Monday, December 22, 2014
Hunting the Early Season
|Kodiak Mountains in the Early Season.
Prince of Whales (POW)
My questions included things like:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have references I could contact?
- Where are some of the locations you drop hunters off regularly?
- What are your fees and weight limits?
So the almighty question is, “Where do I go?”
Planning for Wet WeatherThe main gear/equipment that I cannot stress the importance of enough, regardless of hunt you decide to do, is rain gear. Not just jackets and pants but also tarps, scope covers, backpack covers, and waterproof storage (like plastic bins) for your gear. It doesn't matter what time of year you choose to hunt you will encounter some crazy weather that can get you soaked in a matter of minutes.
Getting to KodiakAlaska Airlines and ERA fly from Anchorage to Kodiak a few times a day however can be delayed frequently due to weather. We planned a day on either end of our trip just in case we got delayed.
By joining the Alaska Airlines mileage plan you can earn free flights by using their credit card. Right now they have a promotion where you get a $119 buddy pass when you sign up and you get that same buddy pass every year. There are a few fees associated with the card but when you are looking at a typical round trip ticket from the lower 48 that can cost over $1000, it is well worth it.
|Buying some cheap folding chairs made dinners very comfortable.
About the Sitka Blacktail Deer
Using Nature's CoolerWe boned our deer out in the field then packed the meat back to camp where we hung the meat, sprayed it with Alaska Game saver (you can get at the sporting goods store in town) and let it dry for a few hour before processing it and placing it into gallon Ziploc bags. We placed the Ziploc bags into heavy duty 3-mil garbage bags and zip tied them shut making sure to get as much air out as we could.
Alaska Sitka Blacktail Hunt
- Two Commercial Airline from Reno to Kodiak - $1,400
- Float Plan - $2160
- Baggage Fees - $300
- Sat phone and Bear fence rental - $250
- Food and misc gear - $150
- 4 tags @ $150 - $600
- 2 hunting licenses @ $75 - $150
- 2 nights in a hotel - $165
- Tips and misc. tourist stuff - $100
Monday, October 20, 2014
So Emily and I just got back from a successful California B-zone hunt on Wilderness Unlimited Leased Land. The trip was a great one, not only because it was successful but we got to see new parts of a ranch and spend quality time with new hunting partners.
We hunted Sunday through a Tuesday and were able to take two nice respectable bucks. Emily harvested hers on the first evening we were there. It was a beautiful double neck patched 2x2 with a 16” Spread. She thought about holding out for something bigger but decided that the opportunity was too good to pass up. She made a great 80 yard shot with her Savage 243 with 100 grain hand loads. The buck expired near a road which made the drag-out about as good as it gets on this particular ranch. This was the 3rd year in a row she has been able to tag out on the first day of the hunt. Lucky Lady!
On Tuesday we made some great hunts and I passed on a few smaller bucks that were just too small for that early in the hunt. That afternoon took us down at the bottom of the ranch to help fellow hunter, Tanner Rosette pack out a nice cinnamon bear. Tanner was beyond words with this being his first bear and his goal for the trip.
The next morning took Emily and I to a new portion of the ranch that I had always wanted to venture to. We saw numerous deer however none that would make the cut. We also had a nice encounter with a group of pigs which we decided to pass on as well. This section of the property was very steep but the deer loved it. That afternoon while everyone was taking a nap, I decided to get the spotting scope out and check some likely spots I had seen some bucks in the past. After a ½ hour of glassing I spotted a gray body bedded on the edge of a cliff. After cranking up the Nikon Field scope I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice rack on top of the giant bodied blacktail. I formulated my game plan and headed out. About a ½ hour later I was scaling a steep cliff-side to get a shot. I finally spotted him, still bedded at 271 yards. I got a great rest and figured that he would drop in his tracks and I would be able to come down from above to retrieve him. I waited for the buck to stand and squeezed the trigger. Boom! The shot echoed through the canyon and the buck dropped right in his bed. I was stoked! But wait….he started to slide and then kick…….and then…..he fell nearly 200 ft off the cliff he was bedded on. My heart sunk, now the great buck I had just taken fell into the deepest hole on this ranch and who knows what the meat was going to look like let alone the antlers. As I made my way over to the buck I was happy to see that the buck’s body had made it pretty unscathed. His antler tips were broken off but the meat was still in superb condition. He was a great old buck with a giant body and a gorgeous cape. I searched and searched and searched for my small camera in my pack to realize that I left it in my truck back in camp. After sitting next to the old monarch, admiring his beauty I took a few mental pictures and began the “work”. I radioed camp for them to take my truck down to the bottom of the ranch where I would meet them in a few hours. I spent the next hour processing the brute and loading him into my Easton Full-bore Backpack. With it already weighed down I made the decision to leave the cape since it as well as the head would have pushed myself and my backpack to the max. I was able to hike down to the truck and two anxious hunting partners and celebrate the ride back to camp. My old gray faced buck had a funky 2x2 rack that was 20” wide by almost 16” tall. I couldn’t be happier with our trip and the animals we took.
