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Thread: Zero - zero

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    Default Zero - zero

    If that camp or spike camp can't be found in zero-zero conditions -blinding snow storm or other horrible conditions - it is in the WRONG location. Probably even more critical at this time of year, when the "beautiful" CVU conditions, that in less than a hour may deteriorate into a two or three day snow storm.
    Joe (Ak)

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    Ok.....so how do ya go about placing a camp where you can find it, in Zero/Zero?

    Even worse could be when you know perfectly well were the camp is, but ya cant get to it....high river, rough water, snowslide, ect....


    Breadcrumbs still work?
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    So, that makes a lot of sense, got more details on strategy?

    I'm imagining you mean by the "lay of terrain," something like set up camp in close relation to a creek at the bottom of the valley so you can drop into that valley til you find creek then go up or down to camp? Something like that? or...

    something like using the steeps and flats to locate yourself later by following the contour lines in your head, or on that handy little map you stuck in your pack? or...

    buy a GPS, awwww, too easy. Tell us more Joe, good thread
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Just a silly idea but why not just keep camp strapped to your back? Then as long as you don't set it down and walk away from it you should be all set.

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    You can get lost, injured or Camp may be gone when you get back......

    These guys wont be going back to "Camp" soon........




    yep, a pleasant day can really turn on ya.........never know whats gonna happen,.........Take a possibles bag and be prepared, Scouts....
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member Kotton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    You can get lost, injured or Camp may be gone when you get back......

    These guys wont be going back to "Camp" soon........




    yep, a pleasant day can really turn on ya.........never know whats gonna happen,.........Take a possibles bag and be prepared, Scouts....
    That was not a very good spot to camp!!!

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    there is no good place to camp when you have pissed off uncle sam and he sends a few well trained operators. BZ and get some.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Joe - You have started an interesting thread that I'm sure not many think about. So how about sharing with us some of that wisdom that I know you have on the subject instead of just teasing us with an idea.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I too would like to hear your ideas.

    Here are a few things I have done. I have used a spare headlamp strapped to a bush or rock that is elevated on a hill or knoll near camp. The headlamp has a strobe feature and will run for several days. This served well on Kodiak last year. I know a couple people who hang up mini glow sticks in the same fashion. I generally have camp marked in my GPS as well. I am planning on adding a Bushnel backtrack to the mix this coming season as a backup since it is so small/light. It will also serve as a loaner for friends and mainly for the kids as a "just in case" safety measure. I try to make it a point to set up camp near a "can't miss" terrain feature like a major trail or stream. Something that if you walk in the correct direction you WILL find it. With a feature like that a simple compass will get you back. "Go east till you hit the trail" is about as easy as directions get, the key is knowing which way to go when you get to the stream/river/trail/road etc.

    All that said a compass and GPS are the two keys. If fog drops on you nothing looks the same!! I was out on a quick local trip for bunnies and the ceiling dropped on me causing me to lose all of my landmarks. Lucky I was near a major highway and when it got dark I just walked toward the street lights. With a simple $3 compass it would have been much simpler.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I'm assuming this is an educational thread we can all build on. Thanks Joe. Lu, good ideas, thanks too. I've seen battery powered strobes before. Man what a great thing to see in the distance on a late return to camp. I believe a strobe will also shine somewhat thru fog. Tho moisture will also reflect.
    Couple ideas besides those given:
    The florescent surveyors tape.
    Reflective tape. Maybe a guy could sew some reflective tape to his tent. You can pick up the reflection of the tape pretty good with a decent light source.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    I have bent over 15 to 20 ft spruce and tied survey tape on top. Boy when you see that in your head lamp it's a big relief.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Uh....if the conditions are zero-zero there's not going to be any rescue attempt so your point is mute.

    However I agree that backcountry hunters should consider the "what if" of rescue but not make it their primary consideration.

    So, even if camp is pitched on a flat spot in a place a helo can easily get into and back out of, it doesn't stop our adventurous and intrepid mountain hunter from breaking a leg in the crags high on a 40 degree slope, or falling through the alders to the bottom of a ravine, or any number of tight places rescuers can't get to without jeopardizing themselves in the process.

