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Thread: Cold weather deer hunt

  1. #1
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Question Cold weather deer hunt

    I am heading out tomorrow or the next day for deer. We are leaving Whittier on a 24' Sea Sport, heading for the islands. (Who doesn't dream of an island vacation in the winter?) Never having done a winter boat hunt we are just going to try and survive the education.
    Does anybidy have any recent news of deer activity? I assume that they will be low on the mountain now. We are thinking of Knight or Perry, any thoughts?
    How much danger is there of freezing up the cooling system overnight? Should I set the alarm every few hours?
    Thamks now for any help!
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    Member gusuk1's Avatar
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    Default some info

    Bullbuster,as to your ?'s about cooling system,all depends on cooling type kicker,as for a out board one would want to leave motor down and in the water in freezing temps,a trick i have learned in very cold weather is to use hand warmers to wrap around carbs and block.in cold weather mornings one would want to check water pump indacator hose and free of ice.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I'd go to perry. Good luck, deer should be low with all the snow
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Freezing spray

    Looking at the forecast, I'd be more worried about freezing spray than my motor freezing up. Looks like it will calm down towards the end of the week tho. Make sure you have a good anchorage too. I think I'd head Perry or even Culross this time of year if it's your first boat hunt. Esther has a few deer too. Think protection from weather over where you'll find the most deer. And I hope you have a good anchor.

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    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Freezing the cooling system on an outboard is a very real possibility. I was out in the Sound over Thanksgiving weekend. It was cold enough to get freezing spray on the way out. (My first experience with the stuff. Not fun...) Anyway, the first morning I woke up to a frozen cooling system. I fired the motor up and there was no flow from the tell-tale. Turns out all that happened is that water had frozen in the rubber hose that runs from the block to the lower cowl. I fired up the genny and put a heater under the cowl. In just a few minutes (why I think it was just the hose) it was flowing freely and I was off and running. Keeping the foot in the water will keep the water pump from freezing, but if it was any colder I suppose it may have frozen in the powerhead.

    Good luck with the hunt. Let us know how you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod in Wasilla View Post
    Freezing the cooling system on an outboard is a very real possibility. I was out in the Sound over Thanksgiving weekend. It was cold enough to get freezing spray on the way out. (My first experience with the stuff. Not fun...) Anyway, the first morning I woke up to a frozen cooling system. I fired the motor up and there was no flow from the tell-tale. Turns out all that happened is that water had frozen in the rubber hose that runs from the block to the lower cowl. I fired up the genny and put a heater under the cowl. In just a few minutes (why I think it was just the hose) it was flowing freely and I was off and running. Keeping the foot in the water will keep the water pump from freezing, but if it was any colder I suppose it may have frozen in the powerhead.

    Good luck with the hunt. Let us know how you do.

    Rod, what heater do you have that fits under the cowling. This has been a concern of mine and I have been trying to think of a way to solve the problem before I go out.

    Thanks
    D
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  7. #7
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Default the heater...

    Well, my original post may have been a little misleading. The heater I used (this one) didn't exactly fit entirely under the cowl. I don't think any of the outboard manufacturers leave enough room under there to do that. I just popped the cowl off, pointed the heater strategically at the power head and set the cowl back on to try and retain some heat. The lid actually sat down on the heater body and was pretty crooked, but it worked. I suppose a guy could throw a blanket or a jacket over the whole works to help keep the heat in if the wind was blowing the heat away.

    There may be better heaters out there for warming a cold outboard, and if I was going to buy one just for that purpose I may try to find a slimmer unit that would fit better. But, for this particular trip I actually thought I would splurge on a heater just to take the chill off the cabin overnight. This one looked good because it's compact (I have a small boat), has two power settings that my genny could power, thermostat control, and overheat protection. The best part is it was only about $25 at the local box store.

    All-in-all, I was happy with it's performance. It warmed the sleeping berth as much as I expected it to overnight on the low setting, I used it to thaw my frozen motor, and I even bungied it to the window support and used it as a cabin heater and defogger while I was running. Not a bad boat accessory for $25. Of course, you need a generator and an extension cord for it to work. I used my Honda 2k.

    Since I told my wife how well it worked, I don't think it'll ever leave the boat...
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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    Default Hair blower

    If you've got a generator and an extension cord, a hair blower would work good too. It would be easy to direct the heat where you wanted it as far as the motor went. You could also blow out wet boots with it.

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod in Wasilla View Post
    Well, my original post may have been a little misleading. The heater I used (this one) didn't exactly fit entirely under the cowl. I don't think any of the outboard manufacturers leave enough room under there to do that. I just popped the cowl off, pointed the heater strategically at the power head and set the cowl back on to try and retain some heat. The lid actually sat down on the heater body and was pretty crooked, but it worked. I suppose a guy could throw a blanket or a jacket over the whole works to help keep the heat in if the wind was blowing the heat away.

