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Thread: Our 2010 Yukon Hunt

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    Default Our 2010 Yukon Hunt

    We started out on the 16th, camped at the bridge, and headed downriver on the 17th. In less than an hour we were stopped when my oil delivery system failed. We were able to fill up the motor reservoir manually, but decided stopping every 20 odd minutes was just not wise. After splitting up the gear with our partners in the other boat, we headed back to the bridge and home.
    Saturday found us robbing parts off of my buddies motor which is the exact same as mine. After 3 parts changes we nailed down the problem, refueled, and headed back to the bridge.
    We launched right at 8pm and ran just a little ways, stopping to camp before dark. The first photo is of the setting sun, turned red by local fires. The second was the fog the next morning. We weren't catching any breaks yet, but that is sometimes the case when running the Yukon.
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    That second morning we idled slowly downriver using the gps. It is weird for me to run without senses. The wind was blowing downriver, which helped, but it was hard to tell which way the water was even flowing. We finally broke out and got on step.
    The barge is the first large one I've seen above Rampart in all the years I've been on the Yukon. I think those things are way cool. I also never get tired of the array of boats, fishwheels, and other sights along the way.
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    What is normally less than a 7 hour trip took almost 9. Oh well, the worst thing would not be having to camp one more day enroute.
    A photo of Rampart, and my buddy getting ready to land us at the check station. Normally we are out of the check station PDQ but we ended up a bit longer than planned. WX was pretty good, and we still had plenty of time to make it to camp.
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    A pretty uneventful run upriver, and 3 hours later we saw our friends. Uneventful was defined as not breaking down, not getting stuck, and only touching bottom 3 times. WOOHOO! I like it when I'm not walking around a boat in ankle deep water or working on engines.
    They had shot a moose which later weighed out at 865lbs on the bone. What a big boy he was. When we got there they had all but one quarter hung. Man did those friends work hard to get a moose that big hung.
    They sure were happy to see us, as the last time had been when we split up several days earlier. They were pretty sure I'd find a way to get back as I just don't have a lot of quit in me. I'm glad I proved them right.
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    The day they got on the river had been long due to rough water. They had time to get the wall tent set up and a rough camp and that was about it. The next day they got the skif set up and started to hunt. After 2 hours it was over.
    They worked hard all that day and most of the next getting the moose taken care of, moved, and hung. We liked that spot to hang because it is pretty rocky and not sandy. My partner and I headed up to camp and this is what we first saw. The sun shining on the wall tent really looked inviting.
    We got settled in, and the next day saw us heading out in our own skif to look for moose. My buddy is a GREAT guy. He is one of the steadiest, most dependable, neatest guys you could want to spend time in the woods with. Normally when I go anywhere by boat I drive, so having him along is a great respite for me.
    The weather was awesome. Clear and cool, perfect for hunting. It got a bit warm toward the middle of the day, but not too bad.
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    It is not very often that we sit out late at night. This year we were outside almost every night. The sun set downriver to our right, and the moon rose over the tent to our left. We had some great sunsets, and it was a special time to visit.
    We also ran up to a friends cabin one day to say hello. He had family there, and we sat around the campfire talking and enjoying the day. A couple of visitors came by, a little put out that we would sit there on the gravel they wanted to peck.
    He said there were a group of Spruce Grouse that had the run of the place. We did not see the sole Ruff Grouse that comes in. I like having a "no hunt" zone around camps and cabins. If you let nature happen, it is amazing what you can see.
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    So far it sure does not look like we were hunting very much. The wind kicked up and it blew pretty hard and steady for days. That was nice because it helped the meat dry/crust, and the bugs were non-existent. Yay for the wind!
    But that also made it hard to hunt back off of the river. I did find some rubs and wallows, but could not get a bull to answer as windy as it was. We finally got lucky, and as luck will have it, we were close to camp. Who says the hunting is better way off yonder?
    Ok, how big is he? Well, on the bone after hanging for 4 to 5 days, 695lbs. Oh, the rack? You guys guess. No "bracketing". Single numbers only!

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    looks like fun

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    Why is it that I like moose hunting so much? No kidding, it is lots of work. From maintaining the boat, to driving it for hours in sometimes "poopy" conditions, handling gear and all the rest, and then adding to the pile by shooting something that looks like an elephant when you walk up to it.
    I guess I'm a glutton for punishment huh?
    After the moose is down, we get to work on it and hang it. Earlier I showed a photo of a spot, well downriver, where we like to hang meat. As this bull was so close to camp, we used another option for hanging it.
    I've tried to load these photos, but they seem too big. They show 3.0MB? Anyway, we like to also use a birch tree leaning out of a cut bank. We'll cut the end off that we don't need, then take a pole with a "Y" and set it underneath. This goes pretty quick in the building and so far we've never had a pole fall. It is also close to the boat, and being a cut bank, it is higher then if we used a gradual bank.

