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Thread: Kodiak "Cast & Blast"

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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak "Cast & Blast"

    A Kodiak hunt is never complete with out these sweet words uttered out of your pilot: “Nope, can get some of your stuff but you’ll need to fill your packs and hike out to the ocean.” If you’ve never heard those words, you’ve never truly experience what Kodiak has to offer. This past week a buddy John and I heard those words. And our pilot…heard some choice words back.
    The hunt was a simple plan, as most hunts are. Fly into a high altitude lake. Find goats. Shoot goats. Fly out of the lake. Siiiimple….
    We drew 476, putting us in the Kiluda bay area. Apparently the majority of goats are located in “Salt water landing” areas. I’m not interested in real work, and after previous success from the high altitude lake placement we went that route. Our transporter was Sea Hawk Air. Great company, great people…except for the whole “now walk your asses out” part. Rolan, our pilot, is one of the best pilots down there so we flew out and he had a few ideas of some decent lakes in goat country. After finding a lake that he said was “workable” but he has never put in anyone there….we opted for that. As all of the others looked like landscape located on Mars.
    We settled in and were told to hunker down really good as a big storm was headed our way. So we did…. IN fact we pretty much made a beaver lodge. No better wind break then branches though, and as it turns out we didn’t get the big storm that Kodiak got, or at least we didn’t feel it. But we were prepared.
    Our lake:


    The “beaver lodge”:


    We headed off and found out our “country” was not the best. Well, that is to say for our movement. We were in cliffs and boulders and all together not great country for easy movement. Buuuuut, as it figured we found goats, but each and every stalk would take a good majority of each day and probably kick our butts. And they all did.








    After getting our arses handed to us for a few days (we did get on a herd…but we choose to just scare them away), and the continued “wet air” (it doesn’t rain…it is just ALWAYS wet), we put ourselves in a position to harvest Hup’s first goat.




    Side hilled this sucker…only to find a cliff that was almost impassable. I say almost because we made it…we found that “coming back” was a little trickier. Thank god for the Black Diamond Whippet trekking pole, with ice axe.


    After laying on a boulder with my rain coat turned inside out (inside was gray and looked like the boulders), and quickly loosing body heat REAL fast to the rain and cold rock, I turned to John to tell him that I couldn’t “ethically shoot” as I was pretty sure I was hypothermic. It would be up to him to harvest his goat as it fed towards us. Fortunately for John, he had left his range finder at camp (seriously who does that….oh, and the Wyoming saw too…to top it off). So, with my skills in range finding I was able to determine that the animal was under 1000 yds, but not quite at 20’. That helped him determine where he should hold off the animal.
    John agreed that we should shoot, with a “I’m going to shoot. Hopefully I miss and we can just go back to camp. I’m F—ing freezing.” One shot, and one crumpled ram. Crap. We were…on top of a mountain…





    At some point during this trip we struck out for deer. The goats that we could access were a bunch of Nannies with kids. A few of the Billys knew that I couldn’t shoot, accurately, over 100 yds, so they stayed at the 400 yds range. And as soon as you broke that magic barrier they’d just walk off into the abyss of the mountains. Anyways, those magically deer…seriously, were ninjas. We’d be walking, and see nothing and out of no where one would just materialize in front of you. Literally, 30’ in front of you…a brown animal would show up and be a deer. Then 2. Then three… Was amazing. We put ourselves on one spike (chose not to shoot, but to get closer…and that was a stupid move). That one scampered away. Then a fork appeared, however this one came with full mountain climbing gear and spidermaned his way up the cliff. However, during this escape John was able to fling "one final" shot and drop it. So…now we have to go up said cliff. Crap… Serious crap. Super serious crap. So after a good effort of climbing boulders and scaling stuff we had no business being in I look up (while perilously perched on a huge arse rock and off balanced) and see a forked horn buck. Hup and I both pull up guns to end this pursuit: click. Click. We had emptied our chambers for the climb. At that…the buck walks off (slowly) and out of sight. So we continue to climb. At this point I need to remind everyone I HATE heights. And this territory was an overload of my brain power to not think about where we were. However, I pressed on as we found a little bit of blood and didn’t want to loose Hup’s first deer. As we crest to top of this crap we are climbing…we enter the Land of the Lost. I wish I would have taken a picture, but let me just say it was only missing pterodactyls flying around. Some of the most desolate terrain I’ve ever seen, with a dried out lake bed… Seriously, we had entered the first circle of Dante’s Inferno. And Dante had taken our buck as he was no where to be found. We searched all over and couldn’t find blood or the deer.

