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Thread: Stories of old Alaska Characters

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Default Stories of old Alaska Characters

    I was reading this post by jdb3, and it gave me an idea for another thread.
    How about posting any stories you remember about your most "interesting" Alaska characters (living or not, real or not) that have either made you laugh with a good joke or story, or taught you something valuable about Alaska.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdb3 View Post
    I too remember Joe Zentner (just couldn't remember his name) from the 1970s. He told me that you could kill any bear alive with two rounds of OO buck. Of course, the bear had to be within 10 or 15 feet, but it would do the job. He didn't know if it really outright killed them or just weighed them down until the died. He was quite a character and was always a gentleman. Jim
    I remember a guy named "Old Dan" (don't know his last name) just out of Talketna, and I have a few stories about him I'll share also. But I wanted to get this thread going.

    So, post 'em if ya got 'em.

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    My Dad told me a story about a guy named Dan that lived just out of Talketna, and he used to do some trapping.
    He would use a .22 pistol for finishing anything in his traps, and he carried a handful of the ammo in his front pants pocket.

    Now Dan also smoked a pipe, and one day (in a Talketna cafe I believe) he reached into his pocket and filled his pipe with some tobacco.

    He lit the pipe and got it burning, when it suddenly exploded in his hands.

    "Who's shooting?" was all that he said as he looked around the resteraunt.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    When liveing in Haines I got to listen to the tape Forrest Young made about his bear attach,his wife was still post master in town then.My good friend Ralph Borders of Haines signed my copy of Outdoor life with his bear attach in it 95. I've know and talked with Katzek's Layton Bennet,Duncan Gilchrist all Haines folk. Also met one of the Craigheads there,I got to put line on his reals he had brought his grandson to Haines to fish

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    I think Haines is a great spot for finding characters Will, do you remember any of their stories? How about Wrangell, I know there's a old guy named "John" I believe that still runs around the area around Wrangell...and he has to be in his 70's or better. Seems Alaska is famous for folks staying "in shape" well into their 90's.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Ya for sure and when you work in the only sporting goods store at the time it helped. I was also prez of the sportsman association a few years there. Sure I remember lots of stories and for some I was with them.Just Layton teaching Duncan to fly would fill an afternoon. I left Haines in 95 but still have friends there. Heck they just took Layton's pilot license away at 91 so now his wife flies him around and she is pretty close to his age.

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    Default Norwegians and Remington 721

    About three years ago, my friend in SE AK, who is Norwegian, had a realitive from Norway visit him. These two old codgers both had Remington 721s, which they had used for many years. One rifle was chambered in 30-06, and the other in 300 H&H. The evening of the first day of the visit, they went about cleaning their rifles for the deer hunting planned over the next week.

    Next day they took the boat, and anchored out in a cove and took the dingy ashore for some hiking up the mountain to where the bucks hang out. The fellow with the 300 couldn't get his bolt to close on the cartridges, and after struggeling with it for a while, just left it in the boat. So, they took only the 30-06, but later dsicovered that the cartridges wouldn't extract from the chamber. Fortunately, in one of the day packs was one of those cleaning rods which thread together in segments, which they used to push the fired cases out.

    So, this went on for several days, and they shot several deer, taking turns using the 30-06 as a single shot, and pushing the spent casings out with the cleaning rod.

    I went over to visit one evening when they got back home, and admired the deer, and hoped they would share. They mentioned their delema with the two rifles, so I took a look and discovered that the 30-06 had the Magnum bolt and the 300 had the 30-06 bolt. Apparantly they accidently swapped bolts on that first night when cleaning the rifles. Putting the right bolts in the correct receiver fixed the problem of course.

    I considered it fortunate that they didn't try shooting 30-06 ammo in the 300.

    Anyway, it was amusing to me. Norwegians, they got their own ways.

    KB

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    What about Kenny Schoonover who guided for many years in the Sitka area. Some of the guys that have hunted with him said he had some amazing stories to tell. Anybody know of him?

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    Default Paul

    One of the storys old Paul Kirkseater told me was one year he bought a team of malamute dogs to use on his trapline in the 40 mile country. He had to fly out of delta I think he said to pick up the team. Then the plan was to go from the dog pickup to his trapline. So they landed and loaded up the team and off they went. Paul said it didnt take long and those dogs started to get sick! He said they were pukin and crapin all over that plane. Then they started fighting! Anyone who has ever seen those big brutes go at it can imagine what it would have been like! I guess the pilot got bit his plane was a mess and stunk to high heaven! When they finally got landed the pilot looked at Paul and said "Paul you old SOB if I would have had a parachute you would have had yourself an airplane"! I still laugh whenever I think of that story!

