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Thread: This just may save your hunt, and your life.

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up This just may save your hunt, and your life.

    Partner bailed 6 days before our Zachar Kodiak goat hunt in Sept. I went solo. First time to Kodiak. Studied the map; called a bunch of people, selected Andrews Air Service for drop off (14 days). Place I first selected (by map) had hunters there and like a good drop off service, they didn't want to drop me on top of others. We talked about some other places to be dropped off. I already had my mind made up to get dropped in the salt and hike up.

    Flew over the area; very cloudy; didn't see much, but did see some goats a long ways away (in my area). I got tons of time and equal determination. I agreed to be dropped off there.

    Topo map showed no water source up there, but I always find water that's not on the maps. I didn't sweat it. Loaded with 2.5 liters, hiked up the mountain bushwacking through alder hell, raspberry hell and grass hell. Worse bushwacking I've ever done...ever. I got 700 feet in elevation (half way to the tundra) and ran out of water at 1600 hrs. Made the painful decision to climb back down through the conquered hell to the salmon stream full of fish and bears just to get water and regroup/rethink things.

    Before critics chime in.... This decision was thought out. I didn't want to get to 1500 feet dehydrated, electrolyte depleated, tachycardic with no promise of water anywhere close and have to make the trip down the next day with cramping muscles and a 65 lb pack to my back. I made the demoralizing 700 foot descent back to the salt. I hydrated, slept with my bear fence around me, counted numerous bears with in 200 yards of my tent, and waited for a miracle....even considered calling Andrews Air for a new drop off point (expensive$$$$).

    I awoke to rain. It looked socked in. I laid in my cat's meow looking at the top of my rainfly collecting water...drinkable water. I had at 10.5 X8.5 tarp that I purchased at Wiggy's from Marc on his recommendation. Thank you Marc, you may have saved my hunt.

    I knew that if I could climb quickly through alder hell, and set up the tarp while it was still raining, I could survive and collect all the drinkable water I needed.

    I did exactly that. Got up above alder level, set up the tarp before the tent, even in a misting rain, it collected water....lots of water. That's not why I took the tarp, but it worked perfectly.

    It saved my hunt. I shot a 9.5 inch billy that evening and hiked out the next day...after drinking from my water reservoir (which was 12 inches deep with pure rain water. I had enough water to last me many days if I needed.

    My recommendation to everyone is to pack a water tight tarp, light weight piece of plastic, or something like it. I will never go to the mountains without one, now. The hunt was great.

  2. #2
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    Default My tarp collecting water

    Set it up with rocks anchoring the corners.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Default awesome

    Awesome story! Glad you could manuever on the fly and make it work. AND be successful!! Nice looking billy too!
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

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    Default

    I can't think of a time I was out in SW AK where there wasn't some water to drink....but I DO remember times that I've forgotten my water filter...or it failed.


    Good tip...some may think it kinda obvious but still one to file away.

  5. #5
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    Way to go! You took pause, thought things through and made some great decisions. Making wrong decisions in situations like that can get a guy in bad trouble. It paid off for you. Great story, lessons learned and a goat to boot!!

    Making the decision to turn back was probably a hard one but one that may have saved your hunt, not mention your life. Exhaustion, dehydration, etc. can lead to poor decision making and big trouble. It's usually several small bad decisions that add up and end up getting us in big trouble. Again, nice job!

  6. #6
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default good thinking

    good plan, and a nice goat...
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  7. #7
    Member BIGAKSTUFF's Avatar
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    I've always been interested in hunting goat, don't believe i've ever even tasted one. How did you get him off the hill? Did you have to haul him back to the drop off point? Neat story and congrats.
    The Second Amendment.......Know it, love it, support it.

  8. #8
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    C&B,

    Awesome story and a great adventure! congrats on the Billy, this story should be in Field and streams, "this happened to me" ....

    Did the Zachar last year...and yes that place is a little Eerie!!!!

    Solo is the ultimate fun isn't it?

  9. #9
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    Great story!!! I did something similar in the brooks this August, super dry, thankfully it started to rain...

    What happened to the neck on that nice billy? Looks like he is rubbed raw from the pic...