The freezer is now full for the winter and we had another epic 2014 deer season. Who knows what this winter and next year has to offer.
Friday, September 19, 2014
We landed safely and off-loaded fast and just like that our plane took off to leave us to ourselves on such a large vast section of the island. We were on the south-west end of the island that was covered in sharp jagged mountains and open green valley’s coated in lily ponds and streams. We set up camp on the beach of the lagoon near a creek inlet. We set it up in an existing structure that past hunters had built out of drift wood. This made for a great base camp and a break for the “bad weather” days to come.
After all was ready we set out on our first walk in the tundra. We were surprise to find out that it was not easy walking. The spongy matted material and deep bogs made for very calculated footings and seemed to double hiking time and distance. The deer on the other hand had a network of trails built through this stuff that allowed them to travel at light speed constantly feeding on the abundant forage all over the island.
That first evening the hills were filled with deer scattered throughout the terrain. We found numerous bucks and countless does and fawns. None of the bucks were the size we were looking for however we spotted one area about 2 miles away that held a good 25 deer and some decent bucks. The next morning as we headed to that area Emily stopped me and said she just saw a buck that bedded down about 300 yards from us. After close examination we found the buck that had points going everywhere! We snuck in and set up at 250 yards and waited….and waited and waited. Over an hour and a half we waited and watched him sleep in the drizzly rain. After the first hour the sun peaked from the clouds and the hills lit up with life. The hillsides were freckled with reddish brown dots, the bodies of all the deer out feeding. It was an incredible site. While glassing other deer we also spotted a small group of Caribou as well as a half dozen Mt. Goats.
He stood up! Emily got set and I fumbled with the camera and tri-pod. He fed up hill and stopped to eat some brows and Emily let the rifle sing. A perfect heart shot and Emily had her first Sitka Blacktail. As we arrived at the buck we were surprise at his size. He sported a giant rack that had 9 points on one side and 4 on the other. His body, a healthy 200lbs was coated in fat. The work began and after about 3 hours of hiking and processing we were back having a celebratory stream chilled beer.
The next day found us about 5 miles back in that same area we had seen the big group of deer a few days prior. We had seen nearly 50 deer and numerous bucks with one being a tall wide 3x3. We made the long sneak until we were within 90 yards. We sat and watched the buck as the hellatious storm hit us. We lost site of the buck for a good 30 minutes and decided to move up when the storm let up. As we crested a rise we found ourselves face to face with a doe on full alert. We also spotted a few more deer in the background. I noticed that the buck was making his way over a hill we quickly perused.
We got to about 100 yards I was able to get a good look at the buck and knew he was the one we wanted. Seeing the size of the buck and the fleeting opportunity I grabbed the rifle, took and knee and sent a bullet. Another perfect heart shot brought my dream and goal of taking a Sitka Blacktail to a reality. He was a perfect 3x3 with eye guards and sported an 18” spread. He also was super heather at almost 200lbs live weight. After processing and the long hike back we had another great celebration on fulfilling our goals together side by side.
The rest of the trip was stellar. We even had one day where it rained with hurricane forces till around 7:00 in the evening. Even though the both of us went a little stir crazy it was a moment that we will treasure since we did it together. The rest of the trip we were able to find numerous nice bucks but were content with the bucks we took. Our last morning on the lagoon we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and a walk along the shoreline enjoying the beautiful place that had provided us with so many sights, experiences and memories for our lifetime.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
From there we will pick up a RV in Anchorage and do the "sightseeing" potion of our "huntingmoon" through September 16th. We are all packed and ready to go. Stay tuned for updates...