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Thread: Hunting the interior Alaska_Lanche style

  1. #1

    Default Hunting the interior Alaska_Lanche style

    Last November members Bighorse and CtP were nice enough to take Hunt_Ak and myself on a Southeast Alaska adventure as seen here:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...le)?highlight=

    Figured it was my turn to show them the woods I tromp around in.

    The morning of August 29th Becca and I headed in to Anchorage to pick up members BigHorse (Chris) and CtP (Craig) from the airport after taking care of some last minute chores from our previous hunt. After grabbing lunch at a local watering hole we picked up some last minute goodies from Barney’s and we were enroute back to Wasilla. We geared up for a solid week long sheep hunt in DCUA, as Chris had drawn the coveted late season tag.

    The next morning we didn’t get as early of a start as we had hoped, due to logistics with picking up a wheeler from the shop and what not, but stilled we rolled into the trailhead around 6 PM.

    (Truck loaded up ready to go)


    After running in a few hours and several miles we decided to take advantage of the last bit of daylight and setup camp for the night in a grove of trees to avoid the wind. We threw up the 90 sq ft floorless tent and the three of us climbed in for the night.



    The next morning we awoke to clear skies and slightly less intense breeze. From our campsite we began spotting moose close by and as the sun crept higher into the sky to allow our optics to work over the distant mountains. Soon we were pointing our spotting scope at the various “white dots” we were seeing. Still at 6:30 AM the morning light wasn’t enough to give us any definitive “lets go get ‘ems” so we packed up camp to continue on to where we planned to hike into “sheep country”.

    While filtering water from one of the mountain drainages prior to dropping the wheelers for the hike, Chris spotted a lone ram on the mountain. He was bedded about ¾ of a mile away, and a few hundred yards below the top of the mountain.

    The mountain the ram was bedded on is on the left:


    Myself having just spent 11 days in the area chasing sheep and other critters , recognized and even had pictures of that ram from a mile away in the spotter. I knew that its right horn was broken, but the left didn’t appear to be broken from that distance and also I knew it wasn’t full curl so I passed on the ram. In fact I was hoping Chris would also pass on the ram so we could really get back off the beaten path and explore some new country.

    Here is a pic I snapped through the spotting scope exactly a week prior of this same sheep Becca spotted across the drainage:


  2. #2

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    Being as the access to the ram would only require a 1000’ of vertical hiking and 1/3 of a mile from where we’d park the wheelers, we all figured he was worth a closer look. As soon as we gained the ridgeline about where we hoped the ram might be, Craig spotted the ram bedded to our left on the cliff side. A quick click of the range finder showed he was 360 yards away so we popped out the spotter to give him a once over.

    After waiting for breaks in the wind Chris and I were very certain that this ram was indeed legal on two accounts (broken on both horns , and at least 8 years old). Chris also indicated that this was a ram that we would like to take as its wide horns and mass was something he really liked in particular about this animal.

    So we dropped back from the ridgeline and sidehilled out of sight closer to the ram, while working the wind. Peeking over again at 220 yards to confirm the ram’s location hadn’t changed, we pushed ever closer behind the ridgeline. Finally at 169 yards Chris felt we were well within “chip shot” range for him and his 25-06 AI that member 270ti was nice enough to loan him for this hunt.

    The ram stood up and presented Chris with a full broadside shot while displaying his wide horns looking cautiously up in our direction on the ridge, as the wise old ram knew something was amiss, but was not quite sure what exactly was going on. Chris wasted no time once presented with a shot and squeezed off a round, which impacted exactly where it needed to. NICE SHOT!!! The initial shot left the ram standing there wondering what had happened as he began to expire. Not wanting the animal to fall down the cliffs below, Chris patiently waited to fire a second shot to anchor the ram on the hill.

    After the 2nd shot, the ram made two quick bounds and was out of sight. The three of us quickly began sidehilling the ridgeline to locate the ram. After a tense 10 minutes or so I was able to find the ram on a rocky ledge several yards from where we had last seen him.

    It was now 11:30 AM and the weather was beautiful, so we took our time moving the ram to a nice place to take pictures and break him down in to more packable pieces. We spent the next good portion of the day soaking up and reflecting our good fortune and just enjoying being in the mountains.

    Chris with his ram:


    The crew:


    Not planning on really taking a ram just a few hours into the hunt I was the only one to bring a pack along, but it had all the goodies needed to pluck the ram off the hill. So while Chris caped out the animal Craig and I listened to a little music on the iPhone while soaking up the sun…..yes we busted out an iPhone on the mountain which was a first for me, but it wasn’t all bad.

