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Thread: Sharing My Elk Draw with Bear, on Raz

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak

    Default Sharing My Elk Draw with Bear, on Raz

    So, after years of trying, I draw a First Season Raspberry Island Bull Elk Tag this year, Wahoo… My First Draw Ever. Determined I’m gonna Hunt Hard, and Take Full advantage.

    Shortly after the draw results are released I am furiously reloading for my .270wsm with the largest and best bullet I can find in .277, a 160gr Nosler Partition. Lots of fans of the Partition, I receive several notes from old time Elk Hunters, that’s a great bullet for Elk. So, I dial it in, a couple loads hitting .52 and .64 inch groups at 100yards.

    On my way back from Fishing Sablefish out west, in mid September, I stop by Raspberry, anchor the boat, and climb up into the hills to do some scouting. After some serious scouting, I find them, the entire herd, (according to ADFG, there are approx 80 animals on Raspberry), and I watch 77 through my spotting scope for a couple hours. 2 weeks before my season, and they are in the full rut, I count 69 Cows and Calves, and 8 bulls.

    One is clearly the Dominant Bull, using a 5x5 rack and a lot of muscle to shove off three others with 3x3 or 3x4 racks, the rest, spikes and forks are hanging in the background. I have to wonder about the fact there are eight permits issued for this draw hunt, the first 12 days of October and at least that many more later for 8 bulls total?

    The mating is going on before my eyes almost like a Nat’l Geo video watching this Dominant Bull run off the others then mount a few cows while the others try to sneak in for a little action themselves. It seems clear, they’re all there for the party.
    Not really a trophy hunter, I am still caught up by that 5x5 Bull as my hunt focus. I go back and forth on this, all hunt long, when considering the 'packing out' part of the hunt. That old boy looks huge on the mtn side, like a darn Steer compared to the rest. The larger bulls are about 30 percent larger than the rest of the herd. Do I really want the largest Bull?

    And why are there so few for all those harvest tags? As a Lifelong Commercial Fisherman, my life is totally directed by the word “Sustainability,” do they really figure for that much failure in these draws?

    Some problems with the rudder post on my boat, just before departure date has me in the shipyard doing 20hr days to get my transport and base camp dialed in.

    Back in the water thirty hours ahead of the opening, breathing a sigh of relief, I have to hesitate at the weather forecast.

    400 AM AKDT THU SEP 30 2010

    .TODAY...SE WIND 30 KT. SEAS 14 FT
    .SAT...SW WIND 35 KT. SEAS 19 FT.
    .SUN...S WIND 15 KT. SEAS 8 FT.
    .MON...SE WIND 25 KT. SEAS 11 FT.

    Tho the rapid switching from SE to NE, then N, then SW and back to SE in wind direction is not a good sign for a mariner, ( a Major Front Moving Rapidly Defines Unpredictability) I’m gonna shoot for it and we throw off the lines.
    The Hunt Is On !!

    We pass through Whale Pass on a Really nice Sea and that’s Raspberry Island off in the distance to the right of Kupreanof Passage. So Far we have jumped ahead of the Weather.

    Anchoring that night, I pack an overnight camp and take off up into the country I had spotted them a few weeks back. I have my Father in Law along as a Packer. He is looking for a few Deer himself but elects to stay with the boat in light of the NE 50 that may sweep through the bay tonight. I have heavy duty anchor gear, tailored to anchoring along the AK Peninsula and Sanak Island while I Solo Fish for Black Cod Out West so, I am confident, the boat will be fine, but it’s good to have him on board that night.

    The night before the opener, I am camped in the main valley, prepared for a storm, with a roaring fire 'til midnight and ready for rain in my one man bivy tent. The wind that night, sounding like a freight train roaring down the valley doesn’t really console me as I wait for first light, and man did it ever rain that night. I sleep and wait, warm and dry.

    Morning One, I wake and glass the surrounding ridgetops, Yep, there they are, way up high, as far as possible from my anchorage and I must admit I am intimidated by the size of these Roosevelt Elk. Considering Packing several miles, in Bear Country, "It’s too far." I’m headed back to the boat, gotta move closer, this shifting weather scene has me on edge.