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    That reminds me of the story about the husband who's wife had a cat that got sick, and he had to fly it to the vet in Anchorage in his supercub.

    No problems on the flight to Anchorage, but on the way back, the door to the Cat Carrier wasn't latched fully...and the cat got out.

    I guess when it looked out the window at the altitude...it paniced and started doing laps around the inside of the window's and would take a swipe at the guy with each pass.

    Finally around the 5th pass the guy just opened the window and out the cat went.

    He came home with the story that the cat "just didn't make it, honey".

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    There was another story about Old Dan getting picked up on a sandbar for a flight into Talketna to get his monthly provisions.

    Just after liftoff, the engine started to cut out, and the pilot was trying to do his restart, and try to find another sandbar to set the plane down, and Dan was so old that his hearing didn't allow him to realize the engine had cut out.

    So while the pilot was doing all this emergency multi-tasking...Dan's banging on his shoulder yelling "No, NO, I want to go to Talketna...to Talketna...I don't want to land here!!!".


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    Al Brookman of Sitka. Quite the character. May he RIP. You might be able to still find a copy of his book "Sitka Man" around somewhere.

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    John Luster, Mistler, Chickaloon Charlie, “Call Sign Iceman” –my father, and many others… Truly, someone should write a book..

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    What about Kenny Schoonover who guided for many years in the Sitka area. Some of the guys that have hunted with him said he had some amazing stories to tell. Anybody know of him?
    Kenny is one of the nicest men, and has many interesting stories of his guiding experiences and others. He lives in Hoonah, last I heard, with the meanist women on the island and other places thereabouts. Her name is Zilla, as I recollect. I think it must be a local term of endearment, or a nick-name, abrieviated from wife-zilla. Woff, Woff, Eurrr

    KB

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    No gortex here. This is my all time favorite video. Enjoy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaQ7ajWanFg

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    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    I apprecieate the quote that started this thread. However, now I'm one of the "old timers" and that is not much fun. Before you know it I'll the in all these stories. All I want to know is how I got over the hill and never saw the top!!! Jim

  16. #16

    Default Rawhide.

    Anybody know about Rawhide. He was a strange one. I think they eventually carted him off. He lived in a Teepee near Kenny Lake one winter and then down near the Fish Wheels near Chitina for a Winter. He would wear hand tanned clothes and would sign his name with a big X.

    He was a character. I saw him once splitting wood infront of his Teepee barechested and it was close to -20F.

    I always wondered what happened to him and his family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    Finally around the 5th pass the guy just opened the window and out the cat went.

    He came home with the story that the cat "just didn't make it, honey".
    I heard a story much like that, but the cat got under the dashboard of the airplane. When it came out it went right out the wing window over Cook Inlet. A passenger, remembering the old saying that a cat always lands on his feet, watched the cat descend with it's feet down, legs locked straight, and tail swirling in the wind...........

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaboku68 View Post
    Anybody know about Rawhide. He was a strange one. I think they eventually carted him off. He lived in a Teepee near Kenny Lake one winter and then down near the Fish Wheels near Chitina for a Winter. He would wear hand tanned clothes and would sign his name with a big X.

    He was a character. I saw him once splitting wood infront of his Teepee barechested and it was close to -20F.

    I always wondered what happened to him and his family.
    Would that have been in the mid 90s? Did he occassioaly sell a trinket or two alongside the Kenny Lake/Chitna road? If so I bought a couple items from him...
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  19. #19

    Default 1990's

    Yeah, it was about in the mid 90s. He would sell carved stuff. He had his boys all dressed up in rabbit skin clothes. I think his wife got ticked off at him and moved on. I always wonder what happened to him.

    Just like Jerry Poore. Jerry Poore was one of the most eccentric people that I have ever met. He had a gift shop/gas station on the Richardson highway from the 1970s to late 1980's. He had probably more whoppers than anybody who I ever met and his real stories were just as crazy.


    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    My favorite was Smoky Stover, the proprietor of the City Dump on Kodiak. He had stories and one-liners that were to die for. He even wrote a book called "The Retired Failure". He served clam chowder every Friday at the dump. Jim

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