Mission: Alaska Slam

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, big game hunting, DIY hunting, Hunting Culture

Mission: Alaska Slam – To harvest moose, sheep, grizzly bear, caribou, and black bear, un-guided, in one Alaskan hunting season.

I have attempted the Alaska Slam Mission before in 30 days(video link);however, was not successful. This took me back to the drawing board for more planning.

My custom Alaska hunting vehicle aka... the "Bus Tank"

My custom Alaska hunting vehicle aka… the “Bus Tank”

I have since made my own custom Alaskan hunting vehicle complete with bunks, game processing, deep freezer, and even a handicap lift to pick up heavy loads of game meat. This will allow me to take my Alaska hunting to a new level.

Is the Alaska Slam New? Has it ever been done before? There is a term called “columbusing“, which is the art of discovering something that is not new. Just as Columbus “found” America when in reality the Native Americans roamed the lands long before, people today are “finding” new ways of doing things in the modern era. Outdoorsmen and sportsmen’s are groups of these modern day explorers, who dream of discovering beautiful places still wild and free. Residents of Alaska have an amazing opportunity to explore these last remaining wilderness year round through hunting, fishing, and trapping. Vast open land to pursue big game. Local Alaskan hunting legends chase sheep on uncharted glaciers and explore areas never believed possible. Its the opportunity to find “new” hunting territory, discover “unknown” valleys, climb “unnamed” mountains, and navigate wild raging rivers that draws modern day sportsman to the last frontier.  As opposed to traditional pioneers using dugout canoes, moose hide rafts, and long foot travel, modern day sportsmen can travel the vast landscape by air plane, ATV, horse back, power boat, raft, packraft, bicycle, vehicle, motor cycle, on foot, and etc. To say the least there are a few ways to travel around and columbus your own little chunk of Alaska putting your feet into your own “no-mans land”.

Hunting in Alaska is a culture, a culture that I share and am deeply connected to.  There are many different sub cultures within the hunting community such as subsistence hunters, meat hunters, trophy hunters, observers, etc but for now we will generalize the Alaskan hunting culture.  In todays modern society, Alaskan’s afforded the opportunity to live in a semi-urban environment and purchase groceries from the local Fred Meyer(or Cubbies) grocery store. I’m no different, I buy groceries, I just try to keep my purchases coming from the plant based whole foods sections.  I like to supplement these purchases with my own organic red meat harvested from the land. There are also Alaskans who rely solely on hunting their own red meat, growing their own produce, and or harvesting/gathering goods to provide sustenance through the winter.  Locals from all around the state share something in common, they fill their own freezers with the abundant bounty of wild game harvested from the land.  Resident hunters in Alaska, while filling their stomaches and freezers with raw groceries may have unknowingly completed the Alaska Slam.  The Native American populations of Alaska have depended upon thriving big game populations and fish species as a way of survival and life.   They have traveled this land and rafted the same rivers we raft today with modern rafting equipment, only difference is the Athabascan rafts were made of the hide of a freshly harvested moose.  We have the advancement of plastics and man made materials to help us find new ways to re-explore and pioneer new methods in Alaska.  But are those methods all that new or are we just modern day Columbus imitators, or in our particular case “modern hunters”?

My goal is to escape the grocery store(as much as possible) and source my meat on my own terms. mainly using stick and string, and bullet when necessary, on the adventures of a lifetime. Provide food that promotes a healthy active lifestyle while still connecting to the roots of humanity as a hunter, gatherer, and provider.  How am I columbusing?  The Alaska Slam is nothing new, non-residents and residents of the Alaska have the opportunity to obtain the Alaska Slam every year.  There is no banners, or parties for those who are successful or those who have accomplished this in the past. What you get out of harvesting any of the Big-Five species is a plethora of beautiful game meat to fill your freezer and more potlatches than you can possibly plan for your clan in one year. In my opinion the meat value is the trophy value. After all, you can’t eat antlers or horns very easily….  Its a goal to strive for, a challenge for the thrill seeker.  This is not for the faint of heart and if your a non-resident certain species require a guide.  Attainable yes, according to the Alaska rules and regulations you can harvest all of these animals the caviot being there are specific rules and regulations in place for each animal. My reasons for the going after the Alaska slam is that I want to fill my freezer on my own terms, harvesting any big game animal in one season is a blessing let alone five different species. You have many opportunities to hunt big game and explore different parts of the state you just have to know all of the rules, regulations, and have a solid game plan for departure and return.