    We’ll try to access them from the Raspberry Straits side.

    So Day two, we run, through protected waters, wind is from the north so it is deceptively calm through the tiny passage that is the southern end of Raz straits. Looks Soooo Nice, eh? But I know better. We’re a bit protected on this approach to the northern end of the island but the rapidly switching wind will keep me on edge for days.

    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 !

  2. #2
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Kodiak, Ak

    Default Elk Country, For Sure

    I climb straight up the steeps from the straits side, 2 ½ hours to the top, and literally smell Elk up there. My Dad in Law looking for Deer while I climb is amazed by the country, Elk Country for sure.

    As I top out expecting the herd to be in range, I am mildy disheartened to see them on the other side of the valley, miles from my position.

    It seemed finding the Elk was not hard, the preseason scouting paying off heavily, but getting close for a shot in the open alpine, maybe another matter. As I approached the herd they were moving up out of the valley, I spotted some other hunters in the valley bottom, two guys standing over a Bull down, not moving, almost like they were thinking, “Oh God, What Now?” realizing the massive work ahead.

    As the Elk moved to the west I had a great stalk plan, stay behind this ridge, burn down there, and come up over the ridge saddle from the west and above them. The Elk were all looking back at the killsite down in the valley, it would be a great ambush. As I closed, they started moving too fast. A few cows, maybe ten of them were topping the ridge as I neared and I would not be able to close as much as I had hoped. I could see the 5x5 was still alive, a little down behind the ridge, but the cows topping the ridge were noticing me crawl up the backside of the ridge crest. I ranged the King Bull at 312 yds.

    Decided “Not Close Enough, gotta get closer,” dropping my hunt pack I continued to belly crawl but watching the cows getting nervous I knew my chances were rapidly diminishing. I found a perfect spot, kind of in a hurry now, ideal rifle rest, great shooting position, 270 yards from the King Bull. He’s totally separate from the herd, clean shooting lane. They’re still slowly walking, but what I have been thinking about, all stalk long, “shooting down from the ridge top into the lee side of the ridge, concerning the SW 30 knot wind blowing up my side,” I have now totally spaced out.

    As the heat of the hunt consumes me and I look at an animal many times larger than what I am used to killing, I put the crosshairs on the sweetspot, Knowing I can make this shot, I am perfectly rested, touch off the trigger, with good “post-fire” scope picture I see no reaction whatsoever.

    Now they’re all running, He’s still isolated from the cows and even stops to, face on, look at me, I again, do not consider the wind but cut loose another round, smaller frontal target but still huge at that range in my scope view. Total miss again. And they’re gone, down into an Alder thicket and across the valley.

    And that valley is Definitely Not as mellow as it looks from above by photo, ya just gotta get down in there to understand what those different colors mean. This country, unless way above treeline, can be quite the Thrasher.
    So, What happened there………………?

    I had good sight of him after both shots, and saw no sign of impact on body at all. I am in disbelief as I walk the bullet flight path, it dawns on me there is at least a 30 if not 40 knot total cross wind sweeping up and across this saddle. I had been telling myself on the stalk, gotta shoot with the lee down behind this ridge, but, I flat out, forgot as that big bull was in my crosshairs. “Can’t believe I did that”, I am kicking myself.

    At least I can see the entire herd as they parade across the valley and can clearly see the 5x5 getting his herd in order down there. No wounding, not a sign of injury, still I scour for several hours the bullet path looking for blood sign, down into the valley and back up, gotta make sure. But there he is, the only 5x5 and looking as feisty as ever. “Awww man, that’s really weak.”

    I am not happy as I am not a believer in long range shooting on the hunt, determined to close the hunt to 200yds or no fire, yet there I was, caught up in the moment and maybe too worried about the packing out distance factor. Sometimes I think these Optics we’re using nowadays are maybe too good? I figure if I can’t close the distance to less than Two Football Fields, I need to hunt harder. That Zeiss Conquest scope on 8 power sure can tempt ya though.