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    Default Sorry, having trouble with photos, but I'll keep trying

    While working on our moose our buddies showed up with number 3. Well, that might be a tad bit overstated. Maybe it was closer to number 2 1/2? They were looking for a spike to top off to bring home, and the Lord gave them a forkhorn. After the shot, they walked up, and could not believe how tiny it was. I do like moose this size for handling though. On the pole, after hanging, he weighed in at a whopping 240lbs! We did tease them a bit and asked if they had to wipe off the milk before they quartered it.
    But we do not ever look at a gift in a bad light. Even though little, it met the needs and will help feed family and friends.
    My "brother" and I decided we needed to go fish for pike. Even with the sun setting quickly we figured we had a good chance. I've never fished with a rising moon, but they say it can be done, and if you look at it from the eye of the fish, you'd realize you need a black lure. The shining moon makes everything flash. We did not use black, but did find some success. I got some great photos of him catching fish with the moon rising behind him.
    On the way back upriver to camp, the moon was shining bright in our eyes. The big wall tent stood out like the sun was up. I could not believe how clear it was. There was absolutely no problem in running the river as snags and other obstacles stood out like it was daytime.
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    The day we hung the last 2 moose was warm and only slightly windy. We were concerned about flies, so kept the meat bagged until later in the evening. That night the wind kicked up, and by morning all of the meat had crusted really well. We were able to leave the bags off and not worry. We did use Citric acid to help keep the flies at bay.
    That next day we headed upriver to explore. Conditions were severe clear and windy. Curt did a great job running his boat on water that was mostly not readable. He kept us off the shallows, and avoided big rocks even though the wind did everything in its power to mess us up. There were times, when running upriver at 23mph or so, that there was no wind in my face due to how hard the wind was blowing from our stern.
    Mostly I sat out front where I like to be when I'm not the Cpt. I was able to point out a few hazards, but I can't take anything away from him as he just did a great job.
    In the second photo, are we looking at boulders or white caps? I'll tell you there were both!
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    On the ride we stopped to "hunt" for pike. (See, if I still call it hunting I get to leave it in this forum.)
    The 2 spots we stopped worked out well for us. It is cold, and the wind is blowing, but the fish cooperated and it was worth it!
    The big one I rough measured against my G Loomis that my kids bought me (what a lucky dad I am) and later took a tape to that. I'd say conservatively she was 36" and maybe 39".
    My other buddy caught a monster. Mike went to help, and at that point the hook was spit. Mike dove in the river trying to stop it from getting away. He came up looking like a drowned cat. Man was that water cold!
    I did catch another that I never saw anything other than shoulder. She toyed with me, and at the instant I thought about loosening the drag I was too late. Geez, I liked that lure too.
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    Never ever let your "friend" handle the fish you caught that was bigger than his. This is what happens to your lucky lure. I swear I cast the thing twice before I realized all the hooks were gone. And he acted all innocent when I said what the heck? Really though, I tend to cut 1 or 2 of the trebles off as I don't like to tear the fish up. Not really sure what happened to the third, but I'm going to keep an eye on that guy.
    Mike doesn't look too wet in the picture, but his boots are full of something other than lint. I guess he needed a bath by this point anyways.
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    What a great adventure! Thanks for sharing. Nice looking pike to go with the red meat, too.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Remember I talked about the wind and how hard it was to read the water? And that Curt did a great job running the boat and keeping us safe? There was just one minor detail though.
    Coming back downriver we scooted around a corner. Piled up in front of us was whitewater. I guessed right, he guessed left. I can't tell you if I was right, but he was not. BANG!!!! The motor hit a rock hard enough to jar us all. But she kept running. For a bit.
    Cpt C. said that the flow meter was showing almost 22gph. This on a 150 E-Tec that had been running around 10gph. When we pulled over we knew we had a problem when we smelled fuel. A quick once over and we noted that the fuel reservoir mounted at the back of the motor had sheared the mounting holes and the bottom was cracked.
    We had nothing to make repairs with except a hose clamp. We used it to keep the top and bottom from separating, and headed downriver. Fuel consumption was still high. We noted that full throttle showed less fuel consumption than standard cruise RPM.
    When we got further down we stopped at our friends cabin and another camp and came up with some 2 part expoxy to mend it with.
    That night we took it off the engine, and brought it inside to take apart. I took my time mending it and the next morning put it back together. She still leaked, but not badly, and I was pretty sure at least it would not fall apart. If that happened we'd be screwed.
