Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dall River Pike

Kelsey and I were able to load up the boat and travel north on the Dalton highway / Haul Road (same road in ice road truckers) for the Yukon river. We've made multiple trips on the Yukon for bear hunts but this was the first trip that pike were on the menu.
The haul road was in good shape but she was able to claim a trailer tire and a throttle cable however we didn't realize the cable was snapped until we arrived at the river. The mud also made the truck look like it had a custom two tone paint job.

Once we arrived at the Yukon we were pumped but that was short lived because we realized we had snapped our throttle cable. Luckily, we had a spare and were able to fix her up. Once complete, it was a 26 mile run up river. The trip revealed one of the constant struggles for a summer in Alaska...wild fires. The north side of the river was burnt however the south side had lush green grass.

Fishing was great because we brought over 30 pike to hand in one day of fishing and all fish were on top water. By the time we were done fishing you couldn't recognize any of the lures/flies because they were just flat out hammered.

fire tail

Sunrise on the Yukon River

Saturday, March 27, 2010

tag in hand

My buddy Bill and I headed north on a three day weekend in hopes of filling our tags before the season ends on April 30th. We packed up the truck on Thursday afternoon and hit the road that evening. We arrived at the Chandalar Shelf around 9:30 that night with the temperature hovering around six below and brisk 15 mph winds.

The next morning we were putting stalks on caribou by 7:00 and needless to say we were giving them a free education on what to avoid. When hunting caribou on the north slope its solely spot and stalk and extremely difficult since there is minimal terrain to hide behind. Bill shot a bull at 45 yards and by 9:30 we had him packed up and in the truck. I spotted a lone bull bedded on a hill side and was able to put a stalk on him and close the gap to 42 yards and by 12:30 we were packed up and heading south.

This was an amazing hunt. I'm still shocked that we were back in town by Friday evening when we were prepared to stay until Sunday. The description sounds like this is an easy hunt with a high success rate but I couldn't disagree more. It's not uncommon for hunters to travel south with an empty truck bed. This was my fifth time traveling north with a bow in hand and I was finally able to fill my tag...enjoy the pictures.

View of the truck from where I shot mine

I believe this picture sums up Alaska.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is around the corner

Dad was able to catch a couple flights to Alaska and have some fun in a short weekend. He was able to ride the snow mobile, do some bird hunting and cut/split some firewood. Friday we did some skeet shooting on the Tanana River and grilled some steaks in the nice warm 20 degree weather. Saturday we headed for the mountains in search for some flying snowballs (ptarmigan) which is the Alaska State bird. When saying the name the "P" is silent.

There are three species of ptarmigan...Willow, Rock and Whitetail all of which change colors (plumage) depending on the season. All species are excellent flyers however their defense is being able to stay extremely still. The birds are mainly active in the morning and evenings as they feed on willow buds...frozen blueberries from the previous spring and spruce needles only to name a few.

The hunting started off rather quick as we spotted two birds right away on a hill side. Despite three shots from Dad's Winchester they were able to live and fly another day. If you ask, he'll say he was too close using a full choke but I'll leave that up to yall to decide...haha. A little bit later into the day Dad was able to get the goose egg off his back as he bagged his first rock ptarmigan! We continued to walk up, down, through snow drifts, around the mountains looking for these birds but came up empty handed. We decided to walk one more part of the mountain and it paid off as we flushed six birds holding tight under a cluster of spruce trees. With extremely sore legs we packed up the truck and headed back to town for some dry clothes and a hot meal. As we were leaving the ptarmigan God's must have been smiling upon us because we spotted a covey of 30 birds feeding along the hill side. We were lucky enough to bag several birds out of this covey and ended the hunt on a high note!

Sunday was a day of shopping around town and cutting up some fire wood. Even though the temps are starting to warm up it's still nice to relax at night next to a fire in the wood stove. All in all it was an action packed weekend and we were able to accomplish a lot! I'm almost certain its safe to say that out of all the big game hunting dad and I have done, hunting for ptarmigan ranks up there in one of the toughest hunts.

enjoy the pictures

This Place is awesome!

Rock Ptarmigan

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winter Days

Recently I was able to head north and spend some time on the north slope hunting Caribou. Temps ranged anywhere from 11 to 38 degrees which is extremely warm for this time of year. I was planning to hunt north of Atigun Pass (the contential divide of Northern Alaska's Brook's range) around the Galbraith Lake area. When I stopped in Coldfoot (only stop along the haul road between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay) for a coffee they had announced that a winter advisory was in effect for blowing/drifting snow and to expect delays due to a vehicle that had rolled over blocking the road. Driving in blowing snow is doable as long as the snow is blowing across the road because you can still see the outline of the road, however, with a strong head/tail wind the snow blends in with the road causing for dangerous conditions. With the potential of the winter storm getting worse and rising temps I decided to stay south of the pass and hunt the Chandalar Valley. Pickings were slim and the ones I did see were acting pretty skidish so unfortunately I returned empty handed.

This is the first time we've seen the Aurora this winter

Monday, October 5, 2009

Kenai Mountain Caribou Hunt

While in Iraq I was lucky enough to draw the Kenai Mountain Caribou tag (DC001). Alaska Fish & Game issue 250 permits per year for this area and the success rate is extremely low with 12 caribou taken on average. The Kenai Mountain caribou herd is pretty small, however, if you're lucky enough to locate the herd then chances are you'll have an opportunity of connecting with a trophy bull. The Kenai Mountains also have a high population of both brown and black bear, but unless you draw a permit (we didn't), brown bear were off the menu for this hunt. With half day schedules at work, my buddy and I finally left Ft. Wainwright around noon and headed south after grabbing a cup of coffee for the seven hour drive to the hunting grounds. We parked the truck in Hope, AK and hiked in on Resurrection Trail. The 38 mile trail is well maintained and is a relatively easy hike with forest service cabins scattered along the trail if pitching a tent isn't in your plans. Going into the hunt I had zero expectations besides getting out, testing new gear, and experiencing new country. After camp was established we began glassing the hill sides for caribou. We spotted two moose who thought they were sheep because they were just shy of the snow line on the mountains (approximately 3,500 feet). That evening we spotted one brown bear and two black bear, however, with the sun setting early, we were unable to launch a stalk so we enjoyed watching them through the binos. Friday night came with a lot of rain which made for a messy trail and tough hiking. The rain came to a close around 10 AM Saturday morning and we broke camp and began glassing the hill sides once again in hopes that the bear were still located in the same area as the evening prior. At 11:00 AM we spotted a nice black bear and decided to make a stalk. It took us over 1.5 hrs to make above the tree line since the alders were acting like the mountain's linebackers but after a lot of falling and crawling we broke through the alders and spotted the bear in the same location. With the wind in our favor we had time to put together a solid game plan when all of a sudden the bear took off like Usain Bolt across the mountain only stopping once. The bear looked back in the same direction as if he was spooked then continued running across and over the mountain. At this point the weather started to turn sour so we hiked down the mountain, broke camp and headed into Anchorage for the night. All in all it was a successful trip in the Kenai Mountains and I'm looking forward to my next visit.

The trail

Base camp

Jason filling up water so we won't have to hike clean water to base camp

The never ending alders

more pictures of the alders