Am I doing anything new in the hunting culture?  The indians were doing it long before the advent of gunpowder and western settlers.  Like I said, many have completed the Alaska Slam and didn’t want anything from the accomplishment other than having food for the table for their families. The real reason I head a field is for the adventure, the best part of the hunt is simply immersing yourself in the outdoor experience. But we as explorers and modern day adventurers will always dream of columbusing our own destinies.  If your a hunter from the “lower 48″, find yourself reading this article Alaskan adventures are not out of your budget….You can book a 30 day trip to Alaska and start meticulously planning like a mad man for the adventure of a lifetime, and keep the hunt costs down.  Non-residents can harvest moose, black bear, caribou, black tailed deer, and wolves all without a guide so get out their and get after it!  If you have planned and executed a DIY back country elk hunt, you can come to Alaska and hunt moose nearly the same way. Bottom line, there still exist massive opportunities to hunt the wild AK for your dream animal.

I am chasing the Alaska Slam again hopefully filling my freezer, this year I am doing it out of the fully customized Mission Alaska “Bus-Tank”…..Take that “Colum-bus”….

Adventure is out there, are you?

ACC 48

 

-Austin Manelick

 

Make sure to check the regulations before heading afield: its a good idea to keep a copy of the Game Regulations with you at all time on the hunt. Know the law and enjoy the wonderful opportunity we have as hunters.  The links below will take you to the Alaska department of fish and game website where you can buy your hunting licenses, tags, apply for permits, etc.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/06/328466757/columbusing-the-art-of-discovering-something-that-is-not-new

http://www.alaskanative.net/en/main-nav/education-and-programs/cultures-of-alaska/athabascan/

 

This one is for all of the out-of-staters……

Plane flight roundtrip: $600

Truck rental: $400 per week

Non-resident tags and license: $80+ $400 moose tag

Fuel:$1,000         Food:$300

Total: $2,780

Adventure of a lifetime on a DIY Alaskan Moose Hunt: Priceless

Venison Summer Brats: Just in “Thyme” for Independence Day

Butchering, Field Producer, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, Sausage Making, The next generation, traditional archery, wild game, wildlife

Summer is here and on these warm beautiful days, I immediately think of brats on the grill. I know warmer days are coming soon and with Independence Day just around the corner, I started to make some venison sausages with ingredients that needed to be harvested from the garden.

Ready For The Grinder

Ready For The Grinder

Grind #1

Grind #1

Fresh Herbs From The Garden

Fresh Herbs From The Garden

Thyme, Hot & Spicy Oregano, Parsley

Thyme, Hot & Spicy Oregano, Parsley

The Final Blend

The Final Blend

Casing is Ready

Casing is Ready

Finished Sausage

Finished Sausage

 

Ready For The Grill

Ready For The Grill

- Jon Dykes

@realjondykes

Enjoy your venison….

“Happy Independence Day America”!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States)

July 4th, 1776, the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

British Columbia Winter Kootenay Billy Hunt

big game hunting, Camera, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, game processing, guns, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, nature, Rifles, Survival, unguided hunting, wildlife

On a recent hunt in British Columbia I met several of the most elite big game hunting guides you can find across the globe, the following article tracks the personal adventure of one of these world famous guides on a quest to harvest a BC mountain billy goat.  While I was filming at Sean Lingl’s Canadian Guide Outfitters I was introduced to Aaron Parrotta, he was guiding another group of hunters in camp so we did not get to personally hunt with him.   Although we didn’t get to spend time in the field with Aaron we did manage to find some time at the lodge to share stories and build friendships.   Aaron, along with all of Sean Lingls guides, are very talented at finding trophy class animals for clients year round.  When the guides do manage to find some time to hunt in the field for themselves, trophy class animals pushing Boone and Crocket measurements are the standard.

The following article was written by Aaron and chronicles his personal adventures of chasing white ghosts with black horns in the Kootenay’s of Britsh Columbia.  It’s getting closer to big game hunting season, so here is a mountain goat hunt to pump up all the red meat enthusiasts out there.   Enjoy!

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Father’s Day Fun

Field Producer, fishing, game processing, public land, salmon fishing, The next generation, Uncategorized, Videographer, wildlife

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     Father’s Day is always a good excuse to get out and do something fun as a family. So of course Mission AK’s Kalen Kolberg knew exactly what to do when he heard the Reds were running in the Klutina. He packed a couple rods, tackle, and a cooler full of ice then hit the road towards Copper Center with his family. The Klutina offers great fishing opportunities for families. Easy access from the highway and minimal crowds allow you to fish with your family and not have to worry about you or your loved ones getting a surprise piercing.