    Once the ram was broken down and loaded in the pack Craig and I each carried two quarters a piece over our shoulders in game bags while Chris carried the rest in my pack (after much adjustment to get it from midget to Bighorse size).



    Once back at the wheelers we decided to setup camp right there and spent the remainder of the day glassing over the expanse below us for moose as the next day was the opener.

    After glassing over a few bulls that evening, the only legal moose we saw was a forkie in the distance. We crawled in to the tipi for the evening just as the rain began to come down.

  3. #3

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    It poured all night and we awoke in a fog bank, which totally eliminated any chance of spotting any moose. So we lazily cooked up breakfast and coffee hoping the rain would ease (I was kinda surprised those Sitka boys were afeared of the rain ) but to no avail and we packed up and began 20+ mile ride back to the truck.



    5 miles from the truck Craig spotted a group of 4 moose 1.5 miles off. Closer inspection through the spotter showed that there was a 40” bull, 2 cows, and a perfect fork/fork bull. So we beat feet over that direction until we were within 500 yards of the animal. Chris stayed behind with the spotter while Craig and I continued on in pursuit of the forkie.

    For some reason, I totally spaced a little thing in hunting we like to call…..um…..WIND!!! And soon all 4 moose were acutely aware of our presence, but only the fork horn decided to high tail it out of the country while the 40” bull and the two cows just looked at us from less than 100 yards. We inched past them as Chris gave us excellent hand signals indicating the fork horn’s location. We were within 250 yards of the moose staring directly at us, well aware of our intentions. Being as we had just completed a brisk 1.5 mile stalk we both were out of breath and Craig wisely refrained from taking an out of breath off hand shot with limited visibility at that range. Unfortunately, we were working with the smartest fork horned moose I have encountered and he lit out of the country never to be seen again.

    A little dejected we walked back to the wheelers and continued our trip back home to Wasilla. We pulled into the drive a 2 AM and crawled directly into bed. The next morning we exploded a “gear bomb” in my garage to dry out all the gear and re-tool for the next adventure. We got Chris’ ram sealed and he processed his ram while Craig and I spent the evening throwing the necessary items together for a unit 13 caribou/moose hunt.

    For dinner we decided to reap the fruits of our labor and grilled up some sheep backstrap and ribs, which are always a fan favorite:


    With a 4 AM wake up we on the road and making great time toward unit 13. Once at our destination we unloaded the wheelers and were off looking for caribou and moose. It didn’t take too long before Craig spotted 2 caribou skylined 2000’ above us. We made the decision to try to make a play for the caribou and began “the ultimate climb”.

    Once we gained the ridgeline we easily ambled along looking down both sides for the caribou we had spotted just shy of 2 hours ago. We had one false alarm on a cow and calf caribou before spotting the two bulls feeding 250 yards away. Since Chris had already bagged a ram just a couple days prior it was decided that Craig would be first shooter, while Chris would attempt to take the second.

  4. #4

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    Both Chris and Craig settled into the prone position overlooking the caribou and patiently waiting for them to turn broadside. After a couple well placed shots the caribou were down, the celebrating was over, and the work began.

    Craig with his caribou:


    The gang with Craig’s caribou:


    Chris with his nice freezer filler:


    The gang with Chris’ caribou:

  5. #5

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    After a few hours of Chris wielding the knife while Craig and I made some triple digit loads back up to the ridgeline, we were ready to head out in the dark.

    Chris and Craig battling prior to the pack out:


    Chris and Craig gaining the last ridge just prior to the 2000’ decent in the dark:


    During the descent Chris’ knee negan feeling the effects of all the previous days’ climbing, and spending the last few hours knifing up caribou . I opted to carry the pack down knowing we’d need “Bighorse packing skills” the next day to get the remainder of the meat out. So Chris led the descent finding the places NOT to go so Craig and I, loaded down, didn’t have to. Arriving on the valley floor we began the headlamp search to find the wheelers so we could go back to camp. We found one of the 6 wheelers in the dark but for some reason couldn’t find the other. Tired, and knowing we’d easily find it in the morning we all climbed on the one 6 wheeler and made it back to camp for some much needed dinner and rest.

    The next morning we headed out to get the remainder of the meat. Again gaining the ridgeline we began glassing and I spotted a beautiful 4X3 browtine moose which was easily 55” wide or better. But still having a good deal of caribou meat left on the mountain we opted to continue on and extract the meat from the field prior to pursuing more game. On the way out, just as light was fading we spotted a group of sheep across the valley roughly 3-4 miles away. All we could make out through the spotter in the failing light was that one of the sheep was a ram worth a closer look if spotted the following day.