    Note that the lower clamshell also took a beating. Yes, we hit that big rock hard, but this kind of damage does not make sense. Thank God for 100mph tape. Both repairs held up until we got home.
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    Needless to say, the morning I am making repairs is the day we intended to leave. ARGHH. Here we go again? Hope not. We had not been sure repairs would work, so had not started to break camp or load meat. The morning and early afternoon was a blur of breaking camp, loading gear down the cut bank, and loading meat. We hustled, knowing that we still could not make Tanana and the Erickson's hospitality.
    Every time I do something like this I am amazed at how the time slinks away. Before you know it hours are eaten up. We felt pressured only in that we wanted to at least get underway safely. If all went well, the bridge was attainable the next day.
    We stopped and had a talk about safety. Let's not push so hard. Let's communicate and really listen to each other. Nothing was so important that we needed to get foolish.
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    These are photos of Mike running the skif. When we pulled away from the moose and camp, that section of river was protected from the wind. Here I am in my 22' boat with 150hp and I take off to meet up with the other guys. When I went around the corner I pounded through 2' waves not thinking twice.
    Mike followed, but when he came around the corner he was right in the face of it all. He later said the wind picked up the bow almost vertically and started pushing him back upriver. He cut the motor over hard right and gassed it, driving the boat away from the wind. Any lesser of an operator would have swamped and been in danger of drowning. I was pretty dissapointed in myself for not having seen that danger, stopped, and towed him downriver. God does answer prayers.
    Note that the 15 gallon poly has over 10 gallons of fuel. The boat does sit stern heavy, but you are also still seeing him fight the wind a bit. Curt and I had just headed back up when we saw him coming down and turned around to get these photos. I really don't like that set up and don't like it any more now. She is too short, and the motor is too heavy sitting back on the lift.
    We got finished loading and headed downriver, Curt in the lead. I was not paying attention in a crossing and got caught in the mud, but she pushed off easy. Ok I thought, the river dropped and I have to have my head in the game.
    30 minutes later I watched in horror as we came through the "straights", which are not all that. At the lower end there is a jog. For some reason he headed right and hit the lower sandbar. 50 minutes later, after pushing and prying with our 2"x6"x8' boards we had him floating free. He asked me to lead, and I was glad too.
    We made it to the checkpoint with only a bit of spare light, got checked in, left and found a place to camp. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we had tents up and food in our bellies. After a good nights sleep most of our trouble were behind us and stayed there.
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    Fish wheels stored at Tanana and my buddy the "Navigator". That man rocks on a GPS! He's got us dialed in with weigh points and routes. He also logs in each trip and we know exactly how much time it takes to run from any point to any other point.
    Note the Peltor Power Com headsets. We use them to talk back and forth and protect hearing. We also have another set on the second boat so we can communicate such as in, "SHALLOW, SHALLOW SHALLOW, GO RIGHT!" That'd be me yelling at Curt when I was dragging because I was not paying attention. YES, sometimes that is a theme with me. I like to gawk! But I never got stuck! This time that is.
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    We had a lot of trials, but each and every one was overcome. We worked together as a team, letting each person share in the choices, ideas, and solutions. As a community of 4, we work well together. Each of us cares about the other like we are brothers. We all have our strengths, and with that, our weaknesses. All in all we do ok.
    I ran my boat, including my unplanned trip back home for repairs, almost 25 hours. Curt ran a bit more than that.
    He will have some repairs to be made to his rig, and lucky thing, the fuel reservoir is under warranty. That will save him quite a bit. I still have to take my friends parts off of my motor and put back on his. My problem turns out to be an issue with the oil pump on the main oil tank on the boat. That won't nearly be so bad as if the brain were toast, which would have cost well over a $1,000.
    As always, seeing the bridge is bitter sweet after a trip. It's good to be back, but I loved being there too.
    Hope you folks enjoyed the story, and I'll be watching to see your guesses on the antlers. Take care and good luck to each of you,
    ARR
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    River Rat,

    Great write up and thanks for "taking us along" with you. looks like there is plenty of meat to around and glad to hear about the good times spent with friends on the river. The trials and tribulations we face while hunting are to me what makes the trip afield so memorable. when you're out there relying on yourself and your partners to overcome obstacles and devise new ways of doing things that's when were at our finest. For me I'm a relatively new hunter (10yrs) so "overcoming obstacles" happens to me in the field a lot, but its part or the allure of hunting for me. Also I didn't see any pics of the rack...

    PS

    Are those USCG issue float coats?

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