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Thread: Naked Island 2010!

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Default Naked Island 2010!

    Right after I booked a hunt (well rented a cabin) for November in Sitka for my first ever deer hunt, Eric (my father-in-law) called and asked if I wanted to join them on a deer hunt in Prince William Sound on Naked Island. A quick discussion with the 'one who wears the trousers', and I was good to go!

    We were delayed a day due to 8-10 foot seas, but I left the house at 5 AM on Monday to hit the tunnel time to get to Whittier. Being a pitiful Alaskan, I'd never been through the tunnel and just driving through that was a marvel in itself.

    We got to Whittier before first light and were welcomed to buckets and buckets of rain. We met up with Matt from Whittier Water Taxi, and loaded up. Upon daybreak, we motored out of harbor and were on our way.

    Calm seas, awesome scenery, and a pod dall porpoises were all part of the enjoyable trip to the island.

    We decided on the head of Bass Harbor to set up camp and quickly got the gear to the campsite, the tent erected, and a tarp setup to get out of the rain that we knew was coming.



    A few deer skulls were nailed to the trees around camp, which we thought was a good sign.


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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    After we were setup, we still had a solid half day of hunting ahead of us and headed out to see what we could see.

    Being an interior boy, this was completely foreign to me. I'd never seen such moss and the trees seemed like they were bonsai trees. All the trees on the island seemed like they were fighting for survival and I'm assuming some were very old despite their relatively diminutive size. The scenery was breathtaking and I decided to go take a few pictures which turned into a bit of a walkabout...




    Looking toward the head of Bass Harbor and McPherson Bay

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    I headed up this little clearing, skirting the edges, moving methodically and staying quiet.



    Up a bit farther looking back at Bass Harbor


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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    I headed east for a while and must've been daydreaming and only saw the tail end of a deer that ended up being the only deer we saw that we weren't able to harvest. I wasn't able to move through the thick brush fast enough to see where it was going, and I had clearly spooked it at 25 yards and didn't put much stock into trying to locate it.

    I was making my way back down to where I had left the packs, and ran into Eric who decided to go on a stroll by himself. There was another boat at the head of the bay and I didn't recognize him right away and stood still to avoid spooking the hunter, but he eventually saw me and we got a chuckle out of me trying to hide.

    We heard two shots from a bit higher on the island, and it turned out that Todd, the last guy in our group, had harvested a small buck and we assume the other hunters had taken a stab at a deer as well. We got separated a bit and it was getting dark when I ran into Todd dragging his deer back to camp.

    Taking advice from Alaska_Lanche who had seen the modern marvel that is the Duraflame log, we got back to camp and had a 'rip-roaring' fire going in no time!



    Todds deer


    My wife and I had pre-packaged our meals and vacuum sealed them prior to our hunt. We ate like kings every night and only had to re-warm the packages in boiling water. Tonight it was moose burgundy on dinner rolls. The mornings brought us moose sausage, egg, and salsa breakfast burritos
    Last edited by hunt_ak; 11-01-2010 at 22:51.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    The next morning we set out and immediately met a ton or rain that lasted most of the day. We were going to spike camp for a night a bit higher up on the island and apparently I went up the steepest, most brushy slope on the island and was fighting it the entire way. A few times I had slid back down and was fighting for traction. I felt like a bit of a pansy with my 50 pound pack (compared to most of the guys on here who routinely do 100+ packs over 3000 feet of elevation) and for struggling up this monstrous 1250 foot island, but man I was a bit tuckered when neared the top.

    The island gains a few more feet of elevation northward, and I was making my way to the very top and was going slowly as I was seeing decent deer sign.

    I stopped at the edge of a clearing and not 60 yards ahead of me, I saw a deer body in the brush. I could see almost the entire body of the deer except its face. I quickly dropped my scope covers and tried to quietly chamber a round, but got a bit overzealous and since I was louder than I had hoped, the deer was all over me, ears perked and tensed. I shouldered the rifle, found my mark and sent the 150 grain bullet zinging into the crease.

    I reloaded and could see she was hit well and was stumbling as she was headed toward me and to my right. After the shot, a second deer ran, and I stood still for about 10 seconds listening for noise and a direction to head. I walked about 10 yards to my right and saw the second deer about 50-60 yards out standing broadside looking right at me. I took a second shot and pinned her right where she was. So within about minute, I had bagged my first two Sitka Blacktail. I dropped my pack, found the deer right away, and GPS'd their location so I could come back and dress them later.

    I took a break once I was at the rendezvous point and left to go take care of my two does. Todd was kind enough to come roll the guts out of the second deer, so we weren't at it very long and were back at camp.