    That night in camp, we discussed what to chase the following day. We knew where a beautiful moose was roughly, but the possibility of a bonus sheep hunt also piqued our interest. The next morning we headed out to a good vantage point and glassed for a while. Not seeing anything of interest, we motored closer to where we believed the moose to be. Stopping the wheelers, I took one last peek at the sheep mountains and spotted a group of 3 white dots. We quickly setup the spotter and found that all three sheep were rams and one was certainly worth the 3,000’+ hike for a closer look.

    Shifting gears from moose to sheep, we began our climb at roughly 1 PM. Two hours later we were slightly below and a ½ mile away from the three bedded rams and we again looked them over through the spotter.

    Chris and Craig peeking into the bowl to look over the ram:



    The three bedded rams:
    Last edited by Alaska_Lanche; 09-09-2011 at 10:42.

  6. #6

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    From a ½ mile away the middle ram still looked legal, so we continued our climb to the 5300’ ridgeline. Shortly thereafter, we were cliffed out just 500 yards from the rams. Now it was the rams’ turn to make a move. Either work their way towards us into shooting range or leave the bowl so we could scurry across and attempt to intercept them on the ridgeline. After about a half hour the rams got up and left the bowl, we packed up in quick pursuit. After descending the ridgeline adjacent to the bowl the rams were in, we found them a few hundred yards below us, feeding.

    We closed the distance to around 250 yards of the 3 rams, and Craig settled in with the rifle and patiently waited. The legal ram was in a gully for nearly 15 minutes only exposing his back while the smaller rams where clearly in view. Finally the old ram stepped out into full view and turned broadside. Craig was ready and squeezed off a perfectly placed shot tight behind the ram’s front shoulder. The ram took a short tumble and we recovered him in a gully, but not too much worse for the wear.

    Craig with his first dall sheep:


    The crew with Craig’s ram:


    Around 8 PM the knife work was complete and we loaded the ram into our three packs and began the hike out. Around 9:30 PM it was quickly becoming too dark to see much and coming to the edge of a steep drainage and still a couple hours of hiking from the wheelers the decision was made to camp on the mountain.

  7. #7

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    We setup a 2 pound shelter, Chris gathered wood for a fire, and Craig and I clambered down the cliffs for water for the night. As the fire was dying out the northern lights made a beautiful display on the clear skies, which we watched until they faded. We turned in for the night. While not the best nights sleep it wasn’t terribly cold. Every couple hours we all would wake up and boil some hot water to warm us up from the inside out and go back to sleep. We were up at first light and crammed down some calories for the remaining pack out. The weather was great and it was just a wonderful time to be out.

    Chris working his way out:


    Craig and I soaking up the morning rays:


    Chris crossing the last water crossing before the wheelers:


    Soon we were back in camp and the decision was made that with two caribou and two sheep that we had taken were enough. The freezers were more than full, and we felt it best to quit while ahead and not go moose hunting.

    That evening we cooked up some caribou ribs and sheep backstrap and had members Hunt_Ak and Woods ‘N Water and their wives over for dinner as they were just getting back after a successful moose hunt. We all swapped stories and pics and had a great time sharing our successful endeavors.

    All in all it was productive week. Beautiful country, great friends, and even got to bring some critters home to help fill the freezers. Including two sheep from two different mountain ranges Nearly too much fun than should be allowed in the hills.
    Last edited by Alaska_Lanche; 09-09-2011 at 10:37.

  8. #8
    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Can we be friends?

  9. #9
    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Wow, what an adventure! congrats to all.

  10. #10
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    Wonder full!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
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    Great write up and pictures. Thanks for sharing - that is awsome country!

  12. #12
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    Awesome post! Great pictures!

  13. #13
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    Wow, thanks for posting your great adventure. A great write-up with excellent pics. Thank you very much!

  14. #14
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Great job fellas. What a great write up on a fantastic adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  15. #15

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    Sounds fantastic! Congratulations!

  16. #16
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    WOW!!! Unreal adventure. If you need a tag along I'm not far away, LOL!!

  17. #17

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    very nice guys!

  18. #18
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Great friends, great hunt, terrific write-up and picts and outstanding trophies. What else could you hope for.

  19. #19
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    Good hunt,great photos,nice animals. Thanks for sharing.

  20. #20
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Y'all are a bunch of animals!! Way to stack em up!!

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