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View Full Version : Bear Watching at Icy Strait Point


Foxhill
February 1st, 2010, 06:35 PM
MercedMike: You have mentioned several times about the great experience you have bear watching with Keith from Tekk Outfitters. Can you tell me how long the excursion was and what the price was? I looked up his web site but there is no detailed information regarding the bear watching excursion, pricing, etc.

Foxhill
February 2nd, 2010, 02:17 PM
I am hoping this will be seen by MercedMike or others who have used Keith for bear watching at ISP. Would like a little input as to length of time, and pricing.

MtnMarty
February 2nd, 2010, 04:23 PM
We are signed up with Keith (Teckk) for a bear tour (nature tour) on June 8th. The cost is $130pp +6% tax. Here's their web page of this tour.

http://www.teckkoutfittersicystrait.com/TECKKPage8.html

The website is a bit confusing and incomplete, but I've read good things on CC and also Tripadvisor.

Budget Queen
February 3rd, 2010, 01:36 AM
I am the original "recommender" , going with him his first year in the cruise ship tour booking business. The tour I went on, ran 3-4 hours.

I suggest you contact him directly and inquire what his current timeframe is.

MercedMike
February 3rd, 2010, 11:45 AM
Well, Keith is pretty flexible.

What happened on our tour was this:

We got off the ship and met Keith. There was another party booked to go with us, so we waited for them. After about half an hour, Keith took us into Hoonah for a tour of the town, including his house with the moose antlers and all that. Along the road we saw numerous eagles nesting. Then we went back to ISP to check on the other party. They never showed up. Keith arranged with a friend to wait for them, just in case, and we went off on our tour.

I have a report (slightly humorous) at http://www.bully4.us/volendam.html. We spent about 4 hours on the logging roads, getting further and further off the beaten track. Keith had asked whether we wanted to stay with the van, or get out and hike around more. We chose to stay with the van but some groups can go hike. (Keith carries a gun just in case.) All along the way Keith pointed out salmon, bear sign, scenery, logging and lots of other interesting stuff. We had a good close up encounter with "Toby", a good size bear fishing his way up the stream. After meeting the bear, Keith admitted he was always more relaxed when we had seen OUR bear! We did a bit more looking and then drove back into Hoonah, settled with Keith, and stopped for crab at "The Office Bar." I would say that we actually spent 6 or 7 hours in the whole experience, at a very relaxed and flexible pace. The ladies had an hour or so afterwards to look around ISP and shop, but it pretty much used up the day.

So when you email Keith, tell him (or actually Edna, his "princess") what you want and he can arrange it with you, I am sure. I think for healthy mobile people it would be great fun to go hiking with him! To book the whole van for your group rather than sharing can be a bit more expensive. We loved Keith and he did a great tour for us. Many thanks to BQ for tipping this board off to the great TECKK Outfitters!

Have a GREAT cruise!

prncsscruiser
February 3rd, 2010, 10:16 PM
We went on a tour with keith last June. It was AWESOME, and we didnt even see one bear, he said that was actually the first time that he hasnt seen one bear, we were out there for a long time. This was the best experience I have ever had on a cruise or any other vacation. It was a sight of the REAL Alaska. I highly recommend this tour, we didnt even see a bear and we all had a BLAST! I also used Keith to go whale watching right after our bear tour and that was by FAR the most amazing thing I have ever seen. His boat is gorgeous and the whales that we saw were bubble feeding, it was so nice and peaceful, we were the only boat out there. It was much better than our whale watching in Juneu, although that was fun, a few tail sightings just dont compare to the bubble feeding we saw. Obviously bubble feeding is rare to see and most wont have the same experience. I highly recommend anything having to do with Keith!

GST53
April 11th, 2010, 04:20 PM
We are taking a land tour prior to our cruise. It includes the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali. I know there's no guarantee of seeing bears in Denali or with Keith of Teckk Tours. Just wondering if it would be "overkill" to do both on the same trip.

We're going whale watching in Juneau with Harv and Marv. We're not interested in zipline or fishing. So I'm just trying to plan what to do in ISP. All of the posts have been very helpful.

