feel it is one of the more important topics to study before venturing out on any bear viewing trip.

    What Bears Eat:

    A kodiak making lunch of a pink salmon. Again I would like to remind you, I am only concentrating on the Kodiak bear in this web site. I also have my experience in the summer months, so that is the time of year I am familiar with. I have watched bears consume many different foods over the years. Grasses, berries, and salmon are all high on the list. When the bears emerge from their dens in the spring, a bears diet consists of sedges and grasses until salmon are available. The Kodiak refuge provides spawning and rearing habitat for six species of Pacific salmon, which includes pink, chinook, chum, sockeye, steelhead and silver. The adult salmon return to Kodiak's streams in late May to September decreasing in number by October. Other abundant fish include, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and Artic char. These bears only have a limited time to during the summer months to eat, as winter approaches fast on Kodiak when the bear's return to the mountains to hibernate. I have watched bears consume dozens of salmon over a day. It is amazing to view this process. Some bears eat the skin first, others the eyes. Some just take the entire fish down.

    A kodiak bed. After a big meal it is common to watch the bear go into the brush or grass and bed down for a few hours. What always amazes me is to walk up upon an area that a bear has bedded down in. If you can picture tall grass crushed by a steamroller, you can invision the picture. One good way to determine what the bear has eaten is to view the scat (bear crap) it leaves. A great indication what was on the dinner plate that day! This may sound weird, but it is one of the ways researchers determine the health of the bear. I always keep an eye out for fresh bear scat, as it is one of the best indications to determine when and where the bears have been in the area.

    Summer Months:

    As I mentioned I prefer the months of June, July or August to visit Kodiak. In June it is common to come across a sow driving her 2-3 year old cubs away. This process is heartbreaking to watch, but necessary, so the sow can mate again. These cubs are confused why their mother is chasing them away. I have watch the 2-3 year old cubs "sulk" for hours and finally walk off to start their own life. During the start of the salmon runs, it is also common to watch bears compete for a spot to catch salmon. Some areas that may have shallow water are obviously easier to obtain fish for the bears. These sparing matches can get loud and are special to view. During the summer months, the bug population also may be high. In some years I was forced to have a mesh screen over my head, as bugs truly were attacking you. Other years, I did not have a need for this protection. So many factors change year to year and you need to be prepared for them all. Most bears enter winter dens from late October to mid December. They remain in dens without food or water until spring.

    Some Facts about Kodiak Bears

    The specific species of bear on Kodiak is called Ursus arctos middendorffi. The bears look a bit different than others around the world, as they have a streamline nose. I have read these bears have grown so large because of the isolation of the island and plentiful food source. Most Kodiak bears are twice as large as the ones you can find in the interior portions of Alaska. The isolation of the island and plentiful food supply all are a major factor. Bear hearing is good and that is why I continue to stress always making noise when traveling in bear country. The bear's sense of smell is "unbelievable"! That is why proper food storage is very important to remember. Most Kodiak bears usually live around 20 years and mature Boars can grow to reach 1,500 pounds. Sows can tip the scales at around 750 lbs. And let me tell you these animals are huge up close! I have been very close to some big boars (male Kodiak bears). The size of the animals can be compared to a large milking cow. Just so hard to explain in words and most people view these bears at zoos through cages! Not the way that excites me.

    The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

It is hard to believe that this special place in the USA covers around two-thirds of Kodiak Island. Around 1.9 million acres covers this area. The refuge was established back in 1941 to protect the Kodiak Brown Bear. Here you will find the highest concentration of brown bears in the world. You can find all five species of the Pacific salmon in the refuge rivers and streams. For more information on the refuge, public cabins that are available and all other information on the Kodiak I would suggest contacting:

View Kodiak Weather in Real Time
If you would like to see how the weather is today on Kodiak just follow click on the link above. Once you get to the home page just click on the Anchorage area. That will bring you to a list of locations where Kodiak can be found. Click on Kodiak and that will show you a few pictures of the airport.

Wild Revelation Photography
2920 Mill Bay Rd
Kodiak, AK 99615
United States
Website: www.wildrevelation.com/
There is no greater art than that which is found in the natural world. There is no greater artist than the Creator, God Almighty, from which all beauty and the ability to appreciate it comes forth. All of humanity, without exception, is hard-wired to appreciate the natural, captivating allure of creation. All photographs featured at this website are available in a variety of shapes and sizes...from standard prints to high-end home decor products. Custom cropping, paper types, mounting, framing, and finishing/coating options are available for each photo.

Andrew Airways
P.O. Box 1037
Kodiak Alaska 99615
United States
Email: info@andrewairways.com
Website: www.andrewairways.com
(907) 487-2566
Andrew Airways is located at 500 Trident Way, over the bridge on Near Island.
Founded in 1995, Andrew Airways began as an operation from the city of Kodiak on Kodiak Island. They now operate the largest fleet of float-equipped DeHavilland Beavers on the island. The maintenance facility located at Kodiak State Airport, supports the aircrafts we fly. The aircrafts are literally touching all corners of the Kodiak archipelago on a daily basis. The pilots, boasting a total of 50 years of Alaskan flying experience, keep constant vigilance on the locations of the magnificent wildlife that inhabit Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula and the adjacent islands. Whether you're a hunter, fisherman, or sightseer, we have the perfect trip for you. Andrew Airways is the only company the Kozubs fly with.

