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Sharing My Elk Draw with Bear, on Raz

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  • #46
    Thanks for taking the time to write all that up and sharing it. It is probably the best story I have read on here. I grew up hunting elk in Colorado and it is amazing those cows didn't spook at that close range. Cow elk are the leaders of the herd and they usually guard them well. It is not easy to get in close like that when they are not moving. Their guard must have been down due to the rain. I have walked up on many animals in the rain. The sound of the rain and then the lack of scent really makes a difference. You obviously worked hard for every aspect of this hunt and it paid off in the end. Again thanks for making the effort to write it all up for us to enjoy too.

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    • #47
      Congrats on your success. You certainly earned that meat. Climbing mountains, stalking, freezing rain, charging bears.....you got a lot of stories from this one. F and G used to give a handout with the Afognak elk permit warning not to leave your meat over night. My family got one and used a combination of climbing trees and hiring a packer from the lodge to get the meat out quickly. Nowadays they have bear fences which would be a good test of them. I heard stories of trying to scare bears away with fireworks. It didnt work too well.
      I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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      • #48
        On our Raspberry hunt, we got ours at about 3pm, we did as we were told before the hunt and packed all the meat about 300 yards from the gutpile, and put the meat about 4 feet high in a spruce tree. We then spent the next two days packing the meat down to the water. Going back to the meat in the tree was nerve racking, but we got lucky and no bears were on it. There was however sign that bears had hit the gut pile 300 yards in the distance.
        I understand the bears go for the gut pile before the meat, and it was proved to us. Had I been by myself in his situation, I would have never been able to get much of the meat away before dark. Results would have been the same.
        Claude
        Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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        • #49
          Originally posted by denalihunter View Post
          On our Raspberry hunt, we got ours at about 3pm, we did as we were told before the hunt and packed all the meat about 300 yards from the gutpile, and put the meat about 4 feet high in a spruce tree. We then spent the next two days packing the meat down to the water. Going back to the meat in the tree was nerve racking, but we got lucky and no bears were on it. There was however sign that bears had hit the gut pile 300 yards in the distance.
          I understand the bears go for the gut pile before the meat, and it was proved to us. Had I been by myself in his situation, I would have never been able to get much of the meat away before dark. Results would have been the same.
          Claude
          That's Great Info there, the plan I basically had in mind myself, mostly to get the meat away from the killsite and associated smells of gutpile, etc. Thought that would be a safer scene to return to also, meat stashed away from the gutpile smell, etc.

          Brian, as far as trees tall enough, there are a few groves down in the valleys to hang it high but almost a mile away from my killsite up on the ridge(tho I have a hard time imagining getting above the reach of a Brown Bear) but I think the best would be hung for cooling probably low in the spruce thickets just off the ground like denalihunter has done, ( the weather was cool on the ground level, some meat I had stashed in the valley later was at 38F deep inside the quarter checked with a meat temp gauge) after a while, so cooling was not a problem. My main issue would be the smell wafting across the valley or ridge drawing Bears so I would do as above, at least 100yds away and get it in game bags, maybe Game Saver sprayed, and then rig a tarp for rain cover and smell reduction and surround it with a Bear Fence for my packing out time. The meat I had stashed that he didn't bother was only fifty yds away but in bags and completely covered by a tarp down in the brush.

          Vince, that was definitely me that night, worrying even about foxes tearing into my meat. The worst part was losing time having to drop down to the boat on the Raz straits side with that first load and run around the north part of the island to Onion Bay where I could securely anchor and get back up there for the rest of the packing. several hours of delay that was a bummer but not an option, part of the liability of having a boat in very rapidly changing weather and alone so had to make a choice. To do it again, I would maybe consider setting up camp right near the meat stashsite, with a roaring Campfire and Man Smell all around, but also things like some smelly clothes hung in the brush around the meat pile for that night and of course, the Bear Fence. Still need to be seperate from the killsite I think, as the Bears will be there checking something out That Night for sure and I imagine them running right through a Bear Fence for fresh gutpile smell, maybe not for a well stashed meat pile away from the killsite. And I think key is seperating from the killsite and gutpile so the Bear can have something while your meat stash is left for your packing trips.