Any advice? Thanks.

fleckle
April 11th, 2010, 07:07 PM
Well, Keith is pretty flexible.......
So when you email Keith, tell him (or actually Edna, his "princess") what you want and he can arrange it with you, I am sure. We took a whale watching tour with Teckk Outfitters and after the boat ride we got in Keith's van and he took us out to look for bears. He found 3 bears for us and seemed to know exactly where they would be. It was a wonderful day. We would not hesitate to book with him again.

born 2 cruise
April 11th, 2010, 08:02 PM
We went with Keith last June. He knows the bears and has named them. We went a long time without seeing one. He asked when we had to be back, would have stayed out longer if needed. We saw 3 bears. followed one at 35mph for 1/2 to 3/4 mile. Bear would sit down, turn to see if we were still there and then run some more. Did this 3-4 times. We are going back again this year. Awesome

Budget Queen
April 12th, 2010, 09:11 AM
We are taking a land tour prior to our cruise. It includes the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali. I know there's no guarantee of seeing bears in Denali or with Keith of Teckk Tours. Just wondering if it would be "overkill" to do both on the same trip.

We're going whale watching in Juneau with Harv and Marv. We're not interested in zipline or fishing. So I'm just trying to plan what to do in ISP. All of the posts have been very helpful.

Any advice? Thanks.

These are different bears, based on diet.
There is no salmon in Denali Park. IF you want the chance of seeing bears and salmon, then go out of Hoonah.

There is a pretty fair chance of seeing bears in Denali Park, I always have. Only you can decide what you wish to occupy your time with???

GST53
April 12th, 2010, 11:09 AM
Do we need to schedule Bear Watching with Keith of TECKK in advance or can we do it the day we get to ISP?

mpbmark
April 12th, 2010, 06:48 PM
Do we need to schedule Bear Watching with Keith of TECKK in advance or can we do it the day we get to ISP?

He usually books up early so I wouldn't wait. I am going with him in September and started emailing with Edna last year.

Budget Queen
April 13th, 2010, 07:35 AM
Do we need to schedule Bear Watching with Keith of TECKK in advance or can we do it the day we get to ISP?

You need to schedule it ahead. IF you want to take a chance and be fully accepting of NOT going, then you can wait and try and call him when you get there.

drj011105
July 22nd, 2010, 01:54 AM
prncscruiser ...

I have to laugh. I was on a trip with Keith LAST WEEK. We did have a great time butdid not see one bear. Not one. And, interestingly enough, he said it was THE FIRST TIME he had taken someone on a tour and not seen a bear. I certainly don't want to bad mouth him, as we did have a good time and got to see a lot of "real Alaska" we'd never have seen otherwise. I don't regret going on the tour and it was worth the money. But, I just have to laugh about it being "the first time" he'd not seen a bear. Quite a character.

frugaltravel
July 22nd, 2010, 11:12 AM
prncscruiser ...

I have to laugh. I was on a trip with Keith LAST WEEK. We did have a great time butdid not see one bear. Not one. And, interestingly enough, he said it was THE FIRST TIME he had taken someone on a tour and not seen a bear. I certainly don't want to bad mouth him, as we did have a good time and got to see a lot of "real Alaska" we'd never have seen otherwise. I don't regret going on the tour and it was worth the money. But, I just have to laugh about it being "the first time" he'd not seen a bear. Quite a character.

Not the first time of hearing a similar story. I guess that is why they label it a bear "search." And now with the internet age, lying certainly gets discovered quickly!

texasmomoftwo
September 5th, 2010, 08:56 PM
We will be in IC Point around the 20th of June next year. Is it too early to see bears?

Budget Queen
September 6th, 2010, 09:09 AM
We will be in IC Point around the 20th of June next year. Is it too early to see bears?

Contact the vendor directly, IF you are referring to Hoonah??? Will you be going to Denali Park?? Would see bears there.

texasmomoftwo
September 6th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Hi, BQ. Is it too early to see Bears with Keith in Icy Strait mid-end June next year?

Budget Queen
September 6th, 2010, 11:07 AM
Hi, BQ. Is it too early to see Bears with Keith in Icy Strait mid-end June next year?

Get this information direct from the vendor.

DougH
September 6th, 2010, 12:55 PM
Another option is to head out with Kenny (our guide was his friend Phil) from Brown Bear Lodge. I went out with them a couple weeks ago and we saw 12-15 bears during the day. Phil told some great stories and was a lot of fun. We were with him all day from about 8:15am until at least 4pm. Phill was willing to drive us around as long as the ship was in port.

CP3o
September 6th, 2010, 09:11 PM
Get this information direct from the vendor.

Seems like the vendor would be inclined to encourage you to book. He's not helping you decide which part of the summer to visit, it's either book or don't book b/c the trip dates already set.

