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Thread: More Adak questions

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Question More Adak questions

    I thought I posted this on the archery forum, but it ended up in the boating forum...I am guessing user error

    I am at the beginning of planning a hunt on Adak in the fall f 2012 and am looking for resources. I have found the web site for Adak Birding and have sent them an Email. Does anyone know if archery is a good possibility out there or is the high wind to bad? I watched another Jim Shockey last night and they seemed to be shooting at 500 plus yards...that could be just for TV, or are really very long shots the norm?

    I have hunted the haul roads many times, so the Alaskan "experience" with nature are well known...I am looking for more "local" information. thanks in advance for any referrals/suggestions/help!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    I was just out there in August for my first Adak hunt, but the caribou were still too far to the south to get to them without walking 5-8 miles. I am leaving for Adak again this Thursday and will let you know what I find out. I'm not a bow hunter but am going with one. From what the locals tell me, the Caribou aren't very scared of people.

    I stayed at the Selah Bunkhouse last time, but am going to stay at the "caribou hotel" this time. It doesn't really matter where you stay since they are all ex-military 4-plexes. We rented ATV's from the Selah Bunkhouse.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Depending on what the terrain is like you can use the gullies, or low ridges to easily get within 50 yards, if not closer. Like 10 yards maybe. Over most of the island there is much more usable stalking terrain than up north. There are lots of flat spots though and if the critters are not moving around then you might have to belly crawl up to them.

    The photographer Lon Lauber was out there in the late 1970's or early 1980's. Since it was a military base then he was not allowed to bring a firearm and was stuck with bow hunting on special access pass granted through the USFWS. He took a really nice bull, back when there were really nice bulls out there. Notice from the photo that it died down in one of the thousands of creeks with steep banks. I have seen other photos of this bull, but those do not appear on his stock photo website.
    Another of his Adak scenery photos that shows typical terrain on the middle and west island. Southern part of the island is less mountian like but lots of rolling hills.
    Here is the packing out photo of his bull. It shows the terrain for the southern part of the island in the distance.

    After about mid September it is mostly windy with a few hours a week where the wind is not blowing. Count on a pretty constant 10 to 15 knot wind.

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    I know he was out there in the mid 80's, but my memory must be bad.

    Lon E. Lauber did the nat geo with those little rare ferns (i think this was late 80's). Seemed like those little ferns were so rare that officials were concerned the alien caribou would crush them and cause them to become extinct. Plus, the military started to close the base and more or less created an open season on the caribou.

    From my memory, they allowed rifle hunting hunting out there... I think he just preferred the archery method.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet eNuf View Post
    From my memory, they allowed rifle hunting hunting out there... I think he just preferred the archery method.
    I was a civilian dependant out there from 1982 through 1984, and then a contractor from 1990 through 1993. The Navy rule was that only people that were stationed there could have a firearm. Visitors with USFWS, another legal property owner, could not even bring a firearm. USFWS employees could. The company with the family housing maintenance contract negotiated it into his contract - he ran the skeet club for over 15 years if not longer. USFWS was the only agency allowed to negotiate the visits of non governmental people such as Lauber, and they had no pull for firearms. I remember the safety briefing where they discussed this stuff and mentioned some "famous" hunters from the 1970's that were invited by the Navy to come out there. With each change over of the base command the attitude/rules towards visitors also changed. The 1980's were the peak of the Cold War fear and it showed out there when I was a kid.

    Since the Navy searched your luggage more thorough than the TSA does now, there is no way to easily sneak a gun on base. It was done, but not in your luggage. In 1993 one of the construction contractors was caught hunting with a rifle he had smuggled on island in a knack box, and he was escorted to the Reeve plane the next day by the shore patrol. He did get to keep his rifle, but lost a $30/hr job on a two year project. Was any Adak caribou worth $100,000 in earnings? The rumor was that he as not allowed on Shemya either.

    In 1995 the control of the base was turned over to the reuse authority under BRAC, and the no firearms rule became a piece of history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    I was a civilian dependant out there from 1982 through 1984, and then a contractor from 1990 through 1993. The Navy rule was that only people that were stationed there could have a firearm. Visitors with USFWS, another legal property owner, could not even bring a firearm. USFWS employees could. The company with the family housing maintenance contract negotiated it into his contract - he ran the skeet club for over 15 years if not longer. USFWS was the only agency allowed to negotiate the visits of non governmental people such as Lauber, and they had no pull for firearms. I remember the safety briefing where they discussed this stuff and mentioned some "famous" hunters from the 1970's that were invited by the Navy to come out there. With each change over of the base command the attitude/rules towards visitors also changed. The 1980's were the peak of the Cold War fear and it showed out there when I was a kid.
    For comparison purposes, looks like I was there in between the gaps of your visit.

    I think Lon's wife worked for the school district. and am pretty sure that she was his sponsor (so to speak).

    As to the nuances of who was allowed to have guns and who wasn't, I am less sure after your explanation... just surprised that so many people had guns out there and hunted with them. I recall hunting with the shotguns after ptarmigan (did so with someone that was a member of the civil service) so it may depend on your definition of "stationed there". Also recall contractor's and civilian's alike boating around to the far side of the island after caribou.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    Since the Navy searched your luggage more thorough than the TSA does now, there is no way to easily sneak a gun on base. It was done, but not in your luggage. In 1993 one of the construction contractors was caught hunting with a rifle he had smuggled on island in a knack box, and he was escorted to the Reeve plane the next day by the shore patrol. He did get to keep his rifle, but lost a $30/hr job on a two year project. Was any Adak caribou worth $100,000 in earnings? The rumor was that he as not allowed on Shemya either.
    I remember a court martialing of a security officer that alledgedly shipped home some rifles with government fancy optics as his personal belongings. I don't recall the possession of guns were controlled in that manner that you describe and am very surprised I was able to buy a handgun at the local commissary while working for a contractor (about 1990). I thought we had checked to see if such purchases were off limits ... but don't recall it being illegal to do so or a no-no to have the weapon while there.

    Oh well... I have no documentation of the rules for the island. I'm just living in the past with a sketchy memory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    In 1993 one of the construction contractors was caught hunting with a rifle he had smuggled on island in a knack box, and he was escorted to the Reeve plane the next day by the shore patrol. He did get to keep his rifle, but lost a $30/hr job on a two year project. Was any Adak caribou worth $100,000 in earnings? The rumor was that he as not allowed on Shemya either.
    I think being banned from Shemya would be a blessing not a punishment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    In 1993 one of the construction contractors was caught hunting with a rifle he had smuggled on island in a knack box, and he was escorted to the Reeve plane the next day by the shore patrol. He did get to keep his rifle, but lost a $30/hr job on a two year project. Was any Adak caribou worth $100,000 in earnings? The rumor was that he as not allowed on Shemya either..
    I wouldn't be surprised if that incident and penalties were drug related ... rather than firearms related.

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    Here is a nice blog about a hunt last year. Parts of it were in the AK rag. It shows some of the more interesting terrain features.

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    My buddy and I both killed great bulls in 2005, the year befoe the @$$-wipe screwed the place up. I would suspect it could be good again about now. My buddy arrowed his bull at 3 yards and I shot mine at about 20.

    I'll try and post a pic BUT last one I tried just left a link.

    Attachment 56302

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