          On the Mothballs idea, sounds really good, I have heard of folks using them around remote cabins and stuff with good success, and my Father in Law, who spent maybe twenty years in Western Kodiak as a F&G Biologist setting up fish counting Wiers and stuff says "they really don't like fire" he has used flare guns, those little shotgun shell ones, and had Bears just not return after one of those flies by.

          R Rick, I really liked the Gutless Butchering method as in my mind releasing that entrails smell into the air was avoided. My only issue with it was the slower cooling of meat when leaving all that heat in there. It's always the first thing I do to release caracass heat, pull that steaming pile of entrails out and prop open. But in the Bear Avoidance issue, I'll definitely use it again for a large animal like that. Just finish the meat removal right away. It sure was quick and clean
          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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          • #50
            Great report! Awesome stories and details! You did GREAT! Congrats on a hard earned animal!

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Luv2fish View Post
              Thanks for taking the time to write all that up and sharing it. It is probably the best story I have read on here. I grew up hunting elk in Colorado and it is amazing those cows didn't spook at that close range. Cow elk are the leaders of the herd and they usually guard them well. It is not easy to get in close like that when they are not moving. Their guard must have been down due to the rain. I have walked up on many animals in the rain. The sound of the rain and then the lack of scent really makes a difference. You obviously worked hard for every aspect of this hunt and it paid off in the end. Again thanks for making the effort to write it all up for us to enjoy too.
              Luv, thanks for your comments and yes, I was Very Impressed with the Elk's Strategy for protection as a herd, seemed they surrounded the bulls, Cows were always out on the perimeter, and to get past those eyes was Really Tough.
              I think you are right on the rain, It was raining so hard they definitely were almost closing their eyes, but the sound was constant and I believe that was a key to my approach. As mentioned the rain stopped suddenly when I was within 20yds and I knew I was almost too close now. Could hardly move when I could hear them chewing their cud and talking to each other. What Fun that was tho. I think it was just extreme Favor that the King Bull was out on the edge of the herd like that as I could only see a few, they were bedded down the steep ridge and I wasn't going to see any others to look over.
              But that strategy "Cows all spread out looking somewhere different essentially covers the herd Very Well.

              Someone else PM'd me to ask if the spooked Elk on the second stalk, (earlier on the morn of the kill, when they all started rushing through he brush) were spooked by another hunter.....

              So I need to clarify I was referring to the "Sound of a hunter going through Salmonberry brush" to get folks to relate to the comparison of one man to 70 some animals crashing through the brush. There was no other hunter, they spotted me, one of those Cows, and then started rushing through the brush on their escape.
              It was LOUD though, SalmonBerry brush for those not from the coast, is this high extremely thick stuff, maybe 5ft high, the stalks dry out completely and snap loudly when you try to walk through them. Very Noisy, impossible to slip through, just one man makes a tremendous racket moving through them. That was the comparison. Amazing Crash of animals through the brush, but it was cause of those Cows, and all those sets of eyes, they busted my stalk, even as I sat still waiting to fire on a standing Bull

              The picture of Elk on the Hill, is taken an hour or so before that moment and they were still right where they are in that picture, if you look at the brush below that Spruce grove they are above and behind, you can recognize THICK Alder a bit greener in the pic just below the Spruce, then the Salmon Berrry is a bit browner and literally covers the slope beneath them. Look out for that stuff, you can really NOT go through it for long. You'll get whipped to the extreme trying to. Check out the other valley pics and you'll see how that dictates where you can travel in that country, pretty limited.

              But so much fun, eh?
              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 !

              Comment


              • #52
                Salmon Berry, you mean this stuff KR?????




                I have used my smelly clothes to leave at kill site numerous times with great success, has anyone ever made a "scare bear"??? Like a scarecrow for the garden???

                Steve
                "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"

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                • #53
                  Thanks Steve, I was remembering these pics from another thread and going to ask you to post them here,

                  Soooooo Descriptive of the experience,
                  well minus the SOUND of them all snapping as you go through, alerting game for miles of your approach,
                  and then the tops of them sticking you in the face trying to "put your eye out, son" as you sweat and then get tripped up and fall, and then your pack hangs up on them as you try to stand up again..................

                  Great Picture, Valuable insight to the coastal travel. Funny how they don't look tough through the glasses from the boat, then you learn what they look like and "Decide Everything" according to where they are or are not........