Guess its not like 'which month more likely to rain' or 'when are the salmon running' which you can look up and find some sort of proof one month is, for example, more likely to rain than another.

It is great to hear people enjoy the tour so much even if don't see bears; that's pretty amazing. I dunno if after 4 hrs of searching and spending a lot of money my crew wouldn't be a little disappointed. No fault to the vendor if bears don't show up but it might be good to have a guess for planning, especially if decide another excursion might be a better fit, to have some idea which months are more likely to see bears at ISP and maybe the percentage of tours that month that see no bears at all.

Texasmom - If you contact and hear back from Keith, please let us know what he says. Thanks.

Budget Queen
September 7th, 2010, 08:07 AM
Seems like the vendor would be inclined to encourage you to book. He's not helping you decide which part of the summer to visit, it's either book or don't book b/c the trip dates already set.

Guess its not like 'which month more likely to rain' or 'when are the salmon running' which you can look up and find some sort of proof one month is, for example, more likely to rain than another.

It is great to hear people enjoy the tour so much even if don't see bears; that's pretty amazing. I dunno if after 4 hrs of searching and spending a lot of money my crew wouldn't be a little disappointed. No fault to the vendor if bears don't show up but it might be good to have a guess for planning, especially if decide another excursion might be a better fit, to have some idea which months are more likely to see bears at ISP and maybe the percentage of tours that month that see no bears at all.

Texasmom - If you contact and hear back from Keith, please let us know what he says. Thanks.

I know Keith, he WILL be able to tell you the sighting stats of the time you are going. And I am certain, if it is a time of few sightings, he will disclose this.

CP3o
September 8th, 2010, 10:21 AM
It sounds like Keith is such an interesting story teller and experienced guide that even w/o bears, you can get your money's worth.

Next question, how do you know you'll get Keith? Two younger guys are shown on the website as bear guides. Maybe as the tour has gotten more popular over time, they have added tour guides.

http://www.teckkoutfittersicystrait.com/TECKKPage3.html

CP3o
September 8th, 2010, 10:45 AM
Another option is to head out with Kenny (our guide was his friend Phil) from Brown Bear Lodge. I went out with them a couple weeks ago and we saw 12-15 bears during the day. Phil told some great stories and was a lot of fun. We were with him all day from about 8:15am until at least 4pm. Phill was willing to drive us around as long as the ship was in port.

From what I can find to compare Trekk (Keith) and Brown Bear (Kenny/Phil), they both get good reviews.

Trekk - 130pp, officially 3 hr tour but will stay longer, especially if having trouble finding bears.

Brown bear - 150pp, goes from 1 hr after ship arrives until 1hr before last tender.

Brown bear might be a better value if desire the whole day out and about or Trekk preferrable if 3 hrs is enough and have other plans in port. Trekk might have smaller vans and be more personalized, I'm not sure how many they take out. Brown bear references 14 pax van. Brown bear also can incorporate fishing, seems a little pricy at 200pp + 20 for license. We might have considered it for salmon fishing but only trout offered when we are going.

Anyone by chance done BOTH of these tours and have a comparison to share? Or anything to share about either tour looking for bears in June? Thanks for any info.

CP3o
September 8th, 2010, 11:56 AM
Ugh, while I'm worrying about NOT seeing bears, just found out my DH is a little worried about SEEING bears, too much 'when animals attack' tv.

I've read Keith carries a gun just in case, can anyone report about Brown Bear excursions doing the same? I've already got an email into them and when I get a response, I'll ask the vendor......... but if anyone happens to know..... thanks.

Budget Queen
September 8th, 2010, 12:17 PM
I've read Keith carries a gun just in case, can anyone report about Brown Bear excursions doing the same? I've already got an email into them and when I get a response, I'll ask the vendor......... but if anyone happens to know..... thanks.

Frankly, they would "have to"???

CP3o
September 8th, 2010, 01:31 PM
Frankly, they would "have to"???

That's good to know. Read something about people carrying bells to scare off bears; if there were a anti-gun tour packing a bunch of big bells, I'll go with the guy with the gun! ;-)

DougH
September 8th, 2010, 01:42 PM
Yes, Phil carried a gun on our Brown Bear Lodge Excursion. Every time we got out of the van he had it on his shoulder. (except in town)

Just remember you don't have to be faster than the bear. just faster than the slowest member of your group :) (kidding of course)

SPANDER
September 8th, 2010, 05:42 PM
Another option is to head out with Kenny (our guide was his friend Phil) from Brown Bear Lodge. I went out with them a couple weeks ago and we saw 12-15 bears during the day. Phil told some great stories and was a lot of fun. We were with him all day from about 8:15am until at least 4pm. Phill was willing to drive us around as long as the ship was in port.


