Google Real Alaskan Adventures in the Wild of Alaska: 2010

The Moose Are Loose!

This time of year always brings lots of Moose to my homestead on Bald Mountain. Antlers have been dropped  and deep snow on the mountains forces most of them to lower elevations. Hungry wolves play a part in that lower migration as well.

They must feel safer here. They should as long as they leave my Lab alone, we'll get along fine. Living next to these wild creatures sure has been a pleasure over the years. 

Spring is finally on the way as well as new antler growth.

Chignik Alaska Wolves Kill Teacher

Its odd that just days ago I posted something about wolves. I now follow that post with this gruesome message about a young teacher visiting Alaska for the first time and being killed by wolves. Although it is an exception to the general rule, it is NOT uncharacteristic of Wolves to go out of their way to find food when times are tough. Late winter is tough for everyone and everything in Alaska.

In the Hand of the Hunter

Over the years, I have seen a lot of Alaskan hunters realize their lifelong dream of taking a magnificent trophy from Alaska. It was always the guide's job to make sure the clients trophy was well cared for and properly prepared for the taxidermist. If you are planning to hunt Alaska on your own, YOU will need to know how to properly skin and cape your trophy for the taxidermist. If you do not already know how you best spend some time learning before your Alaskan hunt begins.

Killer Whales Make Poor Pets!

In Alaska, they are a common and ever present sight in our Prince William Sound waters. I have rafted side by side these giant beasts and can say, I never trusted them. I rarely trust anything in nature that has teeth larger than my fist.

Hunting Alaska on Your Own

This is a subject that needs some attention. I don't think I have ever read much about this subject. However, deciding on a cold camp or not, can make ALL the difference. Some have came a long way, spent a bundle to get here (not to mention the wife's offsetting costs) and are in the middle of a dream of a lifetime! Bruice Sermonis from New York State is pictured in the photo. They followed this blog series when it was first posted and is pictured here just landing in remote Alaska with three of his friends September 2011. Readiness is ALL! Every decision you have made about gear, food, and safety will make this experience better or worse.

As a rule Alaska's wildlife is not to overly concerned about camp smoke. In fact, wildfires are commonplace in Alaska. At any given time during the summer in Alaska there is a fire burning somewhere around the State.  Unless you have managed to get in a spot where there has recently been people hunting, you should not have to worry about that. Just be safe with your fire and don't overuse it.

Something that will send game in a different direction is excessive, loud human voices, wood splitting, anything that is totally out of place in the environment will cause alarm. Avoid that! Moreover, scaring game further away from your camp makes the meat and trophy packing back to camp much harder!

If you are still planning on a DIY hunt in Alaska, you are going to need to know something about hide and cape preparation while afield. Nothing ruins an Alaskan adventure like ruining your cape or trophies hide. Next post I'll go into that. YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS. This is one of the guides main tasks for clients. If you are hunting on your own, then you'll need to know how to prepare your trophy as well as the care of your meat.

This series will culminate with the four guys from New York State mentioned earlier who followed this blog series and came to Alaska last fall.

(this post has been updated since its original posting)

Alaska Moose Hunting

As your float-hunting trip begins, float for a while and get away from the drop-off point. Be SURE to get an eyeful of the surrounding country as you make your approach to the landing. It looks easy from the air! You are going to want to get to a high spot downriver and do some glassing.

BE SURE to always tie your raft up good!

Alaskans Don't Fish in the Dark!

There are two good reasons for that. One, for most Alaskans it does not get dark in the summer when the Salmon runs arrive. Two, Brown Bear, Grizzly Bears and Black Bears DO fish in the dark!  Well... in the dim hours anyway.

Alaska is "Beautifully Deadly"!

No, it's not the Bears, but it could be. No, it's not a rutting Bull Moose, but it could be. No, it's not the ice-cold waters, but it could be. No, it's not the weather, but it could be. In fact, it could be any of the above or a combination of all the above.

Let's face it folks, Alaska is wild, remote country. More often than not, the remoteness gets you. There's no one out there. Just you, your hunting companion, and the wildness that is so necessary.

So, when you and your gear are dropped off, say goodbye to the world. It just left!  Oh, did you notice the tracks in the photo?
 Here are a few rivers for you to be thinking about. I have selected rivers that are on the "remote" side of Alaska. If you want an adventure, you need to flee any local area rivers. The Matanuska-Susitna Valley for example, is near Anchorage and has the largest concentration of Moose in the State, it also has more people! Do yourself a favor and get out in the Bush. It costs more but that's where the real Alaska begins.

How to Select 1 River From 12,000! Part I

More than 12,000 rivers, and thousands more streams and creeks don't have names in Alaska.
Alaska has about 9,728 officially named rivers, creeks, and streams.

Many of these rivers are not suitable for novice rafters. Many others are not suitable for finding both Caribou and Moose and even more of them do not offer suitable pick-up points or drop-off points, generally lakes at their headwaters.

Plan for Communications During your Hunt

Now's the time to start getting into the details of your Alaskan hunt. In previous posts I have mention A DIY hunt here for Moose or Caribou would cost you around $3K-$4K. That's close but it could cost more if you take both species and then fly all the meat and antlers out. They just weight too much or take up too much room to pack it all out in 1 or even two flights. That starts to get expensive.

Alaskan Brown Bear Hunting

Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game does a wonderful job of managing our Brown Bear populations. On the Alaska Peninsula for example, Brown Bear seasons are staggered on the odd and even years. On even numbered years Brown Bear hunting is open in the spring (May). On the odd years, it is opened in the fall (October). What this means is, it will be open the spring of 2010 on the Peninsula and not reopen until the fall of 2011. This gives our Brown Bear plenty of time to keep their population healthy. This is GOOD!

If All Else Fails, Hide In the Barrel!

Rooting large brown bear out of the Alaskan bush can be very dangerous. In my guiding days it was up to me to always back them up or worse go find the bruins after the client fired and it disappeared. My backup rifle is a .505 Gibbs. "Mr.Gibbs" as he is generally referred to, got his name from my friend and client Denny Crum, Hall of Fame Basketball coach from Louisville, Ky.

Dangerous Photograph at Home!

I go through this every year. My home sits next to the Alaskan wilderness on Bald Mountain and there is a salmon stream below my house about a mile. Brown/Grizzly Bears come through here every year on there way to that river,the  Little Susitna River. I never shoot at them around the homestead,  I generally let them be and go about my business. This day they got a little too close.