    I don't have Joe's volume of backcountry experience, but having spent 20+ years in the equipping-&-training-others-for-rescue business I can say with certainty that rescues almost never happen in "easy" places. You try and anticipate what the high and medium probability scenarios could be and train to them and rely on training, experience, and judgement to cover the never-before-seen stuff.

    If worrying about rescue drove hunt planning there wouldn't be any hunting in Alaska. There is inherant risk in going into the hinterlands that can only be mitigated by solid preparation, but it can never be totally eliminated.

    The only place rescuers can get to in zero-zero conditions....is town.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Lujon hit it already;
    Fact is, in Zero-Zero, you hunker down, out of the wind, get comphy as possible and wait for the **** to pass.

    The wife and I spent two days and two nights at about -10 (not too cold) in a willow lined Snowhole when a Blizzard caught us on our way home. Nobody could look for us if they wanted to. Getting outta the wind and the overnight bag sure came in handy, as did the company.


    Blizzards, ground storms, Thick fog out on featurless ice, and such says you dont go poking about, waisting gas if your on a snowgo. If you can see it, turn the hell around on your trail and go back home.
    I wasnt kidding about the Possibles bag.
    I carry mine everywhere, with a couple cans of food(One of Beef Hash, one of Peaches) ,an MRE with a heater, a first aid kit, change of socks, spare gloves in ziplocks, and my "Overnight" with space blankets, firestarters, and very importantly enough, a book I can read, wipe my ass or set on fire.
    My cheap plastic tarp is great for a ground sheet or blanket to hold down the space blankets.
    Its important to relax, and not make it worse. The book gives me something to do to pass time.
    I cary a German Canteen, as its enclosed in two Cups, that I can use to cook to eat from and drink.
    A few candles for fire(light the candle, then the fire) light, and to melt ice to warm me from the inside (Besides Cold, Thirst is the Bane of The Arctic, in Winter)
    The possibles bag in my pack weigh about 3 pounds and as I am constantly carrying my bag, its updatted as I go.
    Candy, for the energy and the soothing effect it has in trying times also helps, especially when you bring kids along.

    Take yer camp with ya, or at least a small version of one........
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  14. #14

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    Certainly agree that if the location of the camp is not exactly known and how to get there from a specific point - then - not much choice but to wait out the the weather. However, if the question is asked when selecting the camp location "can this spot be found in zero-zero conditions" a lot of problems and miserable hours can be avoided. Though there are a number of questions that should be "asked" when selecting the camp site, towering above the rest, "is can it be found?". This means not only selecting a strong geographic feature (a big rock in the middle of a big flat does not "qualify") but also one so located so other unique terrain features such as streams and buffs and a big rock can be used to guide the individual to the specific location.
    The bottom line is not "how easy it may to "glass" from a specific location", rather "how do we find this place with six inches of snow on the ground while the wind is blowing, still snowing, and, dark".
    Hopefully - when this thread has "run its course" one of the moderators will condense the information and make it a "sticky".
    Joe (Ak)
    (Note: Always a good idea to store the sleeping bags in plastic garbage bags, in the tent, when away from camp - make certain to clear the snow away from the bottom edge of the "fly" before cooking in the tent.)

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I'm a big believer in a "Possibles Bag" as Stranger mentions,

    I can hardly go anywhere without thinking, "Ok, if I have to spend some time holed up somewhere do I have what I need?" So I always, "even on an afternoon stroll, just up that ridge over there," carry those things in the bottom of my pack, it's pretty detailed but the basics are firestarter, space blanket, I like those Tigersmilk bars for survival food that take up very little space, extra head, hand, and feet protection, etc. I always dress with excellent capilene of some sort as the inner layer. That's Key stuff for dealing with the wet. There's more but thats the idea,......

    I've thought a certain degree of "worst case scenario" thinking is good for going off in AK, like, "If I break my leg, not going anywhere, am I set to stay overnight with what I have on my back now?" I ALWAYS HAVE THIS ALONG.

