Here are some pictures from the latest USA episode. Enjoy!
Archive for the ‘Hunting Culture’ Category
Tags: Bering Sea, Longbow Hunting, Nunivak Hunting, Nunivak Island, Nunivak Island hunting, small game hunting
Nunivak Island Hunting and Gathering: New Ultimate Survival Alaska Airs Tonight June 16th at 9PM ET
Well its safe to say that my longbow was used throughout tonights episode. The eight of us land on Nunivak Island in hopes of providing some much needed protein for our nutrition. Hunting on Nunivak Island has been part of their culture for thousands of years. Very cool place to visit and the people of Mekoryuk were extremely friendly and most helpful. Be sure to catch the new episode tonight for the how to on hunting with a longbow. Humans have been on a mission to put protein in the pot for thousands of years….What’s your mission?
Thanks again to everyone in Mekoryuk, you made this leg of the adventure my personal favorite! Don’t forget to tune in tonight at June 16th at 9PM ET. For behind the scenes look at Ultimate Survival Alaska check out the twitter updates and facebook posts, find us on twitter @MissionAlaska, and @austinmanelick, #ultimatesurvivalalaska.
Tags: carribou, mountain goat, sheep mountain, state of alaska
After graduating with Austin from Penn State, It was our mission to gain experience in the outdoors, test ourselves as young men, and do the trip of our dreams. We wanted to do a low budget, non-guided hunt, using different means of transportation; through-out the state of Alaska for the “Alaskan Big 5″, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goat, Moose, and Bear. The Mission Alaska Expedition was an amazing adventure, and one that Austin, Jordan Auggie, Sarah, Natalie, Bryan, and I will never forget.
As the lower “48′er” of the crew if was definitely a trip where I was out of my element. As I watch National Geographic’s ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’, it brings me back to that expedition. The TV cameras make it look a lot easier than it is. They cannot adequately describe the tussocks, wetness, trench-rot, or blisters that come with successfully filming back-country travel. I wanted to share some thoughts on traveling the remote terrain as a real outsider, a non-Alaskan.
It was definitely like nothing I had encountered in the lower 48. It looks a lot like Kansas or North Dakota, but the wetness and endless tundra of the Alaskan arctic, make it like walking on a 3-5 foot wet sponge layer. Tussocks are hard plant root clumps that make the ground very unstable and a nightmare on your knees and ankles.
I will never forget how foreign the environment felt. After leaving our pick-up truck, we might might as well been walking on another planet. We only had to go 5 miles, but it felt like 20!
As I have been watching ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ on National Geographic, I have been captivated by the scenery of the show and the crew’s ability to capture those images in the remote wilds of Alaska. I have filmed in Alaska and can assure you that the Alaska terrain is the enemy of any electronic device. The wet and the cold can make it very difficult to keep the cameras rolling, SD cards filled, and batteries charged. My hat is off to the Nat Geo production crew for capturing the raw and wild beauty of Alaska.
While Alaska can afford some beautiful weather with amazing views, definitely be prepared for cold and wet weather anytime of the year. Do not cheap yourself on gear! While you can sometimes get away with it in the lower 48, bad gear will ruin your trip and can endanger your life in Alaska. Make sure to check the Gear and Apparel page to see Mission Alaska’s gear tips, reviews, and suggestions.
There are all sorts of terrain in Alaska and a trip suited for everyone. Not far outside of the metro areas of Anchorage or the Mat-su Valley are tons of foot accessible areas. You dont always need planes and helicopters in Alaska to experience a real adventure. A lot people come to Alaska and take to bush planes to get out to remote areas. This can leave those areas crowded and areas that are hard to hike to, but not as far out as the planes go, open to anyone who wants to work for it. I had a mission to further test myself and went on a solo black bear hunt. What a great challenge and feeling of accomplishment.
The Mission Alaska Expedition was for sure the hardest thing I have ever done and the trip taught me a lot about myself, life, and Alaska. I encourage more Americans in the lower 48 to go and experience the last american frontier. It is still very real and alive today. Read ‘John and Joe’s Philly to AK Adventure’. Just like Nat Geo’s ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ shows, for those who want it, adventure lies waiting around every corner.
