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Thread: Kodiak Winter Hunt

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak Winter Hunt

    Late in the hunting year, mostly missed it actually, I was Thankful for the chance to do some hunting on Kodiak in January. Really needing some freezer stock for family of four, two growing boys. I found the Caribou/Reindeer hunt open til Jan31 so, having asked around mostly on this forum for tips and advice I was confident enough to throw off the lines and go for it. I fueled up the Halibut boat, grabbed my new .270WSM and waited for weather, in January it requires patience.... eight days before I could leave for the other end of the island, but I did get some nice traveling weather for the ride down


    Gorgeous Traveling on past Old Harbor, though the forecast was for heavy Northwest weather, I had hopes to get anchored in Bumble Bay before the wind started to sweep down the south end, hunt for a few days glassing for Caribou, and figure out when to get home later...

    It was an eighteen hour run from town, down the southeast side, around Cape Trinity, and back up to Bumble Bay where I felt the best chances to find Caribou in winter so I drove well into the night, actually all night.

    Wanted to show this pic also of electronics for those interested in the quality of charting available to your laptop. My computer has a fairly basic Nobeltec system ($500 or so) linked to a basic GPS unit (Furuno GP32) and is very detailed, for hunters it includes Topo maps and even Aerial Photos at the click of a mouse. Available to anyone packing a laptop on board and as you can if you look really close, you'll see my vessel and tracking line I am traveling through the Geese Channel south of the Aliulik Peninsula as the evening recedes to "Flying by Wire."

    I slide into Bumble Bay just as the weather is jumping the gun about twelve hours ahead of the forecast and starts to blow and snow. I am protected though so not too worried, except for the possibility of NW wind sticking around which will pin me to that bay for as long as it blows and maybe even curl around into the bay some (as it is doing a bit on the beach here) making my stay a tough one.
    While checking on all the regs for the Caribou hunt at ADFG in Kodiak one of the ladies there mentioned that there was also a Subsistence hunt for Blacktail Deer available to Kodiak folks on the Wildlife Refuge until Jan 31 so that was a cool surprise to me and a good backup plan to a notoriously "Wandering Caribou Herd." As it turned out the rapidly building weather had visibility near zero with blowing snow and my chances of "glassing something up" were absolutely remote.
    I took the Zodiac to the beach anyway and within a short time found a nice Blacktail hiding from the wind on the lee side of the mountain.

  2. #2
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Blacktail on the Mtn !!


    I was near hyperventilating from the climbing when I saw him and took a shot that in hindsight felt high but through the scope I saw him drop immediately and lowering the rifle I watched him tumble about 200 ft. down a steep slope and out of sight into a small canyon. Trying to stay cool I waited, had a round chambered, but was confident the hunt was over. Thank God, Feeling Good....
    Looking up after picking up the shell casing, I was totally shocked to see the Deer back up out of the canyon and calmly walking up the hill as if he had not even been hit at all !! So I sat down again to get a calm shot off, still breathing fairly heavy and as he was walking slowly I had a good broadside shot and took it, he immediately dropped and again tumbled another couple hundred feet down the grassy, snow covered mountain and into a steep sided canyon. Wow, what happened there? Climbing up I found him with a perfect vitals wound but also a shot that just took the best of the backstrap off and I suppose knocked him for a fall but missed the spine by a 1/4inch or so? The high shot I thought it was. Only a 150 yard shot but steeply uphill and in high wind and snow, no excuses but reality, it is hard to get ready for shots like that at the range.

    A beautiful Blacktail Buck, recently shed Antlers but lots of fat on his back, having a good winter. Good sign for the herds on Kodiak.

    Spent some time taking care of this fine animal and moving him out of that canyon and down to the beach for ease of field dressing and walking down to my skiff to drop my pack I noticed movement on the beach, actually like a bright red beacon running down the beach right towards us, the deer and I, it was a beautiful Red Fox seemingly honing in on a potential Free Meal. I shouldered the rifle again for a very nice fur pelt and took a shot at 32 yds.
    This is exactly where he fell, not posed at all, snugged up against the Buck laying against a rock.


    This was a Complete Hunt for me and I had plenty to do getting the Deer Dressed and out to the boat so I never had another thought about pursuing Caribou.
    Sorry for you Reindeer/Caribou on Kodiak posters, I'm going back next fall to find them though.
    I had that rapidly building weather sitting heavy on my shoulders as I worked and having lost a boat (along with my two best rifles, argghh) to a wind storm off the AK Peninsula only a couple yrs back I am a little leary of pushing the weather, or is it a little wiser, at great expense.
    So I pushed the heavily loaded Zodiac out into a building surf on that beach there and got to the boat, pulled everything aboard and jerked the anchor as quick as I could.
    Heading down the west side in what turned out to be a pretty hairy run down past Alitak that very afternoon

    Weather never photos as it really is, Probably got myself into ten footers for six hours before rounding Cape Trinity and back into the protection of the Island, Whewwwww

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Ohh so nice on the Lee Shore!!