    Relieved, beyond belief, that I could see the Elk I was shooting at clearly in the valley bottom. Ok tighten it up man. You got away with a mistake that could have really bit hard.

    The day is over, I head back to the boat, weather forecast on the Icom VHF I carry is not good for staying where we are with the boat. Day two is a bust, and I am severely disciplined by my own standards on winging lead out there.

    Drop to the boat, and my Father in Law is coming out of the Alder thickets with two Does in tow. A long time Kodiak guy he is wasting no time filling his freezer. Considering that the weather now is for NE 50 again, a direct shot down Raspberry Straits and our anchorage, and everything’s a bit stirred up with one kill in the valley, we get his meat on board and morning of day three we head to town. 5hrs away thru protected passage I am back in town, practicing patience.

    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 !

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak

    Default Alone Now

    Father in Law can’t return with me, waiting for storm to blow through, I decide to run to the range to make sure all is well with my rifle. Sure enough, it is a windless few hrs at the range and the Sako 85 is true to form, spot on. Flat shooting, less than an inch groups at 100 and 200 yards with barely perceptible drop at 200, and 7in low at 300. Zeroed, and reassured of my equipment, I am back on the boat and on morn of day 6 heading back out, Solo now.

    Once again I find anchorage on the Raz straits side of the island, even more intimidated by both the size of these Bulls as well as the potential pack out, on only my back now.

    I am determined my shooting has got to be tight, the first shot must be Very Powerful, don’t want to have to try to get a second shot into the herd, can’t afford to see a wounded bull run down into the Alder in the valley.

    No room for slop on this hunt. Tighten it up, man.

    I pack up a full camp, not gonna be back for a while, stash the canoe on the beach, and head up the steep side.

    Of course, at first light, I am up early, day 7, to find them two valleys to the west. But I see them, and the hunt is on again. Spend a clear sunny morning humping down and across the soaking wet valley bottom, and back up with a great downwind stalk on.

    Around 10:30am I find myself slowly closing to 154 yards. The herd protection technique is new to me and very effective. It seems at any one time there are at least ten cows facing directly at me. Ears up and looking, wondering, can’t move til they turn, then another few are looking.

    CAREFULLY, is the word, I get in position for a shot, can see a Bull, not the dominant one, but a nice one, bedded down, can see his head and neck, and waiting, “this is not a good enough shot.”
    Crosshairs on his neck, I want to wait for him to stand, could take the shot, no wind here at all, but figure the neck is not good enough at this range, not getting any closer for sure, gotta let him stand up, so I wait and hold off the trigger, resting, breathing carefully, then suddenly I hear a tremendous crashing sound.

    You know the sound a single hunter makes crashing through dry Salmonberry bushes, they break and snap like crazy as you move? This is now 70 some animals simultaneously standing and running downhill through the Brush. One of them has spotted me and It’s a full roar of escaping animals,

    and He is up, and surrounded by Cows so completely I can only watch as they take off, and there goes the Dominant Bull behind him, they all crash through the densest of brush into the valley below and back up the next ridge, a mile of misery for me in a few minutes.

    Should I have taken that shot? Could have done it with excellence for sure, but I didn’t. Day 7 is effectively over in my mind.

    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 !

  4. #4
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Kodiak, Ak

    Default What a Beautiful Animal

    I can see them clearly across the valley so dejectedly realizing, “I don’t have a stalk that is sneaky in the least, I’ll just walk straight at ‘em. They’ll see me and maybe move on over into the valley that is actually closer to the boat, and my camp, then I’ll head to camp and hope they don’t move much overnight.”

    One of my major errors that day was my foot gear, I am a big believer in Xtra-tuff boots for Coastal hunting, there’s just too much moisture around for anything else,
    but I have these really excellent mtn boots, my Old Danner’s, broken in like socks, great for mtn work, sidehilling, etc. Xtratuffs not so good for the high country so I have the Danners on, heck they’re even called “ElkHunters”, Rocky Mtn Elk that must have meant.

