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Thread: Close calls while hunting Alaska?

  1. #1
    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Default Close calls while hunting Alaska?

    After the big conversation about waiting a year for Resident hunting privelidges in Alaska, I was just curious how many people have stories of a time when your safety and or life may have been threatened? Any of those "This one time I almost..." stories. Bear encounters, lost in the woods, anything.

  2. #2
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I have not had that many close calls but a few that sure got my attention.

    Sunk vehicles in rivers and creeks a few times. Thats always a lot of fun.

    Been stalked in the dark by a black bear while skinning another one out. Its never a good feeling when the hair on your neck starts standing on end then your dog goes berserk and you turn around to see a black bear 20 feet from you and about 4 feet from the bow of your boat. Here you are covered up to your elbows in dead bear. After yelling then finally shooting in his general direction the second time he did not return.

  3. #3

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    Twice this year I was almost run over by 4-wheelers on narrow winding trails with poor visibility. I probably wouldn't have been so leaked if the guys in both incidents hadn't laughed loudly and kept on going after I dove for the bushes one time and down a steep hillside the other. I gotta say, at that point the owners would have been a lot happier with licensing laws and motorized restictions than what I would have done to their rides if I had caught up with them. Fantasies about them meeting another wheeler coming the other way at high speed kept me entertained while I went wheeler hunting.

    Not the kind of close calls you were looking for I'm sure, and not likely to make wheeler users happy, but both instances were as dangerous as any bear charge I've ever had.

  4. #4
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    Default My Story...

    My wife found out I snuck another rifle into the house? That was a near death experience.

  5. #5
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Twice

    One October deer hunt on Story Island I was awake for 2 1/2 days as a gale kept bouncing my boat off anchor. Finially in 5-6 foot waves and another gale on my butt, I notified the Coast Guard that I was heading in. It took me 6 hours of riding up and down waves to reach Glacier. Two more hours to make it up the Valdez Arm. The coasties met me in Saw Mill as my antenna cable had bounced out and I lost radio contact. Eight 1/2 hours total and I was in port from a normal 2 1/2 hour trip.

    Having not learned from the October trip, I tried a December hunt. I made it to Saw Mill when a snow squall shut me down for 2 hours. Heading back out, daylight fading, I headed into Galena Bay. The winds came up in the arm and I ended up sleeping in my open boat for five more days with the labrador. Water jug near frozen, and 10-15 degree nights I tried again. I took a 6-7 foot wave over the windshield. Everything soaked, I admitted defeat and hired Northern Comfort Charters to come and tow me back in. That cost me $750.

    No more deer hunts in a 21' boat for me.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  6. #6
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Dave you are a braver man than I am. You need to get a hard top for your boat and a heater!

  7. #7
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Talking Braver?

    Probably a lot more inexperienced back then with the weather on PWS. Braver.....not so sure. Gathering knowledge the hard way....yes.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
    Cancer Survivor - Dec. 14th 2012

  8. #8

    Default Oh Yeah!

    Here is a 42 year condensed Alaskan outdoor history. Back in the early 70's me and 3 buddies are returning to the Anchorage dock after loading up on red's over by the Susitna. Ran into 6' and 8' waves. We lost one engine and almost ran out of gas. We were in a 24' wooden dory. Live and learn! Had a run in with a Brown Bear one night while moose calling and killed him. 2 weeks before that I had a run in with a big Black Bear that broke off at about 20' and went up a tree. Only bear problems I have ever had. Guese they don't always come in numerical order. About 25 years ago the wife and I float a small river and shoot a moose at night about a 1/2 mile from camp. I bring back a hind quarter and the next morning my back is out. 3 days later I finally have the moose in the canoe and reach the landing. Oh, to be young and strong again. My brother comes up a hill behind me on the 4-wheeler. Flips it and decides to catch it. Breaks his wrist. A piece of spruce and a game bag and tape made a dandy splint. He got an infection in it while on vacation and ended up in the hospital on an IV. My sister in-law was not impressed. My 6-wheeler breaks down so I put my wife on it and hop on her machine to pull her. I go to fast through a rough spot an she flies off into the alders. Her side is hurting but she wants to stay and hunt. I break camp and take her to the ER. She has 3 broken ribs. What a woman! My hunting buddy twists his leg on a slippery river bank. Tries to hobble around the next day and hunt, finally gave up. He had knee surgery a few days later to repair the damage. Tried to cut my thumb off splitting fire wood after making fun of the way my buddy was splitting the wood. That really impressed my wife and daughters. I am sure there is more, but these are some high lights. Spend enough time out there and use some poor judgement and you will be able to share some stories with us. Here is what I learned. GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE. MOST EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT!