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        The Klutina is the 7th fastest flowing river in North America so its important to target slack water holes that hold fish and allow a good solid drift. Once we settled on a hole and fished for a few hours we managed to land some beautiful Copper River Sockeye and enjoy some quality family time in the great outdoors of Alaska.

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After a long successful Father’s Day it was time to head back home and nurse our sunburn and fresh Mosquito bites. The 3.5 hour drive isn’t without it’s perks either. We were lucky enough to catch this gorgeous sunset passing through Lake Louise and managed to snap a quick cell phone pic.

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  The next morning was full of itching and moaning along with the hum of the vacuum sealer. The sight of bright red fillets in the freezer was more than enough to take our minds off our bumpy itchy skin. All in all it was a great Father’s Day filled with lots of laughs, bug bites, fish and fun.

kft6Mission Success

Stone Sheep: Inspiration

Camera, camping, DIY hunting, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, public land, Survival, Uncategorized, Videographer

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We are always looking for great hunting stories and individuals to contribute to the Mission Alaska inspirational cause.   Well Mission Alaskan’s… I have found a story and a person who has inspired me to harvest a stone sheep.  Recently I was at Sean Lingl’s hunting operation on Vancouver Island filming a black bear hunt for 9x UFC champion Matt Hughes, while on this hunt I met some very skilled hunters and had the time of my life. Sean has several guides that work almost year round hunting the gigantic animals that roam this island in British Columbia, these guides I would argue are some of the most talented and professional individuals in the outdoor industry.  As for Sean,  It was such an honor to be hunting with the Dallas Safari Clubs “Outfitter of the Year” truly a grade A+ experience and just an awesome guy.   Not to mention that Sean lead us to a monstrous black bear that stretched the tape and the scales, and made awesome outdoor tv  for Uncaged with Matt Hughes on the Sportsman Channel.  Sean has surrounded himself with an impressive A-team of guides that have some great pictures and stories of successful hunts over the years.   Nathan French, the youngest of the guides has some fantastic hunting stories, some of the stories are with his clients and the others are of his personal adventures.

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Here at Mission Alaska our message is all about unguided, uncharted, untamed self made experiences.   We encourage hunters to get out and hunt as often as possible, testing themselves against nature and finding new areas to hunt.  Guides in certain situations are the only way to harvest certain species of animals, and one day I will need a guide to harvest my stone sheep… One man I will call on in the future is Nathan French, first of all he is a talented guide(phenomenal sheep guide), a great writer, and a developing videographer.  Nathan captures his clients hunts on film, and manages to squeeze in only a few days to personally hunt himself and test the boundaries of his limits.   After his guide season he manages to sneak back into the wilderness to fulfill his personal hunting goals, the hunt that follows is an epic one…

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STONE SHEEP:  Gray Ghosts with Golden Horns

By: Nathan French

After finishing a great guiding season with Ram Head Outfitter Ltd. It was time to drive out of the bush with my good friend and fellow guide Johnny Nikirk and head for our next hunting adventure.  A trip Johnny had planned months previous, and so kindly ask me to join. We met two buddies (Omar and Garrick) at Watson Lake and then drove down to Dease Lake where we flew in to a remote lake in northern BC to hunt stones for two weeks.

Next morning we all packed up are gear, got are eyes set on big rams and fun adventures.  On my back was six days worth of food, optics, tent, sleeping bag and pad, and miscellaneous gear.    Johnny and I parted ways to cover more ground.  Omar and I went south, Johnny and Garrick North.   We were carrying satellite phones to keep in touch every other night to relay the day’s adventures. 
Day 2 rolled around and we had spotted several rams already and lots of ewes.  Already 8 miles back from the lake, we continued to push further.  The wind from the minute we started was brutal.  Didn’t matter which way you faced, it was in your face!!!!  and strong!!  We found out later, winds were measured at 60mph! 
Later into day 2 we summited a high plateau and within minutes of glassing, we spotted two sheep far across the valley. With a closer look a 3rd sheep was spotted and right away I knew he deserved an even closer look.   The wind was howling and not making it easy to glass; I was huddled under a cliff just to keep the spotter steady.
After I made the decision to get closer , I was off like the wind.  Covering meters by the second.  I dropped 2500 feet within several minutes and dropped off my whole camp at the bottom by a creek.  We charged up the mountain with the camera rolling; Omar did one wicked job behind the handycam.
A long 2500ft ascent didn’t take long, I had one thing on my mind, and I was determined to get on this ram and nothing was going to stop me.   Peaking over the edge in hopes to be above the ram, there he was 300yards away, feeding away happily.  Without a doubt this ram was a shooter.