Mission: Bike to the head waters of the “Marathon River” and Pack raft back to the vehicle.
Just got back from an epic Alaskan mountain biking pack rafting adventure in the Copper River Basin. The bike ride in was a full marathon in distance which is 26 miles. That meant fellow adventurer Brigder, my dogs Pickle, Crixus, and I had a beautiful 26+ mile class 3 river to pack raft to get back to our vehicle. This adventure was part hunting, part training/exercise, part recon, and a whole lot of fun. The pack rafting part of the adventure was definitely the highlight, and if you ask Bridger if he got wet he will be sure to tell you that we both took a few “tall drinks”. The dogs were awesome companions on the trip, and handled the rafting part of the adventure like total bosses. We were looking for potential brown and or black bear to harvest along the way, however that was wishful thinking. We ended up seeing a very large bull moose that just began growing his antlers, we also saw a sow grizzly bear with a lone cub. We didn’t find any animals to take down the river with us, other than Pickle and Crixus. It is always so humbling to be in nature and experience everything mother earth has to offer. One step in nature and a close encounter with a grizzly bear really tells humans exactly where they sit on that food chain. More pictures and videos to come shortly, make sure to tune back in to Missionak for weekly updates. Click the subscribe button on MissionAK’s home page to receive free email updates for any new blog post updates. If you haven’t already liked MissionAK on Facebook and twitter check us out!
Can’t wait for the next Mission…What’s yours?
Brookes Mountain Range – Gates of the Arctic – “The Arrigetch” – Bob Marshall
Need I say more? The names mentioned above are legendary, well-respected, and admired in the Alpinist world of exploration. The Gates of the Arctic are truly wild; nestled among some of the gnarliest mountains Alaska has to offer. To begin above the Arctic Circle and end in South West Alaska with nothing but the gear on your back is a daunting task. The challenge set forth by Nat Geo was to embark on this expedition in an “old-school” style, i.e. no fancy technology. This expedition was a throwback to the early days of Alaskan exploration; a journey that traces the pages of history and an ode to the past explorers who came to Alaska and explored the last frontier with minimal gear and technology.
Bob Marshall was an Alaskan explorer who came to the state after exploring a large portion of lower North America. Bob said it best, “I like it among these rugged mountains better than anywhere else in the world.” I relate to the past explorers who came to this state in search of the majestic beasts that roam this fabled land. Traditional archery hunters such as Doctor Arthur Young and Fred Bear will forever be my heroes. Their accomplishments inspired me to follow their footsteps and live and adventurous lifestyle. For the first leg of the expedition the “Elite 8,” which consisted of survivalists, outdoorsmen, climbers, skiers, dog mushers, and mountaineers, began the journey in the Brookes Range. The Nat Geo expedition was the third time I have made my way into the Brookes Range. All three experiences within this epic mountain range were very different, but equally unforgettable.
My first trip to the Brookes Range was several years ago. My brother August and I flew out to hunt dall sheep. The time spent in the north-eastern part of the Brookes was so incredible and also humbling. I cherish the moments my brother and I spent together in field chasing white ghosts with golden horns. We had a close call with a gnarly feature on one particular mountain top. The terrain taught us valuable lessons in survival…always bring rope with you…at some point you will need it. We ended up rappelling off 50-100 foot cliff faces until we ran out of rope. We were faced with a real moment of survival, we had to adapt or die. We ended up climbing down the last 1000 feet in reverse 4-wheel drive with automatic death to the right and instant death to the left. You can read all the survival guides in the world but unless you go outside and experience them first hand, it’s all for nothing.
The wilderness puts an individual’s ability to cope with their surroundings to the test. It was during hunting adventures like these that my brother and I learned to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Our goal always being to turn our weaknesses into strengths. Together we learned new ways to solve simple problems. These experiences inspired my survival mantra; “team work makes the dream work.” I was much more prepared for my second and third trip to the Brookes Range.