    Like this country…

    Working great until I headed down across the valley, now they’re soaking wet. Even tho I have three changes of socks in my pack, sticking the fresh dry socks into wet leather boots is only temporarily nice. They’ve got some fancy breathable something in there but on Kodiak, that stuff never works I think.

    Getting wet is my one worry in Alaska, the one thing I am Very Careful about, and here I am climbing this ridge soaked with sweat and wet feet. I have good gear in my pack working the layers on the clothes and am ready to survive a night out, Always, but am pushing it on this afternoon going straight up this ridge. And here comes the Rain, in Torrents, so it’s full raingear now.
    Yeah, I love Island Hunting.

    Pushing the Elk, they calmly top the ridge and out of sight, I continue on, thinking, “I’ll just top the ridge to see how far down into the next valley they go, then head to camp, an hour away.” As I top the ridge I am walking slowly over a broad ridgetop, one step at a time, they could be bedded down right here, with that hunter guy, “out of sight, out of mind.”

    Then, from one step to another, “There They Are” two bulls, forty yards away, a spike and a fork, just their heads in view with that one step, and the fork is looking right at me. “Man, did I blow it? This is the closest I’ve been to them by far.”

    I freeze until he loses interest, can’t believe it, but he lets me back out a half step at a time. I quickly slide up the opposite side of the ridge to come on them with better wind and cover. I hesitatingly drop my hunting pack. Reminding myself, “Don’t go far from that now, you’re pretty wet,” and start crawling on my belly in the grass and tundra, using the stunted spruce bushes as cover.

    I quickly find the edge of the herd just fifty yards away. I actually had brought my camera thinking, “It’s too late to make a kill tonight, just take some pictures and get outta here.” It was nearing 5pm, and raining HARD, like Ketchikan rain now. Great for sound cover though, so I continue on.

    Crawling so low, actually dragging myself across the moss I begin to worry about the noise my raingear is making. Suddenly the rain stops completely, it is totally silent up here, wind is perfect, twenty knots in my face, but so silent, I can see cows through the bushes now Really Close. A few inches at a time I pull up behind a stunted spruce and lay on my back. I can actually hear the cows chewing their cud, and making little vocalizations to each other.

    “Now, This Is Hunting as it should be,” I think. “Beats the heck out of long range killing.” Sliding out the rangefinder I get a reading of 22 yards on one cow off to the side. And best of all, through the spruce I can see the Darker set of Antlers, with the White Tips, only the Dominant Bull was carrying those. I have watched him a lot by now, I know that is him up on the edge of the herd, I can’t believe it. I can only see about fifteen animals, and there he is.

    I make a plan to slide down the hill on my back, rifle sling around my elbow, ready for a Sitting Shot. They are all bedded, again, I can see only his neck, head, and that distinguished rack slightly angled facing toward the barrel of my rifle.
    There are, again, a few cows looking my way, at all times. They have this scene covered but they don’t see me, yet.

    Somehow, I pull off a rangefinder read through the Spruce, on the bull, 54 yards. “I may not get this close again,”and this is Mean Impact Zone for my 160 gr Nosler Partition, I can put one in his neck from here reliably with terrific impact, and it might continue on into vitals behind at this angle.

    I take my time, settle myself completely, am totally ready to just sit up, brace my elbows over my knees and fire, adjust scope to 2.5 power for an immediate target grab.

    Then, just as I am ready to move, two Cows stand up,……. “NOW, !!!” I sit up, settle crosshair on base of his neck and notice, in the instant my finger is squared on the trigger and coming back, he is looking right at me, still wondering.

    Boom....... The Fed 215 LR Magnum Primer blasts into 62 grains of RL-17 powder and launches 160grains of John Nosler Genius at a speed of 3056fps across that 54 yards and all I see next, is that head going straight down into the grass.

    Not a heartbeat of effort to stand or move, Only the white tips of his rack stick up into view in front of his beautiful tan hide still resting in the grass.