    I ran my little 38ft longliner, the Radiance, late into the night to find a nice spot to rest and anchored along the south shore of the Aliulik peninsula.
    Woke the next morning in a flat calm anchorage, but look at the wind on the surface of the bay. Glad To Be Here, Thank God, Some More, Big Time

    I did do a lot of glassing around that area on both ends of the trip but nothing in the way of Caribou, several Blacktails, and one real nice sighting at close range of a Nice looking Brown Bear strolling along the ocean cliffs, even sat down and looked out at me for a while as if saying, Nice evening for a walk, eh? Awesome creation those animals are, always a gift to see one, sorry no picture.

    Traveling back I was so happy to have left when I did as the ride was real nice but looking up at the mtn behind Old Harbor I was easily reminded what January weather is like as the wind rips the snow off the "Top of Kodiak" Those are the highest mtns on the island, and it was "Smokin' up there"

  4. #4
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Good to be home

    After a week of classic weather for hanging Venison out in the shop, between 33and 38 degrees, this Bald Eagle apparently did not think I had trimmed the carcass well enough so is enjoying a well seasoned few scraps from the back of my truck, Can you see him in there,

    A Kodiak thing for sure, and my little one is enthralled by the scene from my office window.

    Maybe the best part of the entire hunt was the look on the boys faces when they saw a Fox close up and reached out to admire the fur. And my wife later told me they had the time of their lives feeding meat into the grinder for Venison burger. For our little family, the opportunity to hunt and fill our freezer with the highest quality meat available is the BEST !!

    Those boys are real Carnivores, it's just in 'em as a generational thing. Can't wait til they can bait and haul the Halibut hooks and help find the Deer in the woods and Seas of this Amazingly Rich Island, Kodiak

  5. #5
    Member HuntNBgame's Avatar
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    Default

    That was quite the edventure for a late season hunt. Great pic's. Neat seeing the Eagle in the back of the truck. Never saw the frist one when I was in AK. Thanks for sharing.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    Member B&C 04's Avatar
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    Congrads on the successful adventure! Really enjoyed the story and pics. Hope to be over there sometime this year for a deer hunt of our own...

  7. #7
    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    Default Bumble Bay

    Way to go! I've been exactly where you were, was walking down the beach in September 2 years ago and ran across 2 bears at that point. Made a quick back peddle about 200 yards and found the trail going back up the cliff. I did not see Caribou in September there, too early. But they may have been around there in January if you climb the cliffs thru that trail and go another 1/2 mile where you can see the entire valley. PM me if you need further info.
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  8. #8
    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    Default Bears

    Here those bears, well one of them that saw me and started to walk quickly right toward me thinking I was dinner...LOL
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  9. #9
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Now that sounds like an adventure! Glad you had a successful hunt and managed to avoid the majority of the storm.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Very well done, I really enjoyed reading about your hunt. No fun fighting bad weather, but an awesome way to breakup the winter.

    Steve

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the write up and photo's, sounds like a fun trip. Hopefully next go'round you'll get better weather and find the 'bou.

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Excellent write-up and photos. Thank you for sharing! I particularly like that you ended with a couple of shots of your son, as that is just as much a part of the hunt as the actual stalk and shot itself. Nicely done.

  13. #13

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    Great Post, Cool pic's. Thanks.. Ken

  14. #14
    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report and pics!

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    Default Thanks

    Great post thanks for sharing.

  16. #16

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    Great report and pics......
    BONEYARDBAITS THE BEST HALIBUT, ROCKFISH GRUBS ON THE PLANET....''06'' WORLD RECORD LINGCOD ''08'' HOMER HALIBUT DERBY WINNER''. BOTH FISH CAUGHT WITH BONEYARDBAIT GRUBS WWW.BONEYARDBAITS.COM

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default nice

    What wonderful pictures and story. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.. Congrats

  18. #18
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Smile

    Very nice write upand with pictures is always a plus .
    Thanks

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  19. #19
    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    Way cool,great pictures....
    I ♥ Big Sheep

  20. #20
    Member AAA's Avatar
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    Default

    Got to love the cold wet Kodiak winter!

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