On my second trip to the Brookes Range, my brother, John Dykes (college rugby buddy), and I set out on a quest called the “Mission Expedition”. This expedition took us from the Acrtic sea above the Brookes Range all the way to the Kenai Peninsula, and several locations in the interior. The mission of this expedition was an attempt to fill the freezer with beautiful, free ranging, no hormonal, wild game meat. Being an Alaskan resident we have the unique opportunity to hunt for the big five game animals that call Alaska home. Hunting these animals every year is a part of our Alaskan culture, not to mention the incredible taste and gratification recieved by filling your freezer on your own terms. This second trip would prove invaluable as I learned the terrain, topography, and easiest methods of travel in the Brookes Range the key being the waterways.
My past experiences in the Brookes Range taught me many valuable lessons to take with on the Ultimate Survival Alaska Expedition with National Geographic. I learned mainly that waterways are your friend, and to follow this path of least resistance. Using rafts to minimize the distance of our caribou pack out on a previous expedition, I understood the advantage of bringing along a pack raft. Bringing along a raft would at least provide us the ability to forge and cross rivers, if not to float the entire river to the landing zone. Being as this was a team mission, having a solo packraft would only let me float to the LZ and leave my partners behind. Understanding their need for river crossings help, I stuck with the mantra of “team work being dreamwork” and stayed with the group to help them forge rivers. That being said, I look forward to future adventures with my team members and would do this leg of the expedition all over again.
Check out the gear list below, with these essential items and a basic knowledge of how to use them an individual would be ready to survive just about anything.
Survival Guide Gear List:
-Magnesium Fire Starter
-Knife -full tang
- Fishing kit: Line with various hooks and spinners.
-Back pack or external pack frame
-Water Bottle or container
-Longbow, rifle, pistol, self defense weapon
-Sleeping bag -0 rating
-Plenty of socks
-Food (coffee, oatmeal, rice, beans, whiskey, ramen noodles) what ever you can carry. If you can pack as much calorie dense food as possible.
Facts Courtesy of Wikipedia: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a U.S. National Park in Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in the U.S. (the entirety of the park lies north of the Arctic Circle) and the second largest at 13,238 miles (34,287 km²), about the same size as Switzerland. The park consists primarily of portions of the Brooks Range of mountains. It was first protected as a U.S. National Monument on December 1, 1978, before becoming a national park and preserve two years later in 1980 upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. A large part of the park is protected in the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7,167,192 acres (2,900,460 ha). The wilderness area adjoins the Noatak Wilderness Area and together they form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States.
History Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Nomadic peoples have inhabited the Brooks Range for as many as 12,500 years, living mainly on caribou and other wildlife. The Mesa site at Iteriak Creek has yielded evidence of occupation between 11,500 and 10,300 years before the present. Later sites from around 6,000 years before present have yielded projectile points, stone knives and net sinkers. The Arctic small tool tradition (ASTt) of about 4,500 BP has also been documented.A late phase of the ASTt from between 2500 and 950 BP, the Ipuitak phase, has been documented in the park at the Bateman Site at Itkillik Lake.
The earliest Inupiat people appeared about 1200 AD at the coast and spread to the Brooks Range, becoming the Nunamuit. The Nunamiut people existed essentially unchanged until World War II brought outsiders into Alaska, which was at the time a strategic outpost of the United States. Some of the nomads began to settle in small communities in the mountains, particularly at Anaktuvuk Pass. TheGwich’in people, a Northern Athabaskan group also lived in the area in the last 1000 years, moving south of the park in historic times.
The Alaskan interior was not explored until the late 19th century, shortly before discovery of gold in the Klondike brought prospectors to Alaska. Some encampments of explorers and survey parties have been identified in the park. A few small mining operations were established in the early 20th century, never amounting to much.