    The rest of the Elk stand and run, I stand also, another round ready but absolutely, ecstatically amazed at the completeness of that kill.

    That Bull is DOWN. Hardly believing it could be true, defining the ideal, for the kill of such a large animal, no running downhill amidst the herd, no hurried second and third shots I fully expected and had trained for, Yes, Finished, .........Thank God.

    As a solo hunter, no hootin‘ and hollerin’ goin’ on, just get straight to business. Thankfulness pours out of my soul.

    Then, well, ok I am an AOD hunt story addict and it’s my turn, so I prop the camera on my pack, It’s pouring rain now but maybe worth the camera to get these shots.

    What a moment.

    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 !

  5. #5
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Ketchikan, AK


    Exciting story and what's wrong with a little Ketchikan rain?

  6. #6
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak

    Default Hard Night on the Mountain

    And what a beautiful animal,

    It’s 5:30pm now and I am an hour from my camp at least. So I whip out the tools, and get to work, trying my first at “Gutless Butchering” from an AOD forum thread I had been reading, and yes, my first time using the roofing blade that several are proponents of, for skinning. Great ideas both, the Forums still teaching me some good stuff I’ll tell ya.

    By 7pm, my cutoff time, I have two quarters and the head/neck stashed in a tarp in the bushes 50 yds away. The Backstrap load in my pack, tools and all cleaned up, skin laid back over carcass and am burning up the ridge hoping for a fire tonight to dry some stuff out.

    Wishing I had brought the Bear Fence on the day hunt load, it is back at the tent, I am fairly confident my only problems will be with Foxes and Ravens tonight. Had seen no Bear in all these days, and my Father in Law had only seen one down by the beach, scat full of grass and berries. 1700 ft up, I’m thinking, “no gutpile smell, heavy rain knocking down some scent abilities, I may get away with it.

    So then, God decides to have a laugh on me I suppose, as I near my camp a little after dark, worried about how wet I am and the insistent rains affect on any firewood in the area. I can’t help but laugh as I near camp and see the entire Elk Herd literally surrounding my tent. They moved a full mile closer to my camp and the boat in response to my hunt. Sheeezzz, I cut loose a wolf howl for kicks, kind of a victory thing. They don’t move but fifty yds. I hit camp nearly surrounded by the sound of grazing Elk.
    So, what’s up with that? Har Har Har, eh? I get it, I guess....

    “He sits in the Heavens and laughs,” was somehow reassuring at that point

    There’s the camp from afar, (can you see the blue tarp rain cover in there?)

    My plans had not been to spend that second night in camp yet I had saved 4 sheets of the F&G regs book for firestarter. With several Bic Lighters among my gear, I am hoping this will be enough. But the kindling, even in the thickest part of the Spruce thicket I am next to is soaking wet. I try everything. Even find the paper off the Gamesaver packets and the dry grass underneath the tent for try #2. Doggone It, no fire.

    Wished for that Leatherman to pull some bullets for powder, but I hate the weight of those tools, so mine’s always still on the boat.

    It’s stopped raining now, clearing, and will be cold. I have good clothes and a good bag, but if you could wring out leather my “Elk Hunters” boots would produce a cup each. I am prepared, but this will not be a fun night.

    "Hey, has anyone ever actually used one of those space blankets, Hah Hah? " Those things are a Darn Sauna!?!
    I figured I’d use mine, been carrying those for years in the pack, but never spent any time in one. So I pull it out and slide in with my capilene and fleece layers still on, but very damp. It’s real toasty in there, but I can tell I am not going to get anything but wetter in here. So I switch it to the outside of the sleeping bag thinking the bag will absorb some of the moisture over night.

    It works, my “High Tech, REI Gearhead” clothes dry totally, am warm through a long night, my fourth pair of dry socks stashed in the tent were nice to put on and it all worked but it was a cold night out and I would certainly not have wanted to wake up in just a space blanket soaking wet and needing to cover ground the next day. Not going to rely much on those space blankets in the future, tho, I’ll probably still have one along, I guess.