    So we go back down out of this crap hole…back through the crap we climbed up. Let me tell everyone now: if you don’t use a trekking pole, you MUST. It’s like having a hand rail for the walk down and is great for the climb up. PRICELESS.
    Anyways, it was raining and we were wet and tired, and our nerves fried from the terrain we “played” in…we headed back down.
    Gear in the tent trying to “get less wet”:


    One thing I had, that I found priceless was the “Luxury lite” cot. 2.5 lbs. Gets you off the ground, and makes sleeping on uneven ground a pleasure:


    All that hiking, and even though my boots felt great…had taken it’s toll on my feet.


    At this point we are informed that we’ll have a window of a couple of days to get out and then the wind will change to a new direction (West) and won’t allow us to fly out of our lake. So we make the arrangements to get picked up. We wait, all the while noticing the goats have moved to just up behind camp. Our pilot comes in on the first day and picks up most of our gear, leaving us with our tent and day’s worth of food. He said he’d try to get back to us that night, when the wind “works” on that lake, or if it’s calm, but we need to stay in contact with him. So we decide to stick around camp and not go after the goats. A beautiful day ensues and we call him to let him know there isn’t a whisper in the air. He then informs us, that he has a “meeting” to go to and won’t be able to get us. And that we are to call the first thing the next day, as he has “a busy day scheduled” and he’ll pick us up.
    The following morning the plane arrives but there is a wee bit of wind and he informs us that we “need to fill our packs and hike out” and he’ll take what is left of most of our gear. Our lake is at 1700 and the lake runs out to a HUGE waterfall. However he saw, from the air, a spine we should be able to get to and walk out. I interject at this moment to point out, there is no “spine” and our pilot is full of crap.
    After side hilling and picking our way through the worst terrain with cliffs, devil’s club and alders….oh, and head high THICK grass, that trips you at every step, we realize we are no where close to being out. And to top it off, I found a little talked about plant on Kodiak: the Kodiak banana peel. It is the rotten stalk of…what looks like devil’s club, but has a big bud of flowers at the end (when not dead). It is my kryptonite. Every time I was near it, I’d step on an old stock and eat crap. Right to the ground. Slipperyest thing ever!! It would bring me down any time I came into contact with it.
    Half way down the mountain, after making as much noise as possible as we are now in “bear country”, I spot a doe…and then a buck right behind her. I turn to John and ask “should I take him” to which he responds “helll yeah, blast him. We’re here to hunt.” So…I do. Upon seeing him go down, I turn to him and drop an “F bomb” to which he concurs to. Maaaaaaybe not a good thing since our packs weren’t light before…and now just got a whole heck of a lot heavier.


    What should have been another 30 minutes of navigation through the crap of Kodiak mountains, turns into 3 hours and a mental and physical struggle that would break most people, and almost did us.
    However, we didn’t break and we made it to the ocean. Now soaking wet with sweat, we wait…and wait we did. For about 4 hours. Its probably best, as I’m fairly certain I’d have shot our pilot upon our pick up. I didn’t count the MFs that were spoken, but I’m fairly certain we MF’d our pilot the whole way down the hill. He moved up REAL high on my “People to kill” list.




    The next day we had to change our tickets and couldn't get out till Sunday so we got ahold of a trapping buddy and he took us out on his boat to complete the Kodiak "cast and blast". First cast down he hooks into this halibut, but like a saavy veteran lets my dumb self real it in. Guesstimated weight was 70lbs. (looking for the pics...think they are on my phone).

    ** I need to note that the pilot is one of the smartest and best on Kodiak...but that didn't mean we liked hiking down anymore. While we cursed him, he did make the correct decision on what he felt was possible**


    A few things on gear to note:
    *Rain gear worn inside out, that is "breathable" means you're only going to get REAL wet. And solid color gear should NEVER be an option.

    *Trekking poles are mandatory. How people EVER went up or down steep terrain before hand is beyond me. The Black Diamond Whippet was priceless!!

    *My Mystery Ranch Crew Cab pack was AWESOME!!! Our packs out were just shy of 80lbs, and while not comfortable, much better than my old pack frame. However, that is what makes it so great. It is that it can be folded into a day pack, and instantly unfolded to haul out your success. A great pack!!

    *And the Kifaru gun sling is a sn***y way to carry a gun, and works great for hiking. Did have a hiccup on the way down where the brush pulling and catching on the rifle caused the upper portion to pull out. But I fixed it, temporarily, with some duct tape.

    *The luxury lite cot is a MUST. Seriously!! It is steep in price, and worth EVERY penny.

    *Sitka Gear camo pattern is AWESOME in rocks. I don't recommend their gear (cost and some serious bad reviews), but their camo pattern is worth it!

    *My Meindl Alaskan Hunters performed great. My feet never hurt until the last 5 steps to the tent. Next day they were ready to go. Even with them being wet the whole time. Really exceeded my expectations. However, one good point to make: Lube up/weather protect your boots! made a big difference on how long it took for them to soak up.