  10. #10
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Water

    I did a successful solo goat hunt this year too. Congrats on your success.
    This past week I did a solo alpine Blacktail hunt on Baranof Island that was successful. In fact I just enjoyed a great steak from that butterball buck.

    Running solo is an endeavor many will not undertake. You have to really exercise a level of strength, intellegence, and agility many choose not to experience. Also it's a risk most everyone warns against. With practice you learn how to be honest with yourself and face your weaknesses and own them, either finding a way to deal or failing in a place where failure is not an option. With experience you learn tricks like how to collect water with a silitarp.

    I like to use my silitarp to set up as a quick shelter while I'm processing game. Here in SE AK drinking water is not an issue. I do bring it though. At 1.2 pounds its light insurance. I like to think of "what if" situations. My thoughts have always been around a late evening slide with a broken ankle, waiting after an emergency call through a downpour for hours on end. A quick waterproof shelter is important!

    I hate when partners backout. It's good to know you've got the basic skillset to undertake a successful mt. hunt. I have to say......14 days is a long stretch solo. I get lonely after about 6 and want to see my kids.

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    is that a sil tarp? May I ask how much it cost? That may not be a bad idea for me to haul out on my goat hunt next month.

  12. #12
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    Congratulations on a great goat and especially thinking through things and coming up witha very workable solution. I have never been anywhere in Alaska that didn't have a water source but then I never thought about those alser slopes on Kodiak (of anywhere else). I always carry a piece of plastic but now I'll make sure it doesn't have holes in it.

  13. #13
    Member Jason in Anchorage's Avatar
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    Default congrats

    congrats eric...man, you got that one done quick! Very cool stuff.
    Psalm 18:34
    He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

  14. #14
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    Default Always water

    There's always water if you know where to look. I've hunted Kodiak since 1982 and have never carried water. It's from top to bottom on that rock, rain or shine.

  15. #15

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    How far did that goat fall? Yes Kodiak is usually pretty wet. I use the same trick sheep hunting, but with BLACK plastic & throw snow on it before I roll out for the day. Congrads on the nice billy.

  16. #16
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Great post! You never know what you will need a light weight tarp for on a hunt and I am happy to hear that it may have saved it. Congrats on your goat! Do you have an album of your hunt this year on your profile? We'd enjoy seeing more pictures.
    Lurker.

  17. #17
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    Default

    Great story and way to think on your feet.

  18. #18
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sockeye1 View Post
    Great story!!! I did something similar in the brooks this August, super dry, thankfully it started to rain...

    What happened to the neck on that nice billy? Looks like he is rubbed raw from the pic...
    Kodiak Billies are unpredictable when it comes to their hides, Thats why I prefer to hunt late in the season, usually in October, I was told from many that it doesn't matter when you hunt there because their hides are always in good condition, but I never bought off on that.

    Looks like a late season rub to me. considering the warm weather we had this summer.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    Kodiak Billies are unpredictable when it comes to their hides, Thats why I prefer to hunt late in the season, usually in October, I was told from many that it doesn't matter when you hunt there because their hides are always in good condition, but I never bought off on that.

    Looks like a late season rub to me. considering the warm weather we had this summer.
    I would agree on the rub, unfortunate because their hair is their best attribute...great trophy, especially doing it solo.

    I've only killed 2 goats. My first was in August on Kodiak. He was a 9.5" billy but he looked like a poodle, no rubs but definitely short haired (I had to go then due to work). My second was killed in the Chugach in early October. What a difference in hair length. Hard to realize until you've seen the difference.

    Anyway, C&B, awesome solo story, and I agree with BH, 14 days is crazy long to be by yourself...but if you count the bears I suppose you had plenty of company.

  20. #20

    Default Congratulations

    Eric,

    Great job and more importantly, great job thinking it through, 4 years ago--I think, I had my wife drop me off at a place where a friend told me to hike up and over a mountain, hit a river and go up it to find sheep, long story short--there was no trail and the river was uncrossable, I lost over 12 lbs in one day, hiked back out same day and called my wife to come pick me up, probably the only time that I ever thought I was going to die hunting solo, luckily I thought it thru, that weekend it was in the 80s and I had no water except for up top and down below--none inbetween. 30 days left in Iraq---got a deer hunt planned for W Illinois with my bow and trying to book a bear hunt for my son and I in ontario.

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