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Thread: Advice for lower 48 visitors

  1. #1

    Default Advice for lower 48 visitors

    Folks,

    In the next two months, I will be talking to Midwestern hunters and fishermen about your state. Before I do, I would love to hear some of your thoughts on what visitors to the Alaskan wilderness need to know.

    This week I'll be covering the Archery Trade show in Indianapolis for ESPN.com. I'll be meeting with shop owners and manufacturers from around the country. Many want to talk to me about the past seven years I spent hunting alone in your state.

    On January 20, I'll be on stage every day at the Chicago outdoor show doing a presentation called: Alone in Alaska: solo hunting fishing and surviving the last frontier. I'll then do the same show at the February Indianapolis show. Between the two shows, there could easily be 500,000 sportsmen and women through the doors. I'll also have a booth at both shows, selling my Alaska hunt planning calendar and giving folks honest advice about your great state.

    Though I never use guides or outfitters anywhere, I am not opposed to folks using them. In fact, I hope to help some hunters realize they need to hire a guide versus hunting alone, as I do.

    BTW, my father was an Alaska hunting guide in the 1950's for the US Air Force. Really. That was his designated job back then! He was stationed for many years near King Salmon, and used to take brass hunting in what is now Katmai.

    I have a lot to tell Midwesterners about Alaska over the next two months, but know you guys will probably think of important stuff I missed. Anyone have any critical tips I need to make sure I pass along?

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon.com

  2. #2
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    I think the single most critical issue is the weather.

    Flying into and out of remote locations is nothing at all like driving over to Big Bills Buffalo Ranch. Frequently hunters/fishermen do not travel on their schedule. They have to have time to miss a few days on either side.

    Clothing - waterproof gear, and layered uppers.

    I'd like them to buy as much locally as they can... cause that's what good neighbors do.


    Finally, if they can't carry out their trash, encourage them to hunt/fish in Mexico. I think that is acceptable there.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Besides what Soggy said, there are not killer bears behind every tree, honest. Moose are not domesticated animals and can be dangerous so don't try to pet them. (I've seen people try). We do not live in igloos.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    Besides what Soggy said, there are not killer bears behind every tree, honest. Moose are not domesticated animals and can be dangerous so don't try to pet them. (I've seen people try). We do not live in igloos.

    wellllll; I have seen dillrods try to pet the bears too... GRis Adams made a huge impression for awhile..

    most importantly tell them that if they can not afford to visit.... Just send us money and we will say they did...


    Really though what folks need to know about AK is what we go through to have even a small semblance of life that they do... every action to improve our transportation, natural resources or other are fought tooth and nail.. our Access tot he out doors is extremely limited, as compaired to the Lower 48... Now that is not ALWAYS a bad thing... however. we have HUndreds of communiiteds that are not conneted to the rest of the state and it can cost more to travel by Air in state then a cross country trip down south.. They in the states do not understand the Imence size fo Ak and all of it capabiilities. However. some one down south desided we should not use them???? I love hearing people in the states complain they did not get the mail at the door, and had to drive a mile or so... or that they have to pack a lunch to go 40 miles in the car.
    "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."

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    Basically what soggy said. the weather can take you down fast. most of us have seen that freak snow in the summer. they got to be prepared, especially during the hunting season.

    dont pet the critters, you would think its common sense. also dont stand next to them to that good photo, we've seen that quite abit. the critters dont like it.

    Basically common sense. this isnt the lower 48. our weather and conditions change on a dime.

  6. #6
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Tell them....
    -To come prepared. Bring high quality gear that they're confident AND familiar with, as well as broken in (can't tell you how many times I've seen non-res hunters carrying/wearing brand spankin' new boots in the airport). Also, being prepared means being in shape. With few exceptions, big game hunting in the far north means working hard everyday.

    -To do their homework...Maps, regs, animals/fish, limits restrictions

    -To erase those hunting video/TV show images out of their heads. Alaska is not the Serengheti...game is not everywhere they look.