    *Homemade gaiters. Someone on here showed the pattern a while back. Had my mom (yup, still use her services after my 33 years here) sew me up a pair. LOVED them. Used them before, but in this country, and this hunt they showed their worth.

    *zeiss Binos - can't say enough about good optics.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Default ...

    My buddy wanted me to add this:

    Ok, I need to add some here...

    1. How one knocks a deer down and out for over a half hour with a 338 only to have it get up and walk away is unexplainable to me.

    2. Matt left out the fact we laid on the cold arse rainy rock for near 2 hours as those goats took their sweet arse time to walk within range, while we began our descent into hypothermia..

    3. The Kodiak banana peels not only were Matt's kryptonite, they also had a tractor beam, that sucked him into their grasp....and then took him down. I must have been immune to their powers, or I was smarter than the single celled plants and walked around them... either way..

    4. Down climbing a waterfall that looks "kind of" steep to the pilot from 500ft and 100 mph is way steeper and chittier in reality.

    5. Matt failed to mention our hike from the top of kodiak to the bottom (ocean) took 8.5 hours. We fueled our weary bodies with 1/2 bagel each at 8 am at the beginning of the hunt.

    6. Shooting a nice buck halfway through the descent from hell only made the beginning seem that much easier and the ocean shore that more sweeter... and alot more body aches. But, c'mon " We are KILLERS!"

    7. Cup o soup ramen noodles made with water you boiled kielbasa in is the best hunt food one can ask for.

    8. MRE's are like X-mas morning. You get to unwrap the big present and then unwrap all the little presents. Finding combos and tootsie rolls, grape drink mix, chicklets, tobasco, a craker or cookie and jellies is exciting. that chitty meal to heat though, much like the obligatory bad sweater you got from grandma sucks....and liek the sweater you HAVE to wear at least once, you have to eat that horrible, halfway heated dinner.

    9. it is NOT impossible to run out of curse words or curse word combinations in 8 hrs...and they somehow are kind of calming to yell...

    10. going to the "top" just to see what lies beyond is a retarded waste of effort, but is beneficial in the future when you know where the animals are going....patience.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the story. That was an awesome read and sounds like a hunt I'd be a part of. I can't wait to go home so I can see the pics.

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    Sounds like an epic trip. Thanks for telling the tale of what worked and what didn't. Would you do it again.....probably. Just like the rest of us.

    I'm sure your pilot would have preferred to haul you out in one trip rather than the extra expense and time to make a second load to get ya. If he said he couldn't do it I'd trust him. The alternative might be ending up in a twisted pile of aluminum in the rocks. A little wind one way or another can make a huge difference when you are asking for max performance out of the airplane to get out of a tight spot.

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    Alaskan: Great write up. Love your sense of humor and I am sure it kept the hunt fun despite the adversity. Reading about your fine and pleasant miseries brings to mind my hunts also. I dont think I have had a hunt without such challenges although I have gotten lucky a few times (hunting that is). Late season goat hunting ought to be in the definition of misery in Websters and is can be a ticket to the ER, which is what makes it so fun!!!
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Its good to know I am not the only one that has hunt experiences like that! Thanks for taking the time to share those experiences it gave me some good laughs reading it just now.

    Seriously though it sounds like the two of you took the best Kodiak had to throw at you and you persevered through it congrats on your successful hunt and I hope you get your billy the next go around!!Its good to know I am not the only one that has hunt experiences like that! Thanks for taking the time to share those experiences it gave me some good laughs reading it just now.

    Seriously though it sounds like the two of you took the best Kodiak had to throw at you and you persevered through it congrats on your successful hunt and I hope you get your billy the next go around!!

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    Great trip & read.
    Your "Kodiak banna peel" is probably what is referred to as "cow parsnip". here in south central. Grows on the steepest slopes & impossible to walk on. I didn't see crampons mentioned, which would have gone a long way to make walking on it more relaxing (& sure footed).

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    Great story. I would like to thank you for not shooting Rolan, as he's one of the very few pilots I will fly with. If he told me to stand on my head and quack like a duck, I'd do it.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Nomination for the longest single post ever?!?!?! Great story though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J in AK View Post
    Great story. I would like to thank you for not shooting Rolan, as he's one of the very few pilots I will fly with. If he told me to stand on my head and quack like a duck, I'd do it.
    I have also flown with Rolan and when he looks you in the eye and speeks....God listens...

    Also sounds like an awsome trip that I would sign up for anyday....

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Funny writing!!! Good humor is a survival tool everyone should pack.

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    Hmmm, not sure I'll say it sounded like a great time but you sure made some memories. Best hunt write up in a while

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    Probably what he should have told you is, my plane and your life is worth more that the thousand plus MF's you are going to call me on the way to the saltwater. See you in a few hours!