  9. #9
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Probably a lot more inexperienced back then with the weather on PWS. Braver.....not so sure. Gathering knowledge the hard way....yes.
    Unfortunately I think most of us learn our lessons that way instead of listening to others, I know I am guilty!

  10. #10
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    On a black bear hunt. I was walking down a mountain in the dark. Seems I missed the trail about 50 yards to the side and I ended up falling about 13 feet off a cliff. I landed about 4 feet from the top of a 200' drop. Busted my head pretty good and was a bloody mess.

    Luckily my wife sat down were she was when I dropped out of sight. She was holding on to my shirt while we walked down. Took me a half hour to climb back up to where she was. We stayed the night on the side of the mountain. I had to get my rifle the next morning when there was enough daylight.

  11. #11
    Member smwwoody's Avatar
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    Default close call trapping

    I thought I would re post this one from last year it seems to fit here.

    Quote Originally Posted by smwwoody View Post
    Last weekend me and my boy where out on the wheelers checking beaver traps. We were about 12 miles from home and 40 almost unnavigable miles from any other shelter. (We Live in the Bush). I took a dumb step on a beaver dam and next thing I know I was up to mid thigh in mud and to my armpits in water. After he got me out we made our way back to the wheelers which were only about 50 yards away. by this time I was getting a little cold. With a pole a silver tarp the 2 wheelers and some rope he made a quick little shelter / reflector. As I was getting undressed he pulled out on of those sawdust and wax fireplace logs. With this and some dry wood he dug up he had a nice hot fire going in front of me and the reflector. Now I got my dry clothes, boots, and shop towels out of the box on the wheeler. After I was dried off and redressed we hung my rain gear next to the fire to dry out. We drank some coffee next to the fire and had a sandwich. this was long enough for my rain gear to dry out. We then tore down the shelter tried to put out the fire ( those wax logs burn well.) we got it on the way back through. we finished out the day dry and warm. This could have been real bad if we weren't well prepared. oh yea did I mention that after the 12 mile wheeler ride we had a 3 mile ride in an open skiff with the wheelers back across the bay to get home.

    Woody
    Last edited by smwwoody; 11-11-2007 at 12:19. Reason: spelling

  12. #12
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    This was not a close call for myself, but it sure was for two little girls. I posted this back in 2003 on another web site. Thought you might like it.





    posted December 03, 2003 04:01 AM I've been known to make some real lucky shots, like the day I shot the head off a grouse at 40 yards, with a 30-30 from the hip. Or the evening I shot the charging Bull Moose while lying on my back. But this shot I feel that the Good Lord had a hand in guiding the bullet. May 1971, my best friend Ed Read and I were new to Alaska. We had found out we could hunt on the Army land behind Eielson AFB, without having to buy a Non-resident Hunting Liscense. We got our permits from the Base Wildlife Office and went out looking for Spring Bear. We had spent most of the day driving, just exploring the area. We were several miles from the base, on a pretty rough trail called Brigadier Road, when we spotted a Grizzly Bear, on a hillside over a mile away. We continued to drive in that direction. About 600 Yards from the bear the road turned and started going in the other direction. We left the truck and started walking. At the time the only rifle I owned was a Parker Haile .308. I had it in my truck. I was also carrying a .338 Mag that a friend had left with me till he could figure out how to let his wife know he had bought a new gun. I handed Ed the .308 and I carried the .338. When we had gotten to within 400 yards we stopped to watch the bear. With the lay of the land, if we went any further we would lose sight of the bear. After watching the bear for a while, Ed noticed that the bear was limping. The bear would not place it's left front foot on the ground. We also got the idea that the bear was stalking something, on top of the hill. We determined that if we went any further we would not be able to see the bear till we were within 40 to 50 yards, maybe closer. Being above treeline, we had a good view of the bear, with no obstructions between us and our target. Ed encourged me to take the shot. I did not feel comfortable with the range, and the fact that I had only shot two rounds through this gun. But being young and stupid, and feeling the invinciability of youth, what the heck, I decided to take the shot. I sat down and using my walking staff as a rest, I prepared to take the shot. Ed and I started discussing the range and trojectory. I was unsure of the amount of holdover needed, and we thought it was 400 yards, but were not sure. I began to have doubts. I put the crosshairs on the top line of the bears head, holding the vertical post on the spine. I started a slow trigger squeeze, then just before the gun went off I raised the crosshairs about 6 inches over the head. The gun fired and I lost sight of the bear. Ed was watching through binoculars, he said the bear did not move. He could not tell if I had hit it or not. We sat there for a few minutes watching the bear. We saw no movement, we began to think maybe I had made a good shot. Then Ed exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, there is someone over there". I looked and could see a man then a woman running toward the bear. Just before getting to the bear they picked something up, two little girls. They had been just over the slope out of sight. When they spotted us they started yelling, then the man started making rude and obsceen jestures. Ed and I realised that those little girls was what the bear was stalking. We also knew that the parents did not know about the bear. Ed and I started running in their direction, and immediately lost sight of them. We crossed a small wash, then started climbing the hill to their location. As we climbed the slope, we caught sight of the man standing alone on the tundra. The woman and the children were no where in sight. As we neared this fellow we could see that he was staring at something on the ground. He had found the Bear. He looked at us, fell to a sitting position and started crying. All he was doing was pointing at the bear and then at the children, and crying. Ed and I helped him to his feet, then we started walking him back to his family. We saw where the little girls had been playing on a blanket with a tea set. When we approached the families vehicle the Mother came out cursing us for shooting at her children, she was unaware of the bear. The Husband yelled for her to "Shut-up". Then he told her about the Grizzly that had been stalking their children. And how we had shot the bear. The Mother turned pale, then loaded the children into the vehicle. The Father insisted on going back with us to look at the bear. He drove his Jeep Wagoneer back to the location of the bear, he wanted his wife to see the bear. When we got back to the bear, we found an old boar, missing most of his teeth. His left front foot had been mutilated somehow, probably in a fight. He had fresh scares and festering sores, allover his body. It was appearant this old bear was stalking those children for an easy meal. Ed and I had just happened along, and prevented his meal. First examination we could not find where I had hit him. As we skinned him the bullet hole was located. I had hit the spine dead center, four inches down from the skull. As I said before, I don't consider this shot a great feat on my part, here I was just 22 years old, not much shooting experience, and shooting an unfamilier gun. Like I said before the hand of someone else was guiding that bullet. It took a long time for me to understand why that father cried. Now that I am a father myself, I to cry when I remember how easily I could have passed up that shot, and what the results would have been. I kept in touch with that family. Those two little girls are now Mothers themselves. I got a phone call today from the oldest girl Ginnie, she is now a Grandmother. They tell people about how I saved their lives when they were small, they make it sound like I'm a hero. No I'm no hero, just Gods insterment in the prevention of a tragedy. This is one story that I have never told before. I discussed it last March with Ed. Ed says I let it bother me too much. It's always been hard to think about this one. Ginnie said she wants me to write this one down and send her a copy. Well Ginnie here it is.

