“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.
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
- Cook well away from where you plan to sleep
- Do not keep fish in camp
- Clean your catch away from where you are going to stay for the
- Bring bear proof containers if you plan to camp in a tent and
not in a cabin
- Always carry a good first aid kit
- REMEMBER, YOU ARE A GUEST IN THE BEAR'S HOME
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
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
- 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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
P.O. Box 1037
Kodiak Alaska 99615
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
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!
PO Box 141
Old Harbor, AK 99643
Phone # 907-286-2252
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
P.O. Box KKB
907-486-1974 leave message
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
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.
419 Sixth St, Suite 328
Juneau, AK 99801
The Alaska Coalition is made up of over 700 conservation, sporting,
and religious organizations working together to protect Alaska's wild
Raincoast Conservation Society
PO BOX 8663
Victoria, BC V8W 3S2
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
Shadow of The Bear
Leslie Marcucella & Peter Hagelis
3452 Sherbourne Drive
Culver City,CA 90232
Kodiak Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
100 Marine Way
Kodiak, AK 99615
Phone # 1-(907)-486-4782
Fax # 1-(907)-486-6545
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
1390 Buskin River Road
Kodiak, AK 99615 USA
Phone # 1-(907)-487-2600
Fax # 1-(907)-487-2144
United States Department of Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
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
or really anything @bear.org
Great Bear Foundation
802 East Front Street
Missoula MT 59802
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 Days of Precipitation
Average Wind Speed
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Copyright © 2001 by Kodiak Island Convention
and Visitors Bureau's Visitor Guide.
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Copyright © 2001 by Kodiak Island Convention
and Visitors Bureau's Visitor Guide.
Copyright © 2013- All rights reserved