I just read your post about Phil......do you know how to contact him and what was the charge...there will be 4 of us next week...
We went with another guy 2 years ago, very good, just can't remember how I found him...he charged $100 pp..his name may have been Bob.
He just kept going over the same 2 rivers and after a while we did see bears....1 mom and 2 babies, also a large male in another location...he also took us on a small hike...he has 2 guns and a knife w him at all times.

Sandy

texasmomoftwo
September 8th, 2010, 10:11 PM
Let me start by saying, this post is for information purposes only. I have not taken either excursion. I am just in the gathering information stage.

I have talked to both vendors. Keith (Teckk Outfitters) costs $130 plus 6% tax. Roughly 3 hours. His wife is an absolute joy on the phone and very patient with my questions. When I asked about the possibility of bears in June, I was told maybe. But it is a "nature and wildlife" kind of trip. He sounds very accomodating and very nice.

When talking to brown bear lodge (www.brownbearlodge.com) Kenny responded the following via email:

I asked when was bear viewing season?

Response:


Bear viewing is good from May through the end of september. Northeast chichagof island has more bears per square mile than any place in alaska (1.7). It is almost the end of the 2010 season and we have had three trips all summer where people did not see bears. The most seen in one day is 21.


thank you for your intrest
Kenny

These excursions are scheduled for longer, but do cost more. You can find out more at www.brownbearlodge.com (http://www.brownbearlodge.com)

Decisions...decisions.....

I just want to see bears!!!!

vff
September 9th, 2010, 06:16 AM
We are signed up with Keith (Teckk) for a bear tour (nature tour) on June 8th. The cost is $130pp +6% tax. Here's their web page of this tour.

http://www.teckkoutfittersicystrait.com/TECKKPage8.html

The website is a bit confusing and incomplete, but I've read good things on CC and also Tripadvisor.

What's confusing and incomplete about the TECKK web site?

CP3o
September 9th, 2010, 01:48 PM
What's confusing and incomplete about the TECKK web site?

Did you follow the link you were quoting? It's a page with bear pictures, there are no prices, number of tours offered a day, information about the number of pax in van you will go out in, etc. Many excursions have this type of information available. The FAQ tab only relates to whale watching.

MercedMike
September 10th, 2010, 10:42 AM
Did you follow the link you were quoting? It's a page with bear pictures, there are no prices, number of tours offered a day, information about the number of pax in van you will go out in, etc. Many excursions have this type of information available. The FAQ tab only relates to whale watching.

Basically this is because Keith at Teckk does not offer a standard, package tour, but is very good about making arrangements that suit YOU and what you want to do. For example, in our case, he offered the option of walking through the woods looking for bears. We specified that we did NOT want to do a lot of walking, so he arranged the tour that way.

Simply contact him and he will give you all the information.

He is great!

CP3o
September 13th, 2010, 09:15 AM
When talking to brown bear lodge (www.brownbearlodge.com (http://www.brownbearlodge.com)) Kenny responded the following via email:

I asked when was bear viewing season?

Response:


Bear viewing is good from May through the end of september. Northeast chichagof island has more bears per square mile than any place in alaska (1.7). It is almost the end of the 2010 season and we have had three trips all summer where people did not see bears. The most seen in one day is 21.

Just curious, do both of these tours operate on the same public lands searching for bears? Or does one operator cover a certain area and the other a seperate area or is any private land involved?

Budget Queen
September 13th, 2010, 11:06 AM
Just curious, do both of these tours operate on the same public lands searching for bears? Or does one operator cover a certain area and the other a seperate area or is any private land involved?

Your basic "tracking" is via road, then getting out in "areas". There are spurs off roads, but not an overall, miles and miles area/ hours /distances. What you are getting with the tour purchase, is the VENDOR's expertise, which is the knowledge of prior trends, known feeding areas, animal behavior etc etc, of which, I can attest to Keith being an expert at.

MercedMike
September 13th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Just curious, do both of these tours operate on the same public lands searching for bears? Or does one operator cover a certain area and the other a seperate area or is any private land involved?