Fish Kodiak Adventures
Call Toll Free (888) 568- 2882
Email: fishkodiak@alaska.com
Website: www.fishkodiak.com
Fish Kodiak Adventures /A River Inn is the answer to your Alaska Fishing Vacation dreams. The A River Inn is located on the bank of the Pasagshak River, 1/2 mile up from the mouth of the river. Located 40 miles from the City of Kodiak. Although remote it is connected by the road system. This is a big advantage when traveling to a remote Destination Kodiak. No small airplane travel is necessary to reach this remote Alaskan Destination. Once you arrive in Kodiak all your travel worries are over. If getting to a remote inn destination is your dream, your answer is Fish Kodiak Adventures /A River Inn. No worries about bad weather canceling your air charter, being on the road system will get you and your traveling. Captain Rick is a great guy and knows how to catch the big fish on Kodiak!

Kodiak Combos
Jeff Peterson
PO Box 141
Old Harbor, AK 99643
Phone # 907-286-2252
Email: fishunt@kodiakcombos.com
Website: www.kodiakcombos.com
Old Harbor is only a 25 minute flight from the city of Kodiak and several flights a day depart to this southern part of the island. Jeff Peterson has lived in this special area of Kodiak his entire life living off the land and sea like his ancestors did for thousands of years. I highly suggest if your looking for a truly remote fishing and hunting trip on Kodiak that you talk with Jeff first who has over two decades of experience.

Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle
Tony Davis
P.O. Box KKB
Kodiak, AK.99697
907-486-1974 leave message
E-mail: kodiakcustom@starband.net
E-mail: kodiakcustom@hotmail.com
web site: www.kodiakcustom.com
Great fishing tackle I have used for years on Kodiak.

Grizzly & Wolf Discover Center
201 S. Canyon
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone: 1- 406-646-7001 or 1-800-257-2570
Web: www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org
Email: info@grizzlydiscoveryctr.com
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a unique not-for-profit wildlife facility located in the gateway community of West Yellowstone, Montana just a block from the West Enterance to Yellowstone National Park.

Alaska Coalition
419 Sixth St, Suite 328
Juneau, AK 99801
Website: www.alaskacoalition.org
Email: info@alaskacoalition.org
The Alaska Coalition is made up of over 700 conservation, sporting, and religious organizations working together to protect Alaska's wild public lands.

Raincoast Conservation Society
Victoria Office
PO BOX 8663
Victoria, BC V8W 3S2
Email: greatbear@raincoast.org
Website: www.raincoast.org
Non-profit research and public education dedicated to the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada.

Anchorage Daily News
1001 Northway Drive
Anchorage AK 99508
Website: www.adn.com

Shadow of The Bear
Leslie Marcucella & Peter Hagelis
3452 Sherbourne Drive
Culver City,CA 90232
Email: bruno6@earthlink.net
Website: shadowofthebear.com

Kodiak Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
100 Marine Way
Kodiak, AK 99615
Phone # 1-(907)-486-4782
Fax # 1-(907)-486-6545
Email: kicvb@ptialaska.net
Website: www.kodiak.org

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
1390 Buskin River Road
Kodiak, AK 99615 USA
Phone # 1-(907)-487-2600
Fax # 1-(907)-487-2144
Email: knwr@ptialaska.net

United States Department of Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
Website: www.fws.gov

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
211 Mission Road
Kodiak, AK 99615
Phone # 1-907-486-1880

Kodiak Sport Fishing Recording
Phone # 1-(907)-486-5176

Additional organizations dedicated to bears:

North American Bear Center
PO Box 161
Ely, MN 55731
Phone (218) 365-4480
Fax# (218) 365-4461
Email: info@bear.org or really anything @bear.org
Website: www.bear.org

Great Bear Foundation
802 East Front Street
Missoula MT 59802
Phone 1-406-829-9378
Fax# 1-406-829-9379
Email: gbf@greatbear.org
Website: www.greatbear.org

Note: The Great Bear Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of wild bear populations and their habitat worldwide. I am a proud member of this wonderful organization!

www.alaska.com - "Great web site for anyone who has ever dreamed of the last frontier"!

Weather on Kodiak Island is truly unpredictable. Here are some historical averages over the years. Always plan for rain and if the sun comes out cherish that day!

    Average Temperature

    F 29.9 30.5 32.9 37.5 43.5 49.6 54.4 55.2 50 40.7 34.4
    C -1 0 0 3 6 9 12 12 10 4 1

    Average Precipitation

    in. 7.38 5.28 4.63 4.2 5.52 4.78 3.7 5.15 6.99 7.18 5.96
    mm 187 134 117 106 140 121 93 130 177 182 151

    Average Days of Precipitation

    in. 17 16 16 16 18 15 15 14 16 16 17

    Average Wind Speed

    mp/h 12.8 12.4 12.3 11.6 10.6 9.3 7.6 8.2 9.7 11.2 12.4
    km/h 20 19 19 18 17 14 12 13 15 18 19

Fishing Seasons
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Copyright 2001 by Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau's Visitor Guide.
Fresh Seasonal Harvest From Alaska
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Wildlife Viewing
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Copyright 2001 by Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau's Visitor Guide.

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