    There may be better heaters out there for warming a cold outboard, and if I was going to buy one just for that purpose I may try to find a slimmer unit that would fit better. But, for this particular trip I actually thought I would splurge on a heater just to take the chill off the cabin overnight. This one looked good because it's compact (I have a small boat), has two power settings that my genny could power, thermostat control, and overheat protection. The best part is it was only about $25 at the local box store.

    All-in-all, I was happy with it's performance. It warmed the sleeping berth as much as I expected it to overnight on the low setting, I used it to thaw my frozen motor, and I even bungied it to the window support and used it as a cabin heater and defogger while I was running. Not a bad boat accessory for $25. Of course, you need a generator and an extension cord for it to work. I used my Honda 2k.

    Since I told my wife how well it worked, I don't think it'll ever leave the boat...
    Thanks for the info. I never thought about putting a generator on the boat. I am always trying to conserve room. Not sure where I would put it that it wouldn't get kicked all the time or get slimed! Right now using propane heater. Thanks Again

    D
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  10. #10
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMan View Post
    Thanks for the info. I never thought about putting a generator on the boat. I am always trying to conserve room. Not sure where I would put it that it wouldn't get kicked all the time or get slimed! Right now using propane heater. Thanks Again

    D
    Besides it being in the way and/or getting slimed, there's something else you need to think about when considering an onboard genny. You need to put it someplace where the exhaust vents off the boat. Carbon monoxide is heavier than air and if you're careless with placement it will collect in the lower areas. Sleeping areas are typically low in a boat. This can be a deadly combination. Strapping it to a swim step seems to be a good solution if you have one (I don't, yet. I had to get creative...). Of course, proper venting is a concern with propane or diesel heaters too. Even the "indoor safe" catalytic heaters that don't produce CO will use up the oxygen in an enclosed cabin and need a good fresh air supply.

    twodux-
    Yeah, I think a hair drier would work for thawing out the motor. But I can't bring myself to let the wife bring one abord...
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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    Default FYI on Carbon Monoxide - LIGHTER than AIR

    CO (Carbon Monoxide) is NOT heavier than AIR, its LIGHTER than AIR.

    In a Boat, higher or lower - it wont matter as it will be too late before you realize it.

    For your house, if you are putting your CO detector in the basement - it will do you NO good, you'll be dead before it even sounds off.

  12. #12
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    My mistake. CO is actually about 3% lighter than air. But it will not simply float up and away. Due to diffusion and mixing the exhaust from an onboard generator may still provide high enough concentrations of CO to be lethal. Thus, my point is still valid. It would be best to vent exhaust gasses off of the vessel.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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    Default No prob here Rob

    I was just making an observation in the event some didn't know, in fact, I didn't realize that it was lighter until about a year ago (I was one of those with the detector on the lower level). Its just a more serious problem than most realize.

    The key word is just to be careful and ROB is correct, get a CO detector on your boat if your going to be sleeping or running in a sealed cab with any kind of duct work to the engine (ie Heaters) Gensets or whatnot.

    Put the CO detector where you sleep and you'll get advance notice.

    Happy New Years

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    pm me and i will tell you where we shoot our deer on perry. on culross i have seen very few tracks. pretty much hunted out. But this time of year with all the snow they should be pretty close the beach or just in the brush. take plenty of ammo. it is legal to shoot from the boat for deer. i took some guys hunting in oct. and they saw three and shot one. and that was just only a brief hike, hunt. then the snow was over knee deep about 2/3 the way up. tracks stopped at about half way up. perry is not that tall and those deer should be beggin to be shot. Just depends on how much traffic there has been. Naked is loaded with deer. Some good anchor points there too. but just kinda out in the open as far running to it in bad weather. the weather can blow up in no time. when the seas are big is when things will go wrong. anyways if you want some info i am more than happy to tell you where to go and where not to go on perry.

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Smile No Red Snow Yet, update

    Thanks for the responses, they are a great help. When I got in tonight I even ran to AMD and picked up a little gen set.

    At best the recent weather has been iffy. With all of the small craft advisories, gale warnings, freezing spray advisories and hurricane wind warnings it is acting just like an Alaskan winter. (Thank you NOAA for the buoy data center!)

    The 2 ramps at the Whittier small boat harbor have been under 4' of snow for 3 days. Counting the storm that dumped it it has been hard to get out. There are currently 3 hunters boats frozen in that the owners had to leave. Hell, almost half of the harbor is ice covered with a layer of snow on it. Jan the harbor master has been trying to get the western ramp cleared, but as of tonight it is still under deep snow.

    The first trip to Smittys Cove was too soon after the big dump and we got stuck on flat ground. Today started out with a power outage at the tunnel. It finally opened after 10:30. The harbor was still snowed in and we spent some time there trying to get it plowed. Seems like they weren't that impressed with my $20. :0 Going over to Smittys there were 3 scuba rigs there restricting access to the left side of the ramp. In the center there was an 80' landing craft the had a collapsed trailer under it. There wasn't enough room to turn around without getting into the deep snow again.