    So to get this story moving toward a close.
    At 4am, I am restlessly listening to the VHF weather broadcast for entertainment, over and over. Stone cold awake, I am a 5hr max sleeper and a 12hr night is an agonizing amount of time. The shifting weather is not good for where my boat is anchored, and the pack out will be better from Onion Bay.

    I decide, mistakenly in hindsight, maybe, to head straight down. It’s a quick descent, doing some early morning, “frosty grass sliding,” I am down to the beach and rowing the canoe out across three foot swells to gain my warm dry boat and a breakfast of Espresso, Eggs and Black Bear Sausage.

    PS, I did stage this shot a few days later, in the Harbor....(being honest) the morn I actually enjoyed it there was a three ft swell on the anchor, may not have looked quite the same....
    Fills out the Hunt story so well, I have learned from notable others, couldn't resist.

    and Here's Raspberry straits from above,

    Awww what a morning that was, but if I had known what was happening on the hill, not so great maybe.

    The 6CTA Cummins roared to life with the touch of a finger and I quickly pulled anchor and put most of those 400 horses of Diesel Power on Fire, boring into the Shelikof Strait.

    After a fairly wild ride, rinsing the deck and even top of the house with some of the North Pacific, I pulled into the bay, threw the Canoe back into the water and now, armed with a Remington 870 12ga in 3” magnum, full of Slugs, (planning for Big Foxes, eh?), Pack frame, and my wood hauling sled,
    I got the thighs burning and lungs heaving up the hill and across the valley for my kill. Backstrap load is on ice in the hold, it’s now load #2.

    And Of Course, the Xtra Tuff boots with Bama liners hugging my ankles and toes………

    Don’t stop reading now, the heartpounding is definitely not over……
    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 !

  7. #7
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak

    Default Challenge to Share a Little

    On the top of the ridge as I cautiously approach the killsight, I have good visibility all around, I choose to come in carefully and quietly. I spot the blue tarp in the bushes first, “Amazing, it’s all there,” I thought, until descending low enough to realize that not only was the entire carcass gone, remember, that includes two quarters, all the entrails, hide and rib cages, but there was not even a drag trail, It had been lifted up and carried downhill in a clean jerk.

    Then it seems Really Quiet, like something’s up in the woods, so I let out a HeyyyUp, and the most ominous sound begins to fill the air, at least it filled my ears,

    a Hissing, interspersed with Loud Huffing and then, there’s some brown fur amid the Alder, and “Here He Comes,” Head Down, straight up the hill, out of the brush some eighty yards away.
    I’m ready, ready as you can be for that anyway. Rem 870 is leveled and safety off, totally cool in the clutch, but not eager for this to transpire. That’s not a cub coming, Large head, Real Dark Color, and thirty yards closer, I let out another HeyyyUp snapping that P with authority.

    Now, I do know one thing for sure, my voice has the Authority of God Himself on it. And I am a Well Experienced Believer in that stuff. I’m ready to take him on with firepower, but it was clear, once he ran into that Voice of SpiritRealm Authority, he stopped like he’d hit a brickwall and turned back.
    (Well, either that or he was just, “Too Full of Elk meat from an all night binge and decided Uffda, on that skinny little hunter.”) I prefer to believe the Former. , Really.....

    I just mention the latter as an option, cause Authority costs a lot, and if you’re looking for the easy way out you don’t even want to mess with that Spirit Realm stuff, your choice.

    He backs down out of sight in the dense Alder, but literally thrashing the bushes around in a fine show of possession. I figure I have my chance here, hurriedly pack my sled with all that was stashed, ready for another challenge at any moment, but “I am going get my share, too.”

    Sled loaded and pack frame on my back, I am “Outta Here,” as quick as possible and start to head up the 40 degree slope to the ridge top. Have good visibility all around and down into that thicket so feel solid with the shotgun close at hand, I’m well practiced in rapid fire pump action with this gun I’ve owned since the early eighties.