  13. #13
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    This past May I set up a bait station out in P.W.S. and we watched from a distance as a bear started hitting the bait station. As I watched with binocks I decieded I wanted this bear with my bow so we began our journey towards the station from 500yrds out. By the time we reached 100yrds. out we noticed he had left the station and retreated into the woods. As we approched the station we saw the bear at about 50yrds. heading away from the station so thinking the only thing I had in my pack that had any scent was a couple of suzie Q's that I planned on eating.

    As I hurried to pull them out my brother continued to watch the bear as he began to pull further from the station. I got those things out and smashed them in pieces in a hurry and I **** u not he must have smelt those things in a hurry because not even 1 minute after doing that the bear was at a mad dash back to the bait station. We set up, my brother about 60yrds. away to watch threw the woods and me behind the blind I built with logs 30yrds. from the station

    As we sat there waiting quietly I continued to look over at my brother who was watching the bear make his way to the bait station. So I pull the 44 mag out set it on the ground and knocked an arrow and hooked my release into my loop and hunched over and waited until further notice from my brother as I peeked through a hole in the blind watching the station.

    I looked over at my brother to see him pointing in that direction so i start to raise up over the blind and look and I don't see anything, so I look back at him with this jackass look wondering what the hell he was looking at he is now pointing about 20 times faster in that same direction. About that time I hear a crunch in the snow realy close so I raised up still locked into the bow to see this big black head looking at me 15ft. away. As I dropped to the ground feeling wetness in my shorts I heard him tearass back into the woods he came out of and continue to head back to the staition growling at me the hole time letting me know that was now his bait station. As he approched I tryed to regain my composer and calm myself, I raised back up at full draw look at a broadside shot of this awsome black bear at 30yrds. but looking through the site I could not hold steady because of seeing my life flash before me so I watched him eat my suzie Q's and walk away *******. Sorry about the long post but I needed to build it up how I saw it

  14. #14
    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default lots of close calls

    Got stuck on rasberry island all night back in '93. 60 mile an hour winds all night. Rotating like a hotdog to keep warm next to the fire. A browny came in for a peak, and we were able to scare em off. All from mis judging the amount of daylight we had left.

    Got lost on Kodiak in a giant alder feild on the side of a mountain in the middle of a giant rain storm during pitch black. There were 3 of us each with our own entire Deer plus day pack, and gun on our backs. About 110lbs. The only way we made it is cus we knew to go down. To stupid to drop the packs our legs were shaking, and giving out under us. The trip took till 1am, and we shot our last deer 3 miles back at 5:00pm. NEVER SHOOT 3 DEER AFTER 4PM 3 MILES AWAY FROM CAMP!!!!