With a perfect steady rest I took my time and waited patiently for about 15 minutes for the shot and when it was presented the rest became history.  Ram didn’t go more than 50 yards before expiring and then came the celebration !  BIG RAM DOWN!!
I was like the happiest guy ever. Couldn’t believe it.  running up and down the mountain, hands on my head!  There may have been a couple cartwheels?   without hesitation it was time to go look at what I had just accomplished.
Walking over to the ram he continued to grow.    A beautiful 11 1/2 yr old ram broomed heavy 38X36.5 with 14 6/8 bases! More than I could have ever dreamt was laying there in my hands.   Speechless, and no one could wipe the smile off my face.  

After video and pictures we skinned and butchered the ram and made are way back to the gear left by the creek.   Midnight rolled around and we made er back.   Without wiping the smile of my face, we unloaded the sheep and started making camp.   Then came eating tenderloins from our days success and then followed several calls out on the sat phone to close friends.  Not realizing it was past midnight, I woke my boss, parents and close friends with shouts of excitement.
Next day we headed back for the lake. A steep brutal climb up and over several mountains, 11 miles total and after a full day of grinding camp and the ram on my back, we made it !!  Heavy load, long day.   Yet so rewarding.  There’s no better feeling than laying exhausted and looking at your pack with a ram on it.   I think we had a little camp celebration and waited to hear from the boys on their outings! 

I can’t thank the boys I hunted with enough!  Johnny, Omar and Garrick, this ram was made possible because of you!!  Thank you again!  I cant wait for this years outing!!I hope everyone gets to experience a hunt like this.  I was blessed to take such a beautiful ram, but the reason I hunt and live for it, is the experiences made with great friends and Gods beautiful creation.Get out there friends and give it your all!Peace!

 

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-Nathan French

 

Thanks for the article Nathan:  More videos and stories to come in the near future.  -Mission Alaska

Planning to Hunt

alaska, archery hunting, big game hunting, DIY hunting, fishing, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, public land, unguided hunting, wild game

Once people see a hunter’s deep-freezer full of great wild game meat and taste an awesome deer burger, they often say, “I have always wanted to go hunting, but no one has ever shown me and I don’t know how”. To that I always respond with 2 things.

1. Google your state’s hunter education program and sign up for a class.

2. Learn the states hunting regulations. Each state has different hunting laws and you must know how each state operates. Go to the nearest hunting/bait shop or customer service counter at Fred Meyer or WalMart, and ask for the free hunting and fishing regulations booklet. In there are the rules for your next hunting and fishing adventure.

Those are two big steps to get you closer to filling the freezer.

By Jon Dykes

 

North Slope Moose Hunting 2014

Uncategorized

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Anyone planning to moose hunt in the Brookes Range please be advised, there will be area closures and changes coming in the near future according to this Anchorage Daily News article.   Please read further to see if this affects your hunting plans this fall.  MOOSE Hunters:  Alaska is HUGE and contains a large number of moose around the state.  There are so many different mountain ranges, endless rivers to float, and ground to cover to find the bull of your dreams in Alaska.  This probably doesn’t affect many of the hunters in the south central region of the state, so hunt on!

http://www.adn.com/2014/06/01/3497319/north-slope-moose-hunts-axed-with.html?sp=%2F99%2F100%2F&ihp=1

North Slope moose hunts axed with steep decline of numbers

Arctic SounderJune 1, 2014 

As of last week, moose hunts on the North Slope were scaled back, or canceled altogether, for the fall and winter, due to a steep decline in population.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced drawing permits for moose in game management units 26A and 26B will not be issued, as the number of moose in the two North Slope regions dropped by 50 percent.

Hunters who had drawn permits will receive letters explaining the closure.

Further, the recently extended general season for subsistence hunters will be shortened by two weeks in 26A, said area biologist Geoff Carroll from Barrow last week, while the general hunt in 26B will be closed.

According to Fish and Game, part of the decline is a result of poor nutrition related to a late spring in 2013, and poor conditions during the following summer.

“These are the most northern moose in America, and they’re way up on the ragged edge of habitable range,” Carroll said.

In a good year, they have a very short window to feed on plants between green-up and freeze-up, but the winter is prolonged, it makes conditions even more challenging.

“On top of that, you’ve got a certain number of wolves and bears and so when you have a sudden drop in the population of moose for other reasons, all of a sudden the ratio of predators to moose changes,” Carroll said.

“What we’re doing now is trying to encourage more wolf and bear hunting in that area, while at the same time reducing the moose harvest.”

All nonresident hunting has been axed, while locals will have a shortened season. The general season was extended by a 5-2 vote at a January Board of Game meeting, with the amendment that Fish and Game could cut back the number of days if the population dropped, which it did.