    I grab the sled handle and Uunntttt, Can’t Move It. “It’s wet moss, what the heck,” but that’s probably two hundred lbs at least, so I start doing squat thrusts up the hill, 8 inches at a time. Only 40 yds to go to the top, for slope relief, there’s nothing else to do, I just plain muscle it up there.
    Another hundred yards, with good visibility all around I stop to rearrange some load and push on down the other side, with excellent visibility on up the ridge and down into the valley below.

    I had a blast pulling this sled, as you may be able to tell in the pic of my last load. It was a very efficient way of moving close to two hundred pounds across the valley.

    Couple days later, I have all my stashed loads on the boat hanging in the ice hold. Pretty happy with “My Share,” approximating I recovered maybe 35% of that animal. I pull into Kodiak harbor early after a late night run,

    Not really sure I’m so happy to be back in town, the hunts over, but at least it was some ten days in the woods and a lot of meat in the hold. I used that draw well, but sharing with the Coastal Brown Bears was a barely avoidable part of the deal.

    Thinking of the next guys, I’m not so sure I’d want to have drawn the next hunt with 5 Bulls left, I saw three bulls down in ten days, and what about next year’s Bull Hunt on Raspberry? Are there others not hanging with the herd?

    I certainly hope so, but my draw efforts wouldn’t be there next year, I’ll be applying for a Cow Tag, I think. I just can’t get by that Sustainability thing I guess.

    Or maybe I’ll try for something up north, where it’s just those 'little' Grizzlies wandering around.
    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 !

  8. #8
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak

    Default She can get the work done.....

    So, in looking back on it all, my plan had been to take an animal early enough to get butchered and away from the killsite, the meat all bagged and tarped for low smell factor, then surrounded by a bear fence before dark on the day of the kill.

    So, did I make a mistake taking a shot at 5:30pm?
    Did I miss it, by not taking a 154 yd shot at a nice bull bedded with only neck visible, at 10:30am, or.......,
    Did I make a good choice on a stalk that resulted in a 54 yd instant kill, no tracking, but late, if there had been need for it.
    Would the 154 yd shot have dropped one with lots of time to work?

    All That Hanging on the Flight Of A Bullet……….

    Did the choice of Leather Boots in Coastal High Country cost me the endurance to butcher late into the night or get back the next morning. Would a Bear have been on it by morning anyway?
    Would I have wanted to try butchering late into the night by headlamp anyway? Should I have packed the Bear Fence on the hunt, already full of survival gear, it’s hard to throw another thing like that in.

    Huntin’ in Alaska is like that I guess, a whole lot of factors in the mix, prepared enough, hoping to be making all the right decisions.

    Any and All Criticism, Very Welcome, by the way,……. well, maybe not on the Solo aspect, there’s no way I’d take that back, ……………………now next year? Yea, ok, I’ll probably rethink that a bit.

    But I can say this, We got a Jag of Fine tasting meat in our freezer, and my much better half, a born and raised Kodiak Girl is quick to remind me of the many stories of hunters losing entire Elk to menacing Bears, most try to get a high percentage out and only a few get much luckier.

    She did that, ‘Look me right in the eye,’ deal, “I’m glad you didn’t try to get in there for more of that meat. It’s not the way that works up there.”
    (She had actually slipped that in to conversation on the prehunt planning also, a few stories she knew of guys, like her Dad and Grandpa included, having to leave some behind with the Bears, just to make sure I wasn’t operating with too much bravado, I guess)

    Yes, She’s pretty smart, and can get the work done too,

    She dives right in and brings the boys right along with her, they think this part is a blast, feeding the grinder. “Quit botherin’ us with that camera Dad, we’re working here.”

    These are Fine Boys, Keegan and Logan, Carnivorous Too.............

    She’s quick to value this stuff at the cost of Organic Meat in Safeway $6 something/pound, and only asked once how much I paid for my latest rifle, not even once about all the reloading supplies……
    It’s just the accepted cost of the Best Meat available for her boys. As well as some R&R for the Older Boy.

    And there she is, Amy, probably not so happy about being posted on an internet hunting site but she is too key to the success to leave out.