    Similar story involved 3 of us carrying 2 entire caribou divided evenly between us for almost 3 miles again at night, and in a storm. That time we had no headlamp OR GPS. We were smart enough this time though to drop the packs, and hightail back to camp.

    Dad got charged twice in one day by a Brownie. Spent 4 hrs in a tree, and still managed to bring back 2 deer. That was the day after we spent the night on Rasberry. I thankfully said NO! when Dad asked if I wanted to go that day.

  15. #15
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    On a black bear hunt I was in the stand. Every hour the bears would come in the bait and stay for about 15 minutes then leave for an hour. Well during the time they were gone I had to go to the bathroom real bad. About 25 yard from my tree stand was a creek. So I got down and went there to pee. As I was peeing a bear came out from the bushes and was only 15 yards from me (an area that I did not see the bears come from) and was looking right at me. I quickly finished and just stood there. This bear started to clack his teeth and was swaying his head back and fourth at me. Meantime he was getting closer. I talked to the bear and even made loud noises to scare him off. This did not work. Finally it got within 10 feet from me and I told the bear you are going to see god here in a minute if you get any closer. You guessed it, the bear did not listen to me. Finally I made the made to choice to shoot the bear. One shot and it was down.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  16. #16
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgleipold View Post
    My wife found out I snuck another rifle into the house? That was a near death experience.

    Man, My wife would of used that new rifle on me
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  17. #17
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    Default lost

    Last September when my friend kyle and I were 15, we were deer hunting on the mountain behind my house in SE Alaska. We set up camp at the far end of the ridge in the trees, then set out around 2 in the afternoon. While we were walking along the ridge line we passed up 2 forks and a spike (being picky trying to find a 4 point). Way down the ridge we came to these granite cliffs where I'd shot , but we only spotted 2 does. By that time it was about 6pm and it was starting to get dark and we could see some fog moving in, but we didn't think much of it. We had brought flashlights and a GPS. So we continued on but still didn't see anything. Finally we decided to turn back around 7 just before dark. Around 7:30 the fog moved in and we could barely see each other only a few feet away. So we tried turing the GPS on but it wouldn't turn on! We tried it a few more times and even put the batteries from the flashlight in the GPS but something was wrong and it wouldn't turn on with fresh batteries. So we continued on for a few more hours wandering around and it started to drizzle which turned in to a down pour. We then decided to find a fair size tree to sit under and wait till the morning light. That night was one on the coldest of my life, i swear i was in the first stages of hypothermia with the shivering. But we survived the cold, wet night and when the sun started to come up around 5-5:30 we started looking for our tent, with the food and hot chocolate! We were about to give up and just cut through the logged off to the road when we stumbled upon camp around 10 am! We had actually walked past our camp in the night not being able to tell because of the fog. We were so happy. We crawled into our sleeping bags and made some oatmeal and hot chocolate, then started down the mountain at 1 pm because kyle's mom was picking us up around 3pm. We made it on time and now I know not just to rely on a GPS but to use a compass and sometimes flagging tape it you are in a tricky hunting area.
    Hunter

  18. #18
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Default close call

    My first spring bow hunting over bait experience...My partner and I had been getting regular hits on the bait. We had seen a sow with cubs and a few smaller bears, a total of 5 black bears up till the night of my close call. I took a load of bait in one night and was filling the barrrel...the barrel was in the corner of some strategically located logs. I heard a twig snap and saw the hump of a bear coming around the end of the log. Being new to Alaska and having seen several black bears, I thought for a short moment (very short), cool a blonde black bear....instantly I changed my thought and said @#$% that is a grizz! I did not want to be between him and food so I took two steps away from the barrel and something in my head said stop, you look like fleeing prey. I stopped, turned and the bear was coming at me, it stood up on its hind legs, I waved my hands, one of which had a loaded .44 in it and said Hey Hey Hey. It turned and bolted and so did I. The next day I went back in and realized the bear was only four steps ( 12 feet) away from where I was standing.
    Last edited by Burke; 11-11-2007 at 17:59. Reason: forgot something

  19. #19
    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    My wife rolled her 4 wheeler and broke her back. We were 16 miles out the trail from Moores Moose camp on the Denali Highway. She rode all the way out with a broken back...doctors were amazed she didn't injure her spinal cord.

  20. #20
    Member Trapak's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    [QUOTE=Graybeard;168599]This was not a close call for myself, but it sure was for two little girls.

    Graybeard: Fantastic story! And it's wonderful to see how you were used to prevent a tragedy from occurring.

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