I find those comment about you "have to have a 44 Magnum" if you are in Alaska pretty funny.
Well, as a pretty well tried and trued Alaskan (since the age of 2) I eventually went with the 41 magnum (both my target and my woods carry).
While the 44 magnum xisted before Dirty Harry its what made it popular. Otherwise it would be on equal footing with the 41 (nothing against it, good enough).
However, the 41 magnum is a true 41 caliber and the 44 is a 43 caliber which makes them very close.
I moved from a Ruger 44 to a S&W 44 and then I saw a S&W 41 and fell in love with it. I respected the 44, but I LIKED the 41. Both are so close to equal that its the small things that seperate them.
I could shot the 44 well, but I could shoot the 41 really good. Just enough less recoil that made a difference for me and I am not and was not recoil sensitive (I worked hard core construction and you had to get it all done in the summer or the place froze up and stopped progress in those days)
And the 41 had a penetration edge over the 44 (if you hand loaded it up to max potential and I did). If you are going to take a bear on (or have to because its taking you on) then penetration is far more important than a minor difference in energy as you are on totally shaky ground shooting a bear with a pistol anyway.
So, if you want and like a 44 and can shoot it well, that's fine, but overall I found the 41 was the better choice for me. I don't think you can go wrong with either one and if one suits you better than another then that's the one for you.