“The reason that the people of Nuiqsut requested the longer season was because of the warmer fall temperatures, which makes it harder to keep your meat in good shape,” Carroll said.

“However, we need to cut back on harvesting. But they didn’t really lose much, they just didn’t gain that extra two weeks.”

The scheduled winter hunt from mid-February to mid-April has also been canceled for 2015.

As with any animal, moose populations fluctuate from year to year. And when there is a decrease, and thus no excess for hunting, hunts are restricted, said Fairbanks Fish and Game biologist Cathie Harms.

“Populations of wildlife are never stable,” Harms said. “Right now that population doesn’t have a surplus and so we dramatically reduced hunting, and now we just have to wait and see what effect it has.”

Harms noted most of the hunting is for bull moose, but a rebound on the population will depend on higher calf-survival rates.

This year, few 10-month-old calves were observed, signifying most of last year’s young ones did not survive. Predation by wolves on weakened moose may have also contributed, according to a release from Fish and Game.

The North Slope moose population was stable through the ’70s and ’80s, Carroll said. In the early 1990s the population was up to just more than 1,500 moose. But the numbers took a nosedive shortly after and dropped to about 300.

“They clawed their way out and we had pretty steady growth and they got back up to about 1,200 by 2008,” Carroll said.

The numbers dropped again and the population started to climb until last year.

“It looked like they were going to recover again but instead, this last year, we had another drop of about 50 percent.”

Currently the population on the North Slope is at about 280-300 moose — as low as the population has ever been, Carroll said.

With nonresident moose hunting opportunities closed on the North Slope, the general season for residents will be open in Unit 26A from Aug. 1 through Sept. 14.

Harms said she has heard from two hunters who drew permits to hunt moose up North, and while they were disappointed, they obviously understand the reasons for the closure.

“Hunters being the original conservationists anyway, don’t want to hunt if the population can’t stand a harvest,” she said.

Hunters with questions about the hunt can call Fish and Game offices in Barrow or Fairbanks.

This story first appeared in The Arctic Sounder and is republished here with permission.

 

Cubby’s Marketplace New Additions: Mission Alaska Wall

arrows, big game hunting, bow and arrows, DIY hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, meat, moose, public land, Rifles, Survival, The next generation, traditional archery, unguided hunting

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For those of you heading North to Alaska, Cubby’s Market place is a must see destination.  A truly authentic Alaskan grocery store located near the intersection of the Parks Highway and the Talkeetna Spur Road, they provide goods to locals who live here year round as well as the busy summer recreationists who come to play in the surrounding Talkeetna Mountains.  This store was opened by entrepreneurial spirited family who roots were started from the Alaskan dream. Greg and Lisa Pearson (2nd generation Alaskans) started this business from the ground up with help from their children Derek, Chris, Ashlynn, and many other family members and dedicated friends.

photo 3Cubby’s is more than a grocery store, it’s an experience.  You enter through the doors into a modern-rustic Alaskan grocery store, where animal mounts and the AK lifestyle is displayed proudly.  Being one of the Pearson’s “other children”, I am proud to say I helped out during the building process of Cubby’s.  Greg has been filling his grocery store with impressive species of Alaskan game mounts since the store opened, and I am lucky enough to have several of my mounts inside.

The entire store is covered in game mounts from animals harvested around the state, if you head to the dairy section you will notice a small section dedicated to the animals harvest by team Mission Alaska.  photo 2-2Here is owners and 3rd generation Alaskan’s Derek and Chris Pearson hanging the moose on Cubby’s Wall.  This moose was from Austin Manelick’s and Vince Pokryfki’s 2013 moose hunt.  Pretty fascinating story of how this moose found his way onto the Cubby’s wall.  Team work makes the dream work, and with this moose it was no different.
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From the river to the wall….

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For any of you adventures north, make sure you stop in and see the beautiful Cubby’s Marketplace!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cubbys-Marketplace

 

Alaska Video: Alaska Is All About the Adventure

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This is what Mission Alaska is all about…. THE ADVENTURE! Created by Premier Frontier Productions this video footage was compiled from adventures across the entire state. For more information check out http://www.premierfrontierproductions.com. Ever dreamed of exploring this beautiful place? This video gives a great sense of the raw beauty and rugged terrain this state is known for.

Thanks for the great music Noble Firs, “Night Driving” rocks the forests in this video. (From the Album Rockoon)
Special gear thanks to Pretty Fly for a White Guy, Barney’s Sports Chalet, Alpacka Raft, and Campbell Cameras.
Mission Alaska