Your question is an excellent one, that demands a very complicated answer. Brown Bear hunting at it's best is extremely complex.
Hunting Brown Bear in Alaska is expensive. There are NO discount hunts. You really get what you pay for. I hunted with Chris & Dennis Branham years ago several times. ALL hunts were successful, safe, & wonderfully equipped. I don't believe Chris hunts anymore, he and his wife Linda run Royal Wolf Lodge.( Royal Wolf Lodge - Home Page
) I guess Chris figured out he could make more money "baby sitting" a bunch of yuppie rich fishermen, then flying us hunters around the Alaskan Range. Chris may be a real good contact for you to speak to with regards to who he thinks you may contact.
The big bears are in many places. There are specialty draws on some of the more remote islands. Your best bet is the Peninsula. In and around unit 9. I believe it still runs as follows: Open in the Spring, closed that fall, closed the following spring, open the following fall, closed the next spring, etc. so there is an open season every 18 months. I was very lucky to take a great bear.
3. Time of year, weather, duration of the hunt.
Spring hunt you wait for the big guys to come out of their dens and go down to the beach. I had the "luck" of having the Augustine Volcano erupt just before & while I was there. The ash covered the snow, the sun melted the snow early, the bears were out of their dens and back up on top of the coastal mountains. How fun. At the time I lived in up state NY at 600 feet above sea level. ( Now I am in Colorado at 6,000 ft). I was NOT prepared for a "sheep hunt" at 9,000 to 10,000 feet. ( remember, that is a coastal mountain situation. the whole 9,000 feet is vertical!! The bottom line is be prepared for anything and everything.
4. Outfitter "In house" transportation.
The Branhams, at that time owned three air craft. Chris is an amazing pilot. You do NOT want to consider any outfitter that does not have complete control of how & when you get to the area you are going to hunt.
For a $ 15K hunt ( I believe that is what they run today) you will get your own guide that works for the outfitter. With few exceptions these guys are very good at what they do. Listen to them!
A great statement made by a young man to me ( when I was also young) was " lets look for game, and walk to it,,, not walk to see game. I glassed for 10 days, seeing 8 & 9 foot bears. on the 11th day I was watching a couple moose cows, when my big guy stood up 100 feet from the cows, in the middle of the alders. I am 56 and will remember that sight until I die!!
6. Be in shape.
It's your money, don't waste it by being out of shape. Unless you are an exceptional; athlete, there are only so many 4,000 to 8,000 feet vertical stalks you can make in a 10 day to two week period. Choose your battles wisely.
Let me know if there is any other info I can share with you & good luck!
Alan ( firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: if you would like to see some pics of the peninsula & my bear let me know.