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Thread: Outdoor Life "Grand Slam" Hunt!

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Outdoor Life "Grand Slam" Hunt!

    Hi folks,

    Well, I have been selected to participate in the "Grand Slam Alaska" hunt with Outdoor Life magazine, and I'm pretty excited about it. I was contacted by a magazine representative several months ago and have put together a hunt that is sure to captivate the interest of big-game hunters in Alaska and the Lower 48. Here's the lowdown:

    We are hunting brown bear, black bear, caribou and wolf, with some fishing and possibly grouse / waterfowl tossed in. It's a 14-day hunt which starts with a 10-day float hunt on a remote river. We'll spend the last four or five days at a lodge, from which we will hunt on foot. The float hunt is the same one I cataloged last year in my blog on MY WEBSITE. The hunt starts next week, with a departure for the field on Tuesday, September 23. We return on Sunday, October 5, weather permitting.

    Outdoor life will film the entire hunt, plus there will be a full feature article in an upcoming issue of their magazine. CLICK HERE to read about their first Grand Slam Adventure hunt, which took place at Elkhorn Outfitters down in Colorado. I spoke with the owner of that company yesterday and he said they had a great time with the Outdoor Life crew, and with their lucky hunter, Stuart Littlefield.

    My chosen role is "Hunt Planner", and my company (Lost Creek Company) is responsible for all the logistics; hotel, ground transportation, air charter, species selection, area selection, hunt type (it's a combination float hunt and lodge-based hunt), guide service (Hidden Alaska Guides and Outfitters), and raft rental (Alaska Raft and Kayak). I'm also responsible for menu planning, food purchasing, and raft wrangling. Tracey Harmon will join us to run one of the three rafts we need on this hunt, and he and I will share the camp chores, to free up Buck Bowden so he can give his hunter the attention he deserves. I had the chance to guide the hunter myself, but Buck has done so much for me over the years (he got me into guiding in the first place) that I thought this would be a nice payback to him. So he'll be the guy in front of the camera with his hunter, and I'll be the guy in the background making faces... Anyway Buck is a great guy, and it's going to be a great hunt. He is a Master Guide with several decades in the business.

    Chris Batin, who writes for Outdoor Life magazine, brokered this deal and has served as a liaison between the various donors and the magazine staff. Chris is also a well-known Alaska hunting author, with several titles to his name, and the publisher of my book "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers", which can be ordered AT THIS LINK. Chris will accompany us on this hunt, and will be doing some writing and photography. I also hope to tap his expertise in getting our hunter onto some char and grayling along the way.

    Congratulations to Brandon Steele, of Newport, Virginia, for successfully winning this hunt! I have spoken to Brandon on the phone and we've traded emails, and he sounds like a great guy. We're sure to have a great time in the field together.

    So... keep tuned in and I'll report back when we return. I don't know when the article / video material will run, but I'll try to post a link when one is available.

    Best of luck to all on your remaining fall adventures!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  2. #2

    Default

    Michael:

    Congrats, on hosting the trip. What a great opportunity for your company. Wish I lived closer, I would volunteer to be your cookee. How many people expected to go? You must have a great team to pull it all togather in such a short time.


    GaryD.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default The crew

    Thanks for the kind words, Gary.

    Well, we have one hunter and a support staff in the field of six people. Two raft wranglers / cooks, one guide, a hunter, a photographer, a writer, and a videographer. One of our biggest challenges will be scent management with this large of a group. We will have to camp well away from the hunting area and let them walk in.

    On the other hand, it will be a very comfortable hunt. I'm looking forward to it.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  4. #4
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Now that you're gonna be world famous you're gonna need a bigger space for your avatar...I don't know if you'll be able to fit your head in that tiny box anymore

    Congrats Mike.

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Now that you're gonna be world famous you're gonna need a bigger space for your avatar...I don't know if you'll be able to fit your head in that tiny box anymore

    Congrats Mike.
    Thanks Eric,

    If I thought it was "all about me" I would have taken the hunt myself and ended up in front of the camera instead of behind the scenes! No, I am helping my friend and I hope it works out for him. At the same time it will draw attention to my hunt consultation service, which is the direction I am going at the present.

    I don't want to be famous, just good at what I do.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  6. #6
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Congratulations Mike

    That says it all, I definitely will both read the article and see the video.

  7. #7
    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Default Here here

    If you need any help with those pesky waterfowl. I have deeks will travel.
    What a great opportunity. Thats right up there with being picked to run for VP

  8. #8
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    Default

    where can I find more info on the " consultation " section of your business being a handicapped (thx to Iraq) hunter I could sure use some resources here in Alaska.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Consultation services

    Quote Originally Posted by ret25yo View Post
    where can I find more info on the " consultation " section of your business being a handicapped (thx to Iraq) hunter I could sure use some resources here in Alaska.
    Just click on my website link below my signature line and then go to the "Services" page.