    With the late opening and the rest of the BS we were finally ready to launch about an hour before dark. Called the harbormaster and she reported a "hurricane" was on the way so we decided to not to push a day that hadn't gone that great so far. But ****, it sure looked OK.

    Jan said that there are 3 boats hunting out of Whittier right now, all at least 58'. One is transporting only and 2 are actually hunting. The park ranger was at his boat and he had checked one of them and they had a bunch of deer taken off of Knight. (I offered to give him the day off and take his fast boat out, but he said he wasn't going out until he sees what the storm is doing)

    God willing and the snow don't rise (too much), gonna try it again tomorrow morning.

    Thanks again and I'll let you know if I get to splash the boat. (Hopefully without hitting any of the divers that find the ramp fascinating) Ok, that was harsh, I learned to dive there in '83.
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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    there a reason the call it *****tier! I hate whittier
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Weather

    As I said BB, I'd be more worried about freezing spray than anything. Wind has been horrible. Four of us are going to try to go out of Cordova today. People have been getting deer when they get out. It's the getting out that's rough. The forecast is still a bit iffy, but we're going on a pretty good boat. A few bucks even still have their headgear. A nice 3x2 was taken the morning of the day this last storm hit. The antlers looked like they were getting ready to fall off, but stayed on when the deer went down. Others said they shot deer with antlers only to have them fall off. No fat left on the bucks either, so if you're going for eaters, look for does.

    The good news is, the forecast looks good for Sunday, at least on this side of the Sound.

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    by the looks of the weather looks like you should have launched. seas layed down and are suppose to stay down until tomorrow afternoon. but who know better to be safe than sorry. i alwasy learn the hardway and that is why i put my boat up after october and never got it back out. been tempting but i always trust my gut and so she is still stayin put. sucks though with all that snow it will be a shooting fest. can almost guarantee. a kid in juneau shot two out in a village and he told his sister they were stuck in the snow. and this was around thanksgiving down there. he seen another but it was younger and able jump up and down and prance along so he couldn't shoot because he said it was too cute. plus their dad got some and it sounded like a lot people were getting them, she said it was a good year for deer. anyways good luck getting out tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fantastic (short) trip, great forum

    The last hunt of the year was a succesful one. The tunnel opened right on time, the ramp at Smittys was open and the Sea Sport ran like a champion. The water was running about a one foot chop and it was about 35į. Our plan was to run to Naked Island and take a look. By the time we got to Bush Point on Perry the weather had gone to crap. We were in a blowing sideways blizzard with about 1/4 mile visibility and ice building fast on the windward side. (Twodux was right on that one) We pulled up and that was when my hunt partner told me that his window for hunting was really closed. (We had spent the week trying to get out) If at all possible he wanted to get back the same night. He did allow that if we are seeing deer we could spend the night. We nosed around the corner looking towards Naked and found seas running about 4' with a 6 footer thrown in for fun. Nothing the boat wouldn't handle. (the dog doesn't like it, but the boat doesn't mind) It did mean slower running and made it doubtful to return the same day. I bit my lip and decided that we would hunt Perry hard.
    Akrstabout, thanks for the tips. The beaches you recommended were beautiful and we landed on 6 of them. I would nose in and drop Mike off, then back out and cruise the next beach while he checked for deer. (he only got wet once!) The weather did clear, even got beautiful. Had a king crab lunch in full sunshine while glassing the country.
    We never saw a deer. Mike saw sign behind 2 beaches, but not much of it. There seems to be a lot of grass visible and we wondered why they would come to the beach with all the grass and berry bushes visible well back into the island. Maybe they love kelp?
    Anyway there were no shots fired and no deer were harmed during our trip. Dang it anyway.
    We made the run back from Perry in about an hour. Running with the seas made it a faster smoother trip. The boat jumped on the trailer and since the tunnel was running late we even made the last opening. We stuck the boat in the shop at work and winterized it in under an hour. Mikes ol lady (who he was trying to make happy by getting back) wanted to know why we returned if we didn't get anything. That made us laugh.
    All in all it was a fantastic day. We saw a lot of new country, the boat performed great and we kicked the confidence level up a few notches for the next time.
    We do wonder if the deer circle the islands down on the beach and you just have to come across them or if they seem to hang in certain areas.

    So thanks to all the responses, they helped make it a fun trip. I always say that whenever we return and no one has been hurt and nothing damaged it was a succesful trip.
    One lesson that I learned is that just because I don't get out that day doesn't mean I have to keep putting more stuff on the boat. Now I have to unload all that stuff. Well, I might leave a lot of it on until the Homer King derby in March!
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    Default Home safe

    Glad you made it out, and glad you made it home safe. Also happy to see you enjoyed the trip without any "success". Althogh we had a very successful trip out Sunday, I've had my share of skunks and always enjoy the getting out whether we score or not.

    The thing about the Western Sound, It's not just the tunnel that keeps the deer poulation down over there. The winters are a lot tougher on that side, usually way more snow. But There has been some good hunting down on Knight towards the end of the season from what I hear. Elenore is another good hunt early in the season at least.

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