The park’s name dates to 1929, when wilderness activist Bob Marshall, exploring the North Fork of the Koyukuk River, encountered a pair of mountains (Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain), one on each side of the river. He christened this portal the “Gates of the Arctic.” Marshall spent time in Wiseman during the early 1930s, publishing an account of the place in his 1933 book Arctic Village. In the 1940s writer and researcher Olaus Murie proposed that Alaskan lands be preserved.
Proposals for a national park in the Brooks Range first emerged in the 1960s, and in 1968 a National Park Service survey team recommended the establishment of a 4,100,000-are (41,000 ha) park in the area. That year, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall recommended to President Lyndon B. Johnson that Johnson use the Antiquities Act to proclaim a national monument in the Brooks Range and other Alaskan locations, but Johnson declined. By the 1970s the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) prompted serious examination of the disposition of lands held by the federal government. A series of bills were proposed to deal with the settlements required by ANCSA, but the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was held up in Congress in the late 1970s. President Jimmy Carter used the Antiquities Act to proclaim the proposed parklands under ANILCA as national monuments, proclaiming Gates of the Arctic National Monument on December 1, 1978. In 1980 Congress passed ANILCA, establishing the monument lands as Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve on December 2, 1980.
Find the Gates of the Arctic on facebook @
Due to work and the daily grind of life, I was unable to hunt Alaska frequently this fall. Knowing that the Thanksgivng holiday coincides with the opening Pennsylvania deer rifle season, I could potentially make up for lost time in the woods. This year Jordan Pokryfki decided she wanted to partake in the annual whitetail hunting festivities. After several days of hard work an preparation, this hunting season was about to pay off. Hanging tree stands, putting out trail cameras, sprinkling doe urine on our feet, you know the works…
I even resurrected the dead this year. I cut off and froze my last years buck’s tarsal glands, thawing them out and dragging them to Jordy’s and my tree stand. This drag mark made deer think that we were just another deer, possibly an old herd member.
We woke up at 430am, showered then began eating breakfast. Slamming three cups of coffee, Jordan, Auggie, and I were ready to attack the woods. Auggie headed to his tree stand, while Jordy and I headed for the double tree stand at the top of Allegheny ridge.
Jordan and I arrived at the double stand around o dark thirty(6:15am). We climbed into the stand and lashed our saftey harnesses to our anchor tree. We sipped on coffee till the sun rose, then began to wait. The waiting and the freezing was the hardest part, although we were determined. The one factor during opening season hunters can rely on is that close to a million hunters, maybe more, hunt Pennsylvania opening deer season. With hundreds, maybe thousands, of coordinated drives, hunters no-doubt move deer. Sitting and waiting a good travel corridor is often the most boring but most successful technique.
Jordy and I waited and saw eight doe run by at mock speed. Then it was silent for an hour or so, a small six point buck came strolling right past our stand at 40 yards. Three points a side is legal in the county we hunt, so I asked Jordy to put her cross hairs on the buck. She did and said, let’s let this guy get bigger for next year. Tapping cou on this small buck Jordan demonstrated traits of a seasoned veteran to the outdoors.
Letting the smaller bucks get bigger for the next hunter is always hard to do, however is a necessary part of being a true sportsmen. After the buck caught wind of us, he took off for the next county. We sat patiently another 4 hours before Jordy spotted two bucks running a top the ridge. I grunted using my primos buck roar and they turned on a dime running exactly for our double stand. Around 70 yards I yelled “burrrrrap” then whistled. After a brief moment of communication I told jordy to shoot either buck as I saw both were eight points or better and legal to harvest in our WMU. They both stopped when they heard my mouth grunt and looked beyond our stand. Jordy and I both shot, with the plan that she went for the first buck and I went for the second buck. Jordan’s shot connected with the first buck while my shot was deflected off an oak tree branch and missed. Her deer dropped. I reloaded my rifle immediately while the second buck pranced across the forest and almost out of shooting range. He stopped for a brief moment only showing his vitals through a tangle of beech nut trees, I touched of a shot and the deer walked off. Climbing down from the tree, Jordan and I walked to examine her buck. A beautiful eight point laying on snow covered forest floor. Being so excited and proud we both hugged.