    BTW, thanks for your service over there. Keep a sharp eye and come back to us safe.

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default I'm such a sensitive guy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Thanks Eric,

    If I thought it was "all about me" I would have taken the hunt myself and ended up in front of the camera instead of behind the scenes! No, I am helping my friend and I hope it works out for him. At the same time it will draw attention to my hunt consultation service, which is the direction I am going at the present.

    I don't want to be famous, just good at what I do.

    -Mike
    Hi Eric,

    Sorry for being so reactionary. Skin is a little thin right now; lots going on off-forum.

    Take care-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Update on Outdoor Life hunt

    Well, typical fall brown bear hunt so far. Weather is down so we cooled our jets yesterday and are on hold this morning. I hope we get out today.

    I will keep you posted, and will try to post pics when we get back.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  12. #12
    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Default

    I am excited to see how things progress. I like your work. Keep us posted.

  13. #13
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default good luck

    I can't wait to hear how things go with some of the members of your party.

  14. #14
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    Default I know you are not back for two days

    But wanted to bump to the top. Hope all went well and waiting for the story.

    Thanks for the help with the adak trip. Went well, sent an email to you with pics

  15. #15

    Default Thanks for lending the expertise...

    A big "thank you" to Mike Strahan for the effort it took to write the book entitled Float Hunting Alaska's Rivers...I'm currently in the middle of a very enjoyable read on his work. I find the book to be thorough, well written, with much advise on the details, particularly managing the devil within those details. If the book is any reflection of Strahan's ability as outfitter he'd be a "go to guy" if/when I pull the trigger on an Alaska hunt.

  16. #16
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Back?

    They were suppose to come out Sunday. Hopefully they were successful and did. I had talked with Mike and they didn't get out on time due to weather so they may have stayed longer. I can't wait to hear the story of a group of 7 on the river.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Back in the saddle-

    Well, our hunter and the Outdoor Life crew returned from the field on Saturday and Tracey Harmon and I got back to Anchorage yesterday. Buck Bowden (he was guiding the hunter) will return on Wednesday. He remained behind to close up the lodge for the season.

    Brandon Steele, the lucky winner of the Outdoor Life Grand Slam Alaska hunt, was a pure joy to have in the field. He was very appreciative of winning this hunt, and it showed in many ways.

    The photo crew did a great job, and everyone chipped in to help along the way as needed. Josh Schull, on contract with RealTree for this hunt, was our videographer. We kept him busy, let me tell you! He's a young guy with extensive hunting and video experience. He told me that he usually does the Brittingham's stuff for them, and seems well connected in the business. His most recent hunt before ours was a trip to South Africa. I'm very interested to see how he reduces close to 20 hours of raw footage to six or seven minutes online. Our photographer was Sara Mayti, Assistant Photo Editor for Outdoor Life Magazine. This was her first trip to Alaska, and though she's young and relatively new to the hunting scene, she was a real trooper and held her own against a camp full of guides and rough outdoor folk. We never had to carry her load. She did a great job.

    Chris Batin was the writer for the hunt, and never strayed far from a note pad and pen. I'm very excited to see how the article turns out, which I think is slated for the February - March issue of Outdoor Life. Should be interesting.

    Mike "Buck" Bowden, owner of Hidden Alaska Guides & Outfitters, was the guide I selected for this hunt. I've known him for many years, and he's the guy who got me into guiding many years ago. He's got a great area over there, and did a fine job with Brandon. He's a Master Guide with over 30 years in the business.

    Tracey Harmon, of Alaska Raft and Kayak, came along with the boats that were donated by ARK for the trip. He was my right-hand man in handling the boats and all camp chores, even lending a hand in the cooking! Without his help, I would be one whipped pup.

    My company, the Lost Creek Company, handled all the planning and logistics for this hunt, from hotel arrangements for the OL crew and our hunter, to species selection, area selection, guide selection, air charter, boat rentals, and over-the-phone consultation with the hunter. I provided detailed gear lists for all the staff and the hunter, and also supplied all the community gear except boats, took care of getting it all moved from Anchorage to the field and back, camp setup, meal planning and preparation in the field, and the thousands of other details necessary on a hunt of this scale.

    SPONSORS

    The sponsors for the hunt were:

    RealTree camo (clothing)
    Rivers West clothing (outerwear)
    Remington (rifle and shotgun, ammunition)
    Nikon (optics)
    LaCrosse (hip boots)
    Alaska Hunter Publications (writing / OL-Lost Creek liaison)
    Hidden Alaska Guides and Outfitters (guide / lodge)
    Alaska Raft and Kayak (raft gear, field support)
    Lost Creek Company (hunt planning / logistics, field support)

    THE HUNT

    We got off to a stumbling start, losing the first two days to bad weather. We finally got out to the field, but it took two days to move us all to the drop zone. When it became clear that we would not all fly the same day, I selected the hunter, guide, writer, videographer and photographer for immediate transport, so they could hunt the next day. Tracey and I followed the next day with the remainder of the gear and rafts.