    She’s using the “Family Meat Grinder,” that her Mom gave to ‘her’ parents when she was in college,
    That’s not a Cabelas model, It’s Sears and Roebuck, Circa 1964 or so, and still grinding pretty well.

    She runs it through twice and she is adamant, “No, we don’t add Any Fat to wild game meat in this kitchen.” Those first Elk Burgers that night were mighty fine, maybe the best wild game I’ve had ?

    Now That’s a Generational Blessing coming down the line, and my boys are moving right into it with fervor.
    Playing Hunter is a big one around the here, and they loved playing “Hunter Pose,” and said nothing but, “Whoa,” at the first site of that rack “

    We’re all pretty Thankful for this Draw Hunt Elk Harvest.

    The Kodiak Archipelago, "One Fine Place To Raise Boys, and Feed ‘em Right."

    and Amy would laugh if I finished with one of our favorite quotes from some movie we saw once,
    “Enjoy Your Meat Boys.”
    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 !

  9. #9
    Member icb12's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008



    Well done! Heckuva story.

    I like to use waterproof socks in my leathers when the terrain calls for something more than xtratufs.

  10. #10
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    power commuting twixt the valley and anchorage


    I didn't know there were elk in Anchorage. What part of Anchorage is Raspberry in?

    Nice hunt there Mr. kodiak rain

  11. #11
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    67 mi E of Cantwell, 68 mi W of Paxson


    Wow! That is one great story! I recognize exactly where you were at in the pictures from my 2008 Raspberry hunt! The hardest hunt of my life, but we were successful, and luckily held off the bears. Really good story, and I couldn't stop reading it.

    Experience Real Alaska!

  12. #12
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    South Central

    Default Danner boots

    My first pair of serious boots were Danners. Bought them while living on Adak nearly 30 years ago. They were the envy of all my buddies since I was usually the only one of the group with dry feet after a weekend of tundra stomping. Those boots were perfect in the Adak style of trundra over rocks cut with lots of small streams.

    They remained water proof with their Gore-Tex liners for about four years. The left boot near the instep gave out and started leaking. Even walking through dew wet grass my foot would be soaked in less than a hour.

    They are buried in some dark corner of the garage now I think....not really sure....

    Seriously nice write up. An AOD classic.

  13. #13


    Now that's hunting my friend! Thank you for sharing the wonderful story and great photos!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I love the story and pictures, absolutely no criticism from me. There are always 20/20 hindsight moments on a hunt, it just the way life is. Congratulations on a very well earned trophy!

  15. #15


    Great story. Glad you're ok and you were still able to recover some of the meat and your antlers. Thanks for sharing.


  16. #16
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Fabulous trophy and you lived to tell...great solo adventure with plenty for all of us to think on.
    Thanks for posting...
    Proud to be an American!

  17. #17
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska


    Thats an amazing hunt report! I have no comments and think you did everything right so stop beating yourself up about it. Murphy is always out there and anything can happen no matter how well one prepares for things. Its nice seeing you and your family enjoying that well earned elk meat! Love the pic of your boys with the antlers, hunters for sure.

  18. #18
    Member ducks n' dogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Kodiak, AK


    Great write up!
    Sounds like an awesome hunt and memories that will last a life time. Thanks for including the family in your story... the ones we love play such a big role in our success as hunters whether or not they are out in the field with us makes no difference. There's nothing in this world that works better to bring life into perspective and remind us as to what is truly important than venturing afield.

    "Thankfulness pours out of my soul."

    This is the best line in the whole thing really sums it up ....

    glad you made it back in one piece!

  19. #19
    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    North Pole


    Very well done sir, thanks for taking the time to right it up and stopping to take the pictures!

  20. #20
    Member northriver21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Wow, what a read that was!!!!

    That was one heck of a story. You definitely earned that elk, nice to see the story from beginning to meat in the freezer end.
    Getting those boys involved is great. Soon you will have your little packers trained but be careful or they'll be out-shooting you dad.


    +1 if I could, but I have to spread it around some more.

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