                  Notice, over on the right in Steve's picture how the tan stuff looks like grassy slope between the Alder, "so I'll go up through there, avoiding that Alder, "No, You Won't" at least not happily

                  They also reduce walking sticks to a liability pretty quickly, I just left mine on the straps around wrist, went down low and use the brush to hand haul myself up through there or spread the stuff in front. You can do it, but man, Not with a smile on your face.

                  Unless you are breaking into hysterical laughter at yourself and your now, "Loudly Announced to the Entire Hillside," attempt at sneaking through the Kodiak Underbrush, maybe.
                  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 !

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Al,

                    Really enjoyed the read this morning, great write-up and pics, hunt stories like that are what makes this site so great.
                    Mark Richards
                    www.residenthuntersofalaska.org

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Hey Al,
                      Great write up and congrats on your hunt. Thanks for telling the story of your success. And thanks again for giving Zach and I lift to Onion Bay. We wondered if you might be hauling meat when we saw the Radiance back in Onion Bay when we got picked up on the 10th.
                      We did pretty well, bagging 6 deer, but were unable to ever locate the elk herd. We were hoping you would scare them back over to us. We too had a run in with a bear on our last day. Not quite as dramatic as yours but we surprised a decent size two year old and had to wait it out in some pretty thick fog. Either way, we were happy with our success as well.
                      Thanks again for the wonderful write up and pictures.
                      John

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                      • #56
                        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.
                        I think this is the understatement of the whole post. An absolute nightmare trying to get through this stuff.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by RunNFishNHuntN View Post
                          I think this is the understatement of the whole post. An absolute nightmare trying to get through this stuff.
                          Ha ha ha ha ha , eh?
                          Man that is sooo true, no way to describe it.

                          Glad to hear of your Deer Success John and Zach, I'm sure, as I mentioned looking at the colors of vegetation in pictures of the valley, that you guys could also tell, a LOT of that valley is nearly un navigable by man on foot or at least without some serious grief.

                          On my way back the second load through the valley to Onion, I lost the carefully flagged trail I had tagged to use across the thickest part. It was only an hour before dark and I wanted to get all the way through the saddle and back to the boat,

                          man I was bummed, as without the trail, made both by myself and probably you guys, and the Elk/Deer I think, an hour to get out of the valley and through the saddle can turn into several.

                          So I was wandering around, going back looking for those little survey tapes I had hung, runnin' out of light to see 'em (I think the Ravens must have pulled some of those down on me) and VERY dejectedly deciding I'll just "as the crow flies it" and go straight through, but man that was not pretty and I ended up way after dark hitting the beach TOTALLY WHIPPED..... Can you relate?
                          So, I was doing the counting, fifty steps, fifty breaths of rest thing, literally, at the end coming down to the beach out of the saddle, my legs were trying to lock up on me, with a massive pack on my back. Way too close to the edge that night.

                          I thought that was you guys the second day with an Elk down in the bottom of the farthest valley. A long ways from the Bay. You might actually be glad it wasn't, those guys did some suffering for sure to get up and out of there, to anywhere with their meat.

                          Anyway, sounds like your freezers are full, did you see many bucks in there, I was shocked with how few Deer I saw once the hunt was on, I think it was only ONE DOE the entire time?
                          Glad you were on 'em anyway, and it was cool meeting you guys, glad you were Real Hunter types, patience with the weather, etc.
                          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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                          • #58
                            KR, that stuff looks bad but is it really worse that the raspberry rats nest that makes up most of the Zachar Bay area? That stuff looks like you at least can push through it the raspberries would stop anything short of a bulldozer or a brown bear!

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                            • #59
                              The stuff I was "Lovin on Raspberry Island" was a bit thicker than the pics of Steve's (taken I believe near Old Harbor area,) might be possible that we can't tell from the photo how deep and thick down low that stuff is that Flor is "Enjoying" there,
                              It does look about 5ft tall which is the bad stuff,
                              so yes, I think it does get worse as you describe near Zachar Bay, as you go west the trees disappear and I think some of the low altitude brush thicker

                              Serious thing to consider for sure, as you well know,

                              also, the steeper the country it's covering also can make it near impossible to move through. I avoid it at all costs, consider it Not An Option for travel
                              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 !

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                KR....what a awesome write up! Great job earning your elk, not much you could do about the bear.

                                I too have experienced the dreaded salmonberry brush, that stuff is miserable.

                                Beautiful elk and great story!!!

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