    I know the lake and area you are talking about, and you could not pay me to get dropped in there, trust me, I'll bet ole Rolan didn't enjoy it one bit, he probably had a few MF's for you two as well when he took off and left you there knowing he would have to come back to get ya.

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    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Great write up guys . You had the Kodiak hunt for sure . Roland will go the extra mile for you if it is safe . I have used his services twice and he is very good.
    Thanks for the pictures.

    RR
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    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    Sounds like an epic trip. Thanks for telling the tale of what worked and what didn't. Would you do it again.....probably. Just like the rest of us.

    I'm sure your pilot would have preferred to haul you out in one trip rather than the extra expense and time to make a second load to get ya. If he said he couldn't do it I'd trust him. The alternative might be ending up in a twisted pile of aluminum in the rocks. A little wind one way or another can make a huge difference when you are asking for max performance out of the airplane to get out of a tight spot.
    Absolutely!! He is one of the most knowledgable aircraft operators, and one must trust his discretion. I still hate him for that hike out though. And the "oh, easy ridge past the second stream and should be easy walking".... There is NO SUCH THING as easy walking in Kodiak...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Great trip & read.
    Your "Kodiak banna peel" is probably what is referred to as "cow parsnip". here in south central. Grows on the steepest slopes & impossible to walk on. I didn't see crampons mentioned, which would have gone a long way to make walking on it more relaxing (& sure footed).
    Whatever they are, they suck. Crampons were purchased for this trip. Just didn't make it in on time. I think they might have helped, but I'm not sure i'd have liked to drag those through the tangle that Kodiak calls "grass". Plus, would they have been like soccer cleats on wet asphalt when on rocks? I'm not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutter View Post
    Probably what he should have told you is, my plane and your life is worth more that the thousand plus MF's you are going to call me on the way to the saltwater. See you in a few hours!

    I know the lake and area you are talking about, and you could not pay me to get dropped in there, trust me, I'll bet ole Rolan didn't enjoy it one bit, he probably had a few MF's for you two as well when he took off and left you there knowing he would have to come back to get ya.
    Yeah, he said he hadn't used that lake before, and we are fairly certain after the first take off after dropping us off, is when he realized we were hoofing it out of there. I know it looked hairy from the view point of the shore, so i'm guessing from the pilot seat it wasn't any better.

    Oh, and for the question woudl I do it again? When I was up top of one of the mountains I said i'd never do it again and I was a fool. However...i'm thinking I like it. Great country, beautiful as could be, and a heck of a work out every day. I just think I'll choose a bigger lake next time. As I told Rolan: "I don't want marginal again!"
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

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    Awesome write up! I love your sense of humor and I can just see you guys standing there with a *** look on your face as Roland steams off and you have to walk!
    +1

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    Good writing...gotta keep it funny during those tough times in the outdoors. About 10 days ago I was fighting the 'cow parsnip' but was calling it the 'snot weed' or something like that.

    WHY do they have to die before all the other plants, just spreading themselves out on the ground for more 'step on me!!!' action??!?!?!

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    BTW, looks like mole-skin wrapped in duct tape. Worked well?

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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    It was actually the Bandaid blister pads, with duct tape to make sure they didn't walk off. Usually those pads work great, but on my fat stubby digits sometimes they'll loose their grip a bit. So i secured the wrap with duct tape. Those Blister pads are the BEST. Discovered them on a moose hunt with my brother. He brought some, and you get the usual one here or there. Anyways, they last about a week with just normal "moose hiking" (pack all of our moose, no 4 wheelers). They really were about 100x better than moleskin. Sometimes I just use it as a precaution. Like I felt a hot spot starting on my big toe, so I put one on. Makes a ton of difference.

    I like to think I have a good sense of humor, so we keep it pretty light. I mean really, all you can do is laugh when stuff goes astray. I have a saying: " you have to have bad hunts, to know when you have a good one." And this hunt wasn't even a bad one, just a hard one. Wouldn't have it any other way!!!

    If I ever strike it rich, one of my goals will be to erradicate that plant. there were a few very decents on my part due to them, and I still feel the discomfort of discovering a new rock hiding under some grass when I landed once.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

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    [QUOTE
    If I ever strike it rich, one of my goals will be to erradicate that plant. there were a few very decents on my part due to them, and I still feel the discomfort of discovering a new rock hiding under some grass when I landed once. [/QUOTE]

    Could have been worse. When they are still alive, they can cause a SEVERE allergic reaction in some folks. Itch & irritate the skin; scratch the skin affected, then wipe sweat from around your eyes and trouble could develop. I've gotten a mild skin rash from exposure, but have read of people getting affected much more severely.
    When you "get rich" and set up the "Foundation for the Eradacation of the Kodiak Banna Peel", you will probably be able to generate donations from this site.

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