I decided I had better check the deer tracks and the area of the second buck, as any ethical sportsmen would do. I found no blood, however I did find hair. Following the bucks tracks in the snow, Jordan and I noticed more hair and tiny blood droplets in the snow. Following this blood track another 70 yards, I stumbled upon my buck a beautiful broken tined 10 point. Exhilarated from our successes Jordy and I both hugged again and I cheer in pure excitement. What another wonderful time spent in the woods. Hard work and preparation payed off in a big way for Jordy and I, these sportsmen could not have been happier.
DISCLAIMER: I am writing this article on a foriegn keyboard so I apoligize for spelling errors and anywords that are autocorrected.
Whether it is a week long hunting trip, a three night camping trip, or a day hike the same questions seems to always arise: Who are you going with? If you are anything like me then thats the most despicable question you will ever encounter.
It is my belief that to truly enjoy the outdoors and completely immerse yourself in the beauty and raw power of Mother Nature you have to cut ties with all forms of civilization and really go by yourself. Now some people would say that is a death wish and call me ignorant and stupid. I call it adventerous and exhilerating. With that being said going hunting or camping with someone can be just as fun, but you absolutely need to find that perfect fit. Going hunting with someone is not as easy as it may seem. You need to trust that person completely with your life because if you dont, their true colors will come out in a time of most need. Perhaps not on the first or second trip, but when it does happen it could very well be fatal. When looking for someone to explore the wild with you there should be several componets that they possess such as physically fit, mental strong, a good attitude and a good personality. These are just a few, but the most important one is their morales and ethics. These two things are above all the most important things that you should look for when you find that someone who you will be outdoors with.
You want to be confident that your partner will not take Mother Nature for granted and disrespect her or any of the animals that she allows to live in her kingdom.
With that I leave you to ponder, but stay updated with missionak and spread the word, posts will be coming weekly hopefully so stay updated!
Tags: Big Deer Blog, Camera, Go-Pro, hunting camera, hunting with a camera, Mike Hanback, Mike Hanback Big Deer, Mike Hanback Big Deer Blog, outdoor filming
Ever wanted to have your hunt captured on film, but couldn’t convince your buddy to sit in your tree stand with you? There is a new revolutionary piece of technology in the outdoor industry that is changing the game as we speak. Go-Pro the Outdoor Edition, the all weather, shock proof, ultra small, mega High-Def, bad-to-the-bone camera sees the world as you see it and is the easy answer to all your filming needs. The Go-Pro takes outdoor videography to the next level. Throughout my experience as an outdoor field producer (vid cam dude), I’ve found the Go-Pro camera to be my go-to tool in my hunting arsenal.
Its small size and weatherproof casing makes the camera the world’s most versatile; taking on anything mother nature throws at you. No tools required for the endless attachments provided with the Go-Pro including chest mounts, handles bar mounts (works nicely for custom barrel or archery shots), suction cup mounts, adhesive mounts, helmet or head strap mount, allows the user to film easily and achieve a variety of shots including close-mid range kill shots. The wide angle lens records the perception of your point of view. This allows you to be as creative as you want, or a simple as you want. The attachments for this product make the Go-Pro extremely user friendly and can take a zero to a hero over night.
Seamless transfers to your computer in an easy MOV file, the Go-Pro records to secure digital cards (SD) 2GB,-32GB (gigabyte) cards. Depending on the SD cards storage size, you will be looking at one-two hours of HD filming. Closer to the pricing of the mid level game cameras such as Bushnells 8pixel Trophy Cam, the Go-Pro is a steal. For $299 Go-Pro hooks you up with the HD Hero 2 Professional camera package with all the basic attachments to get you in the field and filming with the press of a button. When compared to higher end videographer camera rigs(costing thousands), with use lighting equipment, wireless microphones, additional camera lens, tripods, boom microphones, the Go-Pro has all of the above combined in a mini user friendly camera. The Go-Pro has advanced settings with a manual book so you can customize your camera to your preferred setting. However, it’s ready to film out of the package after a quick charge.
