Outdoor adventures chronicled

Published 5:21 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

Niles resident Kent Kaiser owns tour guide businesses in Alaska and New Zealand.

Niles resident Kent Kaiser owns tour guide businesses in Alaska and New Zealand.

Kent Kaiser thinks it’s appropriate he shares a birthday with legendary American pioneer Daniel Boone.
As an avid hunter, angler and all-around outdoorsman, Kent Kaiser’s life has always been about adventure.

For his businesses, New Zealand Quest and Alaskan Quest, he sets up and guides custom outdoor tours and hunting excursions in New Zealand and Kodiak Island.
But one experience stands out among all his memories and will be featured in an upcoming book.
“It was the luckiest day of my life,” he said. “I should have died that day.”
In November 2005, Kaiser, a 49-year-old Niles resident, and his friend John Jenings were on a black tail deer hunting trip on Kodiak Island — the home of about 3,500 grizzly bears.
“I’m very bear aware,” Kaiser said. “But there was nothing — no bear tracks, no bear crap — on our first day.”
But that wasn’t the case on the second day of hunting in the Alaskan wilderness.
After shooting a black tail deer, Kaiser butchered it and was packing the meat into his backpack when he heard a roar in the distance.
He looked to his left and saw a 9-foot male grizzly bear staring him down.
“He roared and made a big commotion,” Kaiser said. “He had his ears laid back and was smacking his mouth. And he’s got one pissed-off look.”
Smelling the deer remains between him and Kaiser, the bear charged.

Backing up, Kaiser slipped and fell to the ground. The bear, no longer seeing him as a threat on the ground, began charging at Jenings.
Jenings too slipped, as the bear leaped over him, while taking a swing at him.
With only three bullets in his shotgun, Kaiser hurriedly fired at the bear. The bullet landed just in front of the beast, kicking dirt into its face.
“It missed but did its job,” Kaiser said.
This gave Jenings time to get up and fire a shot into the bear’s chest.
After shooting the bear several more times to make sure he was dead, Kaiser and Jenings hurried to get back to the lake to get back to their lodge.
They ran into three more grizzlies seconds later, but they didn’t attack.
The experience was life-changing for Kaiser.
He knows that grizzlies, among the largest land carnivores in the world, could easily have taken his life that day.
“You feel renewed after going through something like that,” he said. “You appreciate life even more.”
But as crazy as that adventure was, Kaiser said that’s just the beginning. He has several other hunting-related stories that he will share in a book that he is currently working on with a Michigan author.
Kaiser has just begun the process and doesn’t have a publisher yet, but he hopes the book will be finished sometime next year.
For more information about Kaiser and his custom outdoor adventure businesses, visit www.alaskanquest.com and www.nzquest.com.