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Thread: What was it?

  1. #1

    Default What was it?

    The thread about planes "buzzing" hunters in the field brought back memories of a hunt I went on in Alaska about 15 years ago. I would like to ask you all your opinion about what happened to me.

    It was a solo unguided caribou hunt out of Illiamna. I hired a pilot to fly me in with all my own gear. I don't know exactly where we ended up but we were in his super cub for about an hour when we landed on the top of a ridge. The pilot said we were 125 miles from the nearest road, so whatever I do, stay right here until he picked me up because I would never survive if I tried to walk out. "Yes Sir!"

    The next morning I killed a great bull, but my plane wasn't due back for a couple more days. The third night I was fast asleep in my tent and was wakened by the sound of a plane overhead. I could tell it was a prop plane with multiple engines and was low. I had my eyes closed and I could hear it circling. I remember thinking "125 miles from nowhere and I can't get a peacefull nights sleep". By then I'm awake, so I open my eyes. Through the fabric of my nylon tent it looks like the whole tundra is in flames!

    I jump up and quickly unzip the door and look out. It's not a fire thank God, but there are huge balls of light hanging in the sky. The whole place is lit up like daylight. I glance at my watch and it's 2 am. So I get dressed and go outside and stand by my tent trying to figure out why the whole world is looking down on me. When one light would burn out another one was dropped and light the place up again. Then finally after about a half hour I could hear the plane leaving. Within minutes the final light was out and it was completely dark and quiet again. Just like nothing happened. With nothing else to do I went back to bed.

    Right at first light, I hear a helicoptor comming. I look out the tent and it's landing about 300 yards from me. Now I'm resolved to find out what the heck is going on. I pull on my boots and start walking over to it. I get about 1/2 way there and it lifts up and takes off and is gone.

    Later that morning I find a couple parachutes near camp. They look like nylon with about 12 of cord. On the end is a silver canister with white residue. I'm assuming these were the lights I saw. I picked one up and took it back to camp.

    When my plane showed up I told the pilot what happened. I don't think he believed me until I showed him the parachute. I told him I wanted to keep it but he refused to take it in his plane. Why I don't know. He said he had no idea what had happened that night. He hadn't heard of any plane crashes in the area.

    This was kind of a long read I know, but do any of you have any kind of explination as to what this may have been?

    Eel

  2. #2
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've described a parachute flare and the pilot was likely right to make you leave it there. Having a piece of UXO fire off in a cub would be bad...extra bad.

    Why were they doing it? no idea but sounds like a typical SAR type operation. Figured they'd have asked you if you saw anybody though. Again- lot of water under the bridge since then.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    While guiding over there not far from that area I observed the military doing maneuvers. I watched fighter jets practice over there a few times, where these, as you put it "light balls" were launched and the jets would zero in on them. The first time I had it happen I da*n near had to hit the deck as the sonic boom from one of them about floored me.

    What you saw may very well have been the military.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  4. #4
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Default What was it?

    Just military folks practicing their jobs. Where I grew up in Nevada we had several bombing ranges and warfare withdrawals. We used to go out to a ridge on BLM land and over watch night time drops. A-10s are beyond cool at night.

    Up here special ops does training through out the year on public lands. You'll never know unless you are there.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Those are military flares, the EOD folks referred to them as "LU 2's". I used to support the EOD guys when they had to clear the ranges in the Yukon training area and we would collect all the ones that weren't completely expended and had to "inactivate" them. Those guys really have a good time while doing there jobs!!!!

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    I know you have already been told about the fact that these were flares but thought I might add something. Down here in eastern wa. we have the Yakima training center and when I was growing up I would ride my honda 90 all over the sagebrush out there, trespassing of course, and find those parachutes all over the place with some of them being 15 ft in diameter. I'd haul them home use them in the wind here they could really pull you around. They still shoot them up at night and most of these are fired from the ground because you could also find the tubes laying around that they launch them with. thanks, Ron.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the thoughts. Some sort of military exercise sure seems logical. But as large as Alaska is, I wonder how they picked my little camp to target that night? LOL I did forget to mention that the helicoptor that landed was painted in classic military green. I looked for, but couldn't see any sort of markings any where.

    Eel

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EelRiverChrome View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts. Some sort of military exercise sure seems logical. But as large as Alaska is, I wonder how they picked my little camp to target that night? LOL I did forget to mention that the helicoptor that landed was painted in classic military green. I looked for, but couldn't see any sort of markings any where.

    Eel
    They probably had that area planned for sometime, and just didn't know you were there.....not that that would have mattered.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanksmare View Post
    I know you have already been told about the fact that these were flares but thought I might add something. Down here in eastern wa. we have the Yakima training center and when I was growing up I would ride my honda 90 all over the sagebrush out there, trespassing of course, and find those parachutes all over the place with some of them being 15 ft in diameter. I'd haul them home use them in the wind here they could really pull you around. They still shoot them up at night and most of these are fired from the ground because you could also find the tubes laying around that they launch them with. thanks, Ron.
    Those tubes you found laying around are in-fact the delivery systems for the flares, but they are not ground-launched devices. The flare is dropped from the plane and it separates from the launch tube when activated.

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    Red Dawn...or really rowdy caribou

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