Throughout my experience as an outdoor videographer, I have purchased one Go-Pro that has traveled with me from Alaska, to Pennsylvania, to south Texas and everywhere in between. This product is rugged and reliable, period. Field producing many outdoor TV shows in the past few years, I have been privileged to meet some of the coolest people in the world. Take for example Mike Hanback, the dude is the real deal on and off camera. We have made a couple whitetail episodes out of Texas with our buddies Sarge and Brandon. Each year several of the Go-Pro shots will make it to the silver screen. Also, each videographer I’ve met in dual cameramen hunts had at bare minimum of one Go-Pro. In my opinion the Go-Pro has revolutionized the way outdoor television productions are filmed, allowing for a very unique list of shots. This product no doubt makes the average Joe a hero, all with the press of a button. The price is affordable for the American working man, and if your lucky maybe this year you’ll get an early Christmas present from a loved one.
Tags: 2012 Bear hunting, Alaska bear hunting, bear hunting 2012, diy bear hunting, hunting 2012, spring bear hunting
This picture is from August’s and my 2009 spring bear brother hunt. August and I, (as well as videographer Jon D) took to the spring hunt as if it was our last. We hunted six hard days, deep in the Alaska wilderness and managed to harvest this beautiful black bruin on film. Bears taste better during the spring, as they have yet to change their diets to the salmon runs of summer through fall. August and I would eat plentifully off of bear backstrap after this harvest as we were nearing the end of our food supplies.
This is a photo of me cutting bear back strap (in preparation of our beast feast over open flame) on a moose antler found during this 2009 spring bear hunt
I’ll be partaking in the traditional Alaska spring bear hunt again during this 2012 season. To some hunters in Alaska, bear hunting is part of their culture. I am proud to say that this tradition of spring bear hunting in Alaska has shaped my culture and parts of who I am as an Alaskan. Every year since the sixth grade (12 years ago), I have been gifted the ability to hunt bears in Alaska. This is a blessing to be apart of such an awesome outdoor culture.
Hopefully after this spring I will be able to secure valuable bear meat to add to my 2012 collection of wild game fare. I can see it now……Smokey bear jerky….. Bear stew…..Bacon wrapped bear sizzled on the grill w/ avacado…. You get my drift…
I can’t wait to head to the field.
Tags: cultural hunting, meat eaters, meat eating, meat hunters, meat hunting, subsistence, Subsistence hunting, trophy hunt, trophy hunting, trophy moose hunt
Hunting to many Alaskas means red meat for the freezer, enough meat to get a family through the winter. Across Alaska many residents practice the art handed down by our ancestors and the cave men before that, the not-so lost art form called subsistence hunting. Each Fall locals from around the state leave the comfort of there homes and thrust themselves into the wild attempting to fill the freezer against all odds.
When your an Alaskan and attempting to fill your freezer, any animal deemed by ADFG (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)as legal under the states rules and regulations most likely will be harvested. As Alaskan subsistence hunter August Manelick would say “a legal spike for moose will taste just as good if not better than a trophy moose.” I agree with August in that the goal of hunting is first and foremost to be legal and secondly to fill your freezer. All though most hunters (including August and myself) will agree that a 55 inch trophy bull moose would look better on the wall and in the freezer than a spike fork (small legal yearling bull moose) would.
The goal of hunting is to fill your freezer and provide sustenance for the long winter months. Taking a trophy animal is a bonus, providing in a sense two trophies the meat and the antlers. The meat of an animal is the true trophy, don’t let anyone tell you different. The hunt is about the experience, camaraderie, and the stories shared with loved ones post hunt. The harvest of the hunt is a physical representation of the memories made while in the field, regardless of the animals antler size. Any legal animal is a gift, take your blessings and eat plentifully through out the following year.
Bottom line, there is a big difference between trophy hunting and subsistence hunting. Trophy hunting individuals hunt usually for just the size of the antlers, bigger is always better. Subsistence hunters hunt for the meat value of an animal. Two very different ball games, playing by the same rules.