    -Not to forget to take lots of pictures

  7. #7
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default bring a

    Satelite phone, they have several outlets in Anchorage, they can pick them up when they get in town, and drop off when they leave.
    Tell them to get on this forum and do lots of reading before asking a bunch of questions. Have them use the search on this site and just put in key words, or read the posts,,
    Do not waste meat, either fish fowl or red meat. Do not hike 5 miles from camp and shoot a moose and think you are going to haul it out in a couple of days..
    They need to know the size (weight ) of the animal, and how much labor is involved.
    Game is far less concentrated than it is in the states.
    We have had unguided people come in the past that have gotten in to trouble by shooting animals and then not being able to take care of them properly, losing meat and trying to take the antlers out with not taking all of the meat.
    Tell them that the State of Alaska fish and Game, and troopers, and federal cops are more than tough on those that fail to handle game properly and break the laws. They will go to any length to prosicute.
    These things may sound negative, but these things will help to make there trip here an experience that is grand... even if they don't get a 75 inch bull moose or a 400 bull caribou...
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  8. #8

    Default

    These are all the types of advice I was hoping to hear. Thanks for all the insight. It makes me feel good about my stage show. I touch on most of what you guys are saying here.

    I agree wholeheartedly about using local businesses for services and gear. Not only is it easier, it is the right thing to do.

    I also like the comments about the true nature of game. I have a section where I use Treadwell as an example of how to get yourself killed. I was camped alone about 20 miles from his position the day he was likely eaten.

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon.com

  9. #9

    Default Adequate gear

    For those hunters doing it on their own, a good reliable tent and sleeping bag shoud be at the top of the list, right along with a first aid kit and a sat phone. I've seen too many times where hunters bring expensive rifles and optics only to bring a $50 Wal-Mart special tent or sleeping bag. The tent will be there home while their in the wilds of Alaska and you want to be able to withstand some of the nasty weather this state can dish out.

    Also, before you pull the trigger, please make sure you are up to the task of taking care of the animal you kill. A moose is a big critter and they can be a lot of work for someone that's never taken one before. Good quality game bags and basic knowledge of game meat field care should be a pre-requisite to any hunt.

    And most of all, enjoy what this state has to offer, the land, the animals and especially the people. You never know if you'll make it back here again so savor every minute your in Alaska. I live here and savor it everyday!!

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    The downfall to purchasing your gear locally is not being able to use, test and learn how to operate it. Many transporters will rent the "Camp" but you still need to become familar with the gear. I would also add a "good" water filter to the list.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Don, the premise in general isn't good imo

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon
    On January 20, I'll be on stage every day at the Chicago outdoor show doing a presentation called: Alone in Alaska: solo hunting fishing and surviving the last frontier. I'll then do the same show at the February Indianapolis show.
    Don, please don't take this the wrong way, but the overall premise of your talk isn't something I like to see espoused. In fact, for new visitors to Alaska who want to head out hunting and fishing in the backcountry, telling them to do it alone is imo foolhardy. It's a recipe for disaster somewhere with someone, guaranteed.

    Furthermore, being completely 100% up-front and honest, I'm not fond of non-Alaskans telling other non-Alaskans how to survive in Alaska alone, selling this kind of idea to lower-48 audiences. Hey, I like your overall philosophy of doing things the old-fashioned way, fair chase and all, you must know that cuz we're of the same mind on that score, but this is just too much "pimping" for my tastes really that borders on promoting something inherently foolhardy.

    "No guides, no atvs, no outfitters, no pack animals...," I don't know that is the kind of message I'd be sending to newbie DIY hunters to Alaska really. But I DO KNOW one message for sure I would NEVER send to folks who've never been here before, and that is to go out alone on a DIY hunt in the Alaska wilderness.
    Sincerely,

  12. #12

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon View Post
    Anyone have any critical tips I need to make sure I pass along?

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon.com
    Tell them don't drink the water. (Beaver Fever is a very real threat to some with a weak stomach.) Without purifying it first.

    And...tell them to PM me here, if they want help in disposing of any meat and gear that they find too expensive to ship home.
    SP
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    And...tell them to PM me here, if they want help in disposing of any meat and gear that they find too expensive to ship home.
    SP
    dangit... wish I'd have thought of that.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Bushrat summed up my thoughts pretty well. I don't give talks on the subject of desert survival because I don't live in the desert. If you don't already know exactly what your are going to say because it has worked repeatedly for you time and time again, you may not want to give the talk.

    The only thing worse than no information is bad information.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

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    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  15. #15
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    The only thing worse than no information is bad information.
    I once followed bad information to a "lake where the grayling were so thick you could walk across them."

    I didn't mind being lost nearly as much as the guy I was with did.

    Our friendly discourse eroded when I asked, "Are you lost?"

    He replied "He!! no!"

    "Good, cause I am."

    Then he started cussing at me!
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

  16. #16

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    I understand those of you that are concerned I am going to tell folks to do a solo hunt in AK. As I tried to explain in my first post, part of what I want to do is help folks determine what level of help they need to conduct a hunt in AK. In very few cases would I tell hunters to go it alone just because I do. I even asked a guide friend in AK for some of his brochures to give people who need that level of help.

