We hunted about 100 miles east of Bethel, western part of the state.
You're right a bear is tough to judge. Outfitters I spoken to will brag that their guides will be within a couple inches. My luck to draw an inexperience guide and he was off bout 45%!!!!
Sounds like you have been there, if not you'll want to discuss the "rules of engagement" with your outfitter and guide. With many (most) its their policy to shoot when their hunter shoots. I did have an understanding with my guide that I was not agreement with this polcy. He wasn't going to shoot unless we had a bear hit and he was makin' it to some heavy cover. Agreeable. Country was kinda open, but there was some thick willow patches, shown it my caribou pics.
Four bowhunters were there just before and after my hunts. Three took a bear, all with the guides rifle.