    Somewhere, I heard an Old Timer say, "NEVER, EVER leave your pack behind," and I NEVER DO for that Possibles Bag idea

    As far as Zero Zero camp finding, I've also been taught the craziest thing to do in that situation is wander around trying to find it,
    "I JUST KNOW it's over here somewhere...... Oh No, that rocks not where I thought it was, this valley doesn't look familiar now..........
    in Zero Zero ??? Time to hunker down

    Tho now, I mostly hunt from a boat so not too tough to find the beach, just a bummer if you pick the wrong valley to drop down, rounding capes on the beach can be Real Tough. Yep, I've done it. Bummer
    and then just gettin to the beach doesn't necessarily mean you'll get out to the big boat, so once again.....Possibles????
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  16. #16
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Good post Joe. I'd really like to meet you one day and pick your brain for a while. It sounds like you have an abundance of knowledge, especially when it comes to sheep hunting!

    This is one reason why I picked red as the color of my tent. I really appreciate all of the reflective material on it. Much easier to find a night. Just a glance with a headlamp it you can see it from a long way off.

    I also make a habit of marking my location with my GPS. In the event that fails, it sure does help to have other markers.

    Good comment above as well on packs and such. I once made a final stalk on a group of rams. I set down my pack and went higher and around the side of this little hill I was on (maybe 75 feet above the valley floor). All 5 of those rams were about 7/8, so I didn't do any shooting, but when I was trying to find my barney's pack (black) on a light brown and snowy hill, it took me a long time to find. Last time I get that far from my pack, I can tell you that!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    Good post Joe. I'd really like to meet you one day and pick your brain for a while. It sounds like you have an abundance of knowledge, especially when it comes to sheep hunting!

    This is one reason why I picked red as the color of my tent. I really appreciate all of the reflective material on it. Much easier to find a night. Just a glance with a headlamp it you can see it from a long way off.

    I also make a habit of marking my location with my GPS. In the event that fails, it sure does help to have other markers.

    Good comment above as well on packs and such. I once made a final stalk on a group of rams. I set down my pack and went higher and around the side of this little hill I was on (maybe 75 feet above the valley floor). All 5 of those rams were about 7/8, so I didn't do any shooting, but when I was trying to find my barney's pack (black) on a light brown and snowy hill, it took me a long time to find. Last time I get that far from my pack, I can tell you that!
    Thank you. We are working on a sheep hunting presentation for next spring to go along with the bear hunting. Hopefully it will all work out.
    Again - thank you
    Joe (Ak)

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    Ya, Great thread

    Im thinking that in Zero-zero, there is no finding camp, unless Im already in it. 'Zero-zero', to me, is when I cant see 10 yards, and without actually seeing landmarks, its suicidal to carry on.
    A good sense of direction helps here, as does a compass , but even a GPS wont tell ya where cliffs, creeks, and boulder rubble is.
    3 feet of snow and such, with some visibility, yes, but looking when you cant tell Haven from Earth , I hunker down, outta the wind.
    Been in it too many a time in Winter hunts/travle and with time all **** weather passes. I just sit tight and pass the time.
    Its worked for me quite few times, when I cant even see the next steak on the trail, to sit and wait, even all night, and I am still alive, yet.

    It always good to stop and stay "Unlost", even if youyr camp is in a known place, but you arnt there.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  19. #19

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    Zero-zero conditions......I think strangerinastrangeland hit the nail on the head. Stay put and hope and pray for it to let up. I wonder how many here have ever seen and experienced these kind of conditions.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finley View Post
    Zero-zero conditions......I think strangerinastrangeland hit the nail on the head. Stay put and hope and pray for it to let up. I wonder how many here have ever seen and experienced these kind of conditions.
    Not me. The lowest visibility (outside of darkness of course) is about 50 yards. But even then the GPS guiding me back to the tent sure came in handy no doubt. Though I have enough gear in my pack always to wait out most of what AK has to offer.

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