    The first hunt day started off with a literal bang. Brandon shot a nice bull caribou right off the strip! We back-hauled the meat and cape on one of our gear loads, and had Jon Stram haul it to Indian Valley Meats for processing. The cape went to Alpha Fur Dressers for prep and shipping to Brandon's Taxidermist.

    The next days were spent hunting and floating the river. I'd been in there two weeks prior, but in the time since, several trees had fallen and were bridging the main channel. So the chainsaw got a workout. I think we had to cut four or five rather large cottonwoods that were bridging the river in various places. Note to Tom Boehm: the area we had so much trouble was pretty clear, but we had to line up and ship our oars and just go for it. It was low and really narrow. Tracey and I walked it out first to make sure it was clear, then we went through one boat at a time. But upstream of that place we had a large cottonwood that had fallen across and we had to cut it out. Buck forgot his Leica binocular there and he had to walk back up and get it the next day.

    We saw lots of fresh bear tracks on the river, but only one brown bear in the river corridor. He was small and we passed him up. We saw many bears up high, but almost all of them were sows with cubs, both black and brown bears. I did not keep count. In fact, I didn't even journal this hunt because I was too busy with camp chores.

    We had a great time fishing for silvers, and Chris Batin gave Brandon a lesson in fly fishing. I was amazed. Chris had a streamer pattern that the silvers just could not leave alone! Brandon and the photo crew all caught their first silvers out of a pool that must have held fifty or more.

    Though we saw lots of tracks, we just were not seeing bears on the river like we thought we would. The crew took off on a morning hunt one day and when they returned I asked Brandon how the hunt went. He said that they hadn't seen a bear or gotten a shot. But I persisted, asking him if he saw the mergansers that flew by, or if they saw any salmon in the river. Did they see fresh bear tracks? Did they get to sit on stand for a while? What did it feel like-- the anticipation of not knowing if a bear would show or not? What did the morning feel like? Was the wind right? Was everyone quiet? Did they get any good photos? How was the hunt? He understood and smiled, saying "Mike, it was a great hunt". He got it.

    We arrived at the trailhead to the lodge without having had a shot at a bear, and I think all of us were feeling a bit down about that. Where were the bears? We spent the night up at Buck's lodge, and it felt great to take a sauna and relax up there. The next morning the whole crew minus Tracey and I headed up the hill to spike camp, where they would use the remaining time to hunt bear up high. They returned late the next day, all smiles. Brandon had taken a nice brown bear sow that morning! The hillside where they took the bear had seven bears on it- both brown bears and blackies! At the time Brandon shot, they thought they were also going to shoot a black bear that was in gun range, but the blackie took off and they did not have that opportunity. No matter; Brandon was ecstatic!

    So we ended the hunt on a very positive note, and had some time to relax in the lodge before the plane came in and collected our hunter and the OL crew.

    Hats off to everyone involved in this! It was a very interesting adventure in many respects. Though I have hunted with large groups before, this was the first time I had been on a hunt with seven people and only one of them hunting. The river portion was challenging because we had so many folks making noise and contributing to the scent issue. This forced our guide to walk farther from camp to hunt, and was probably the reason we did not see many bears on the river. Many of the tracks we saw were since the last rain, or in some cases from that very morning. I think the bears were going nocturnal on us or just avoiding our scent pool.

    All in all it was a great hunt, and a wonderful time afield.

    The video and photos will be posted AT THIS LINK on Outdoor Life's website at some point in the future. I don't have the schedule, but will try to update this thread when I have the info.

    More later as I have time. Right now I have a lot of post-hunt issues to take care of.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  18. #18
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    LOL Great write up Mike i can't wait to see the article in print. i know your feeling of the large group though... i am chief cook, guide, bottle washer, and hand holder when i haul 5 of my kids along with me for their hunting forays.... It can be a daunting task when you want it all to work just right. the best part though is that it is FUN work to do.

    thanks for the story

    Vince
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  19. #19
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Congrats

    Sounds like you pulled together and had a great hunt. Brandon surely did experience a hunt of a life time and harvested some great trophies to boot. I'm sure that everyone involved deserves a big pat on the back for pulling off a very challanging hunt. I'm sure that we all can't wait to see the videos and pictures of the hunt. You deserve a job well done Mike. I'm sure that your attention to detail was a major factor and key to the success of Brandon's. I will say that if anyone is looking for help in planning their alaskan adventure you services at http://www.alaskafloathunting.com/ would be a must.

  20. #20
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Photos are posted!

    Hi folks,

    I just posted some pics of the Outdoor Life hunt, for those interested. I just realized that we have album space in our profiles here! Sheesh! And I'm supposed to know something about this website...

    Anyway, I will post more on my website later, but for now, HERE ARE A FEW to look at.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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