    Tonight it was chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    The last full day, we hunted the top half of the mountain and saw lots of sign, but nothing all day long. A bit breezy in the morning, but no rain until about noon and then it was on and off for the remainder of the day.

    I had never done this before, and Todd was the experienced deer hunter in the group and suggested we do a deer-drag back down to the salt. We were tired once we got the deer to the water (those deer feel like a brick around mile 2), and in retrospect, I would've put my TAG bags to good use and made a much nicer trip down the mountain.

    We didn't have a stitch of daylight once we reached camp and found that our tarp shelter had collapsed and after we repaired that, we splurged on a dual Duraflame log bonfire. Spaghetti and meat sauce felt good after a day of hiking/dragging deer.


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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Pickup day was nice (until we got back to Whittier), and I did a bit of beach combing for the kids before Matt showed up and took a few more pics.





    We had a great hunt. Didn't see many deer, but definitely didn't come home empty-handed. A few new hunting partners, new areas, great conversation with a couple of good guys makes for a fun time had by all. Sometimes what you hunt isn't necessarily what you end up bringing home as a prize. This hunt wont soon be forgotten...

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Man, good job on bringing home the meat. I love the pictures of your campsite, seeing those gets me excited for my next wilderness hunt. Time spent around a campfire with good friends are some of the best memories a person can make. Great story and congrats on a successful hunt.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGSwimmer25 View Post
    Time spent around a campfire with good friends are some of the best memories a person can make.
    Very true...well said...

  10. #10

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    Well written write up. Looks like a great time out there no doubt. Can't claim the duraflame idea as my own at all. Learned that little trick from Mr. Stid2677 though.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Wonderful pictures and story to go with them. Thanks for sharing.

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    Thanks for taking the time to share, great pics !

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Great write-up and picts.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Now that you got the jitters out of your system, get on down here and I'll show you some real Sitka deer hunting. I'm running the skiff up to the lake on Friday and will have it ready to go for the next weekend. The bucks are starting to rut so things are looking much better for your arrival.

    There won't be any shooting and leaving for a return trip on our hunt. I don't like to waste any time and we'll work together and break em' down and carry em' back to the cabin. If were lucky we'll shoot more on the way back.

    The peaks around the cabin were hunting on are 3k plus but now they are covered in snow. It's not unusual to hike up to the 1,000k even during the rut. Hopefully we'll have a heavy snow to push deer around.

    Good photos and hunt. See you soon.

  15. #15
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Great summary, Hunt. I'll have to look this thread up when I get home (work computer blocks off site images).

    I'm just curious though... you had your GPSr, and yet the geocache on Naked Island remains unfound after 14 months...

    http://coord.info/GC1XYCZ

    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    JOAT, I hadn't even thought of that! Bummer...

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Very beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing - sounds like a good "wet" time was had by all!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member BIG 27's Avatar
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    Alaska is a great big place but the first picture you posted I have actually been on that clearing on naked island. I hunted storey, naked, and peak island back in 03-04 we actually got a really nice 4x4 on naked. My expierence is to hunt high the bucks like to run the ridgelines and will come down to the meadows at last light when there is hunting pressure. Congrats on the harvest it will indeed be fine table fare for the winter.Deer hunting in Alaska with liberal seasons and bag limits makes for a great way to finish the seson before we have to endure such a long winter. I have 3-4 cords of wood, anew osburn 2200 woodstove with a blower and plenty of coffee, hot chocolate in the cabinets to endure this years cabin fever.

    Big 27
    ďA man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him,and leaving something of himself upon it -- Sir Martin Conway

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    Member BIG 27's Avatar
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    Hunt AK

    Another thing I forgot to mention I noticed in your picture was the ear plugs around your neck all to often we as hunters disregard hearing protection while hunting Im glad to see someone has taught you the lessons about hearing that once you loose it you never get it back. I was an field artillerymen for 18 years and I have been around some of the worst occupational noise possible I am in my late 30's and my hearing loss is estimated at 20 years accelerated. So kudos buddy and teach your friends to do the same.

    Big 27
    ďA man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him,and leaving something of himself upon it -- Sir Martin Conway

  20. #20
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    My father has suffered more than substantial hearing loss (from fever as a child) and now has two cochlear implants that have changed his life. It's a subject close to our lives and I know we have been fairly strict about it from shooting to mowing to whatever.

    That said, truth be told I forgot to plug em in for the first two shots, but had to finish the last doe off and used them. I'm guessing adrenaline, auditory exclusion, and my '06 that doesn't bark too bad helped. When Alaska_Lanche touches off the braked 338WM, it is TOP priority...

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