AFAIK all of our tour was on public roads. When we were with Keith he started out on fairly well maintained roads near the town, and then the search spread out onto dirt logging roads. We drove through some clear cut areas, others where bulldozers were actively working, and others that were virgin forest (which is where we spotted "our" bear.) The island is small and close knit so I suppose Keith would have no problem getting permission to drive or hike on private land if there is some.

jetta
September 18th, 2010, 04:31 PM
Just got back from our Cruisetour on Thursday, what an awsome trip! We spent the day with Tekk outfitters in our Hoonah port day. I can't say enough good things about our day. We booked the whale watching in the am and bear search in the pm. We went out on the Deborah with captain Bill and saw many, many whales up close. even saw a pod of humpbacks breaching! Beautiful sight! Captain Bill was great kept us close to the whales and gave lots of interesting info. We went back to "town" and had lunch met Edna and then left with Keith to search for bear. Wow did we see bear! Keith took us thru beautiful scenery and into the woods to see bears and took us up to the top of a mountain where we could see the Millineum in the distance, it looked like a small toy from up there. Again I can't say enough good things about this company. Go you won't regret it!

vff
September 22nd, 2010, 07:19 AM
It sounds like Keith is such an interesting story teller and experienced guide that even w/o bears, you can get your money's worth.

Next question, how do you know you'll get Keith? Two younger guys are shown on the website as bear guides. Maybe as the tour has gotten more popular over time, they have added tour guides.

http://www.teckkoutfittersicystrait.com/TECKKPage3.html


TECKK is now affiliated with AK Galore http://www.alaskagaloretours.com/
and doing bear watching tours for them as well, so TECKK has expanded. I think Keith is mostly doing the tours for the ships that dock at ISP and the other guides handle the AK Galore tours, but you can ask when you contact them.

humrepair
August 5th, 2014, 04:34 PM
We went searching for bears yesterday with Keith from TECKK in Hoonah/Icy Strait Point.It was a memorable experience.It was a tough day looking for bears.Beautiful weather but they weren't around.We got in the van and went from stream to stream looking for the bears and only saw some in the distance.It was getting late and we were worried about getting back to the ship on time but Keith wanted to try one more place he knew.So down another trail we went and all of a sudden there was a huge brown bear just in front of us happily eating away. We got a fantastic close up view of the bear in it's natural habitat.There are no guarantees you'll see a bear but I know that Keith at TECKK won't give up and you'll learn a lot about the Alaska during the trip.Highly recommended.

starfish216
August 6th, 2014, 10:55 AM
We used Teckk Outfitters last week for our Bear Search. We were a family of 7 adults and 2 other ladies.

We had his nephew Gus. He did try several places and we even walked on a trail but had no luck spotting a bear. He was very nice and tried hard to find us bears to view, even ran ahead on a trail to see if there was a bear further down. We did spot a couple of deer in the woods but we see them locally so it wasn't exciting seeing them.

Oh well sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Maybe the weather was an issue it was rainy and overcast.

The talk on the ship was that even the Bear Search through the ship didn't spot any bears. Guess it just wasn't a bear day.

We did spot a mama bear and her cubs on the Denali Tundra Tour!

JNU WW&FISH
August 6th, 2014, 11:25 PM
TECKK is now affiliated with AK Galore http://www.alaskagaloretours.com/
and doing bear watching tours for them as well, so TECKK has expanded. I think Keith is mostly doing the tours for the ships that dock at ISP and the other guides handle the AK Galore tours, but you can ask when you contact them.
It's my understanding that Alaska Galore does combination tours with Misty Bay Lodge out of Hoonah for the bear search portion of their tours.
Any of the independent bear search operators out of Hoonah have more opportunity & access to finding the bears than the tour the cruise ships use. Misty Bay & the other companies already mentioned are the operators to check with for brown bear when making a port call at ISP

frugaltravel
August 7th, 2014, 04:21 AM
We used Teckk Outfitters last week for our Bear Search. We were a family of 7 adults and 2 other ladies.

We had his nephew Gus. He did try several places and we even walked on a trail but had no luck spotting a bear. He was very nice and tried hard to find us bears to view, even ran ahead on a trail to see if there was a bear further down. We did spot a couple of deer in the woods but we see them locally so it wasn't exciting seeing them.

Oh well sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Maybe the weather was an issue it was rainy and overcast.

The talk on the ship was that even the Bear Search through the ship didn't spot any bears. Guess it just wasn't a bear day.

We did spot a mama bear and her cubs on the Denali Tundra Tour!

That is why in Hoonah/Icy Strait Point it is called a "bear SEARCH." Not nearly as likely to see a bear there as in places like Pack Creek, Katmai, Lake Clark NP and even Denali NP.