    Am I qualified to give the speech? Surely, many of you have a lot more time in the Alaskan wilderness than me, but I'm the only guy available here in the Midwest. And folks here want to hear about hunting in AK.

    So, does seven years of solo hunts from the Arctic Ocean to the Aleutians qualify me? I think so. In fact, Alaska isn't my only experience with survival and solo trips. Just the latest.

    I have driven the Pan American Highway from South America to the United States, hunted every state the Rockies course through, and have spent countless hours in the everglades and Canadian boreal forest.

    I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, but the Alaskan wilderness is not the toughest or most dangerous place I have been. The heart of Idaho's Selway is as rugged as anywhere on this continent, and the Nicaraguan jungle is a very scary place.

    This is not to minimize the dangers and glory of hunting AK - or the real need to be completely prepared for any outing there. I appreciate the tips about gear and handling game. All stuff folks need to understand before booking a trip.

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon.com

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    Too bad we don't have a way to bill the folks that our S&R people will have to go and get as a result of information that may not be current or correct. I have a real problem with the "experts" who live outside of Alaska telling others who live outside all the straight dope about Alaska.

    I just hope no one gets hurt.

  18. #18

    Arrow Being a resident of Alaska don't mean a thing....

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon View Post
    ..... As I tried to explain in my first post, part of what I want to do is help folks determine what level of help they need to conduct a hunt in AK. In very few cases would I tell hunters to go it alone just because I do.........folks here want to hear about hunting in AK.....don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, but the Alaskan wilderness is not the toughest or most dangerous place.......the real need to be completely prepared for any outing.....
    I thought I read ya right in the original post. Your second post too. I thought the first 8 members were doing fine at offering or attempting to be friendly and helpful too.

    The only thing I would add to would maybe some-kind of talking points about the 'rights' of flyers. Flying in and out of the bush is probably the most dangerous part of anybody's wilderness expierience.

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon View Post
    So, does seven years of solo hunts from the Arctic Ocean to the Aleutians qualify me?Am I qualified to give the speech? I think so.
    Yep; I think so too.

    I don't see the difference between what you are doing giving those talks at a trade show than what happens on this web site....except you are not giving your presentations anonymously.

    For the State to pretend there is some kind of qualifier....like living here a year makes anyone more capable or more prepared than someone who catches a flight from America is silly....maybe for perspective you should tell your audiance how stupid and foolhardy that is?

    Ohhh....and while your at it maybe you could do some kind of internet search and compare how many "SEARCH and RESCUE" missions have been performed for "residents" who are of course qualified to be out doors in Alaska and NON-residents......I am betting more money and time has been spent looking for and rescuing "experts"....I mean 'residents'...than non-reseee's.

    Good luck with your presentations.

    Pitty the fool who doesn't have the good sense to know there own limits and may God protect us the thought police.


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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Don, apologies if I came across too harsh in other post. Isn't personal.

    Here's the deal: I just read your piece on your site on your first Alaska caribou hunt: http://www.outdoorswithdon.com/artic...skaCaribou.pdf

    Now I imagine this is one of the seven hunts you've done in Alaska, this one comprising a total of one week spent alone out on the tundra after being dropped off by a bush plane ahead of migrating herd. So the truth likely is you really don't have "seven years" of experience hunting in Alaska, rather you did seven hunts up here? Does that qualify you to give a presentation titled "Alone in Alaska: solo hunting fishing and surviving the last frontier"?

    I'm not sure. But what frankly irks me about it is the spin...you implying seven years as opposed to seven hunts, and that somehow your experience for a week on a dropoff hunt in one place somehow makes you an expert on that place and how to survive there.

    I hope you can respect that viewpoint.
    Sincerely,

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    I don't doubt that Don is a very capable individual - much like the guy on "Surviverman" - who can safely and consistantly do what a lot of the rest of us can't. Solo hunts scare the heck out of me. I have been involved in several incidents where having at least one other person was the difference between a life threatening situation or one you could laugh about around the fire on the next trip.

    Yes there are a lot of idiots who are Alaskans. We get in a lot of trouble and have to be rescued but I don't think anyone should be encouraging people without Don's training and abilities to try and do what he does. Kinda like taking a kid out of boot camp and asking them to perform like a SEAL or Delta Force dude.

    I respect Don and his experience, I just don't think too many people are capable of emulating his adventures.

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