Chichagof Island has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth.
Chichagof Island, or Shee Kaax, is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Alaska Panhandle. At 75 miles long and 50 miles wide, it has a land area of 2,048.61 square miles, making it the fifth largest island in the United States. Chichagof Island has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth and its dense rain forests are some of the last grizzly strongholds!
The community of Hoonah, with a year-round population of approximately 750, is located in the northern part of Chichagof Island. The vast majority of the island is pure, uninhabited Alaskan wilderness teeming with wildlife! The Ursus arctos, or brown bear, is the king of the forest, but Sitka black-tail deer, bald eagles, minks, martens, beavers, ducks, and sea birds thrive on the island and are frequently spotted on this tour.
This Alaskan wilderness and bear search tour is only offered May through September because those are the months afford the highest probability of seeing bears. In late April and May, the bears are coming out of hibernation and looking for food. In June, the bears are mating and eating grasses on the tidal flats. Older males fight other males for dominance and mating rights with the females, who at times, are not receptive and force the male to give chase.
In July, the salmon start their migration from the ocean up the rivers and we find the bears feeding in coastal rivers and streams. In August and September, the salmon have made it further up the rivers to shallow streams where the bears chase them.
Depending on the month and the weather, the wildlife can be found in different locations throughout the island. Your guide spends a lot of time in the forest and knows where to look.
This tour is located on the Tongass National Forest under special use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.