Here are some pictures from the latest USA episode. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to John Depalma Photography http://johndepalmaphoto.photoshelter.com/ and Rockey Mountain Specialty Gear for yet another succesful photo shoot. I apprecaited the arrows for the Turkey portion, thanks Tom (owner of RMSG) you have been extremly helpful and knowledgable with all archery and hunting related equipment.
Both Tom and John are mavens to their trades, manufacturing diligent business relations in the outdoor industry. Thanks to both of you gentlemen for making all this possible. I appreciate your hard work, camaraderie, and friendship.
Also I must throw a huge shout out to Winchester Repeating Arms and Ammunition for allowing us to use their guns during the photo shoot. Winchester has been around for 100 + years and has developed many beautiful rifles and hunting products. Be sure to check out Winchesters new Turkey guns! The new Super X Pump Turkey gun boast a synthetic stock with a texured grip. This was the shotgun I used during the photo shoot and I must say, the gun has grip simliar to a tacked football. Anyone who loves holding a pigskin, won’t let this rifle out of their grasp.. You may even find yourself snuggling up to it at night, dreaming of big old toms and the Super X giving a lucky longbeard a dirt nap.
I was recently invited to be a part of an outdoor photo shoot posed as two hunters stalking through a beautiful river side cottonwood hunting area.
The photo shoot included host of Pure Hunting television program Willi Schmidt and free lance videographer and outdoor writer (me) Austin Manelick.
I had a blast with John Depalma the photographer as he effortlessly snapped perfectly apertured picture after picture. ”Keep the light to your back”, was the photography tip of the day. (That tip applies to videography as well….) He made the shoot so smooth and brought relentless energy to taking the perfect “sweet cherry pie shot.” Thanks again guys for such a memorable and awesome outting in the field together. Your friendship and camaraderie is what hunting and the great outdoors is made of, thanks again for everything guys.
Pure Hunting is found on the Sportsmen channel @
Show them your support! Its an awesome series and a great place to see some of my work as Field Producer. I worked on this series and can garentee once you turn it on you won’t leave the couch..
“Epic-hyper reality adventure television” Pure Hunting is a must see!
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This is an email I recieved after I posted an article asking for your thoughts, opinions, articles, pictures, etc. This email comes from an individual from India, who runs a blog site called greenerpasturesind.wordpress.com. He writes me connnecting my blog with one of his adventures in India, and he shows us hunters in India are viewed with more respect and prestige with more animal skulls on the wall. Here is the email and pictures, humans continue to amaze in our ability to share connections.
First of all, awesome blog guys. I only reason I read about your hunting adventures, is because you guys respect the wild, and more like a part of it. Hunting is perfectly normal, if you do it in a sustainable way and not harming the nature.
I live in a tribal land, Northeast India. Here, hunting is a part of the culture, and at the same time, the tribes have a deep respect for nature which only a person like you or me would understand. But things have been changing recently. A lot of hunting takes place, so that the products go to China, where they make perfumes and what not, out of majestic animals such as Tigers, Leopards, Rhinos..etc..
Anyways, I am the admin of greenerpasturesind.wordpress.com. Received your recent mail asking for people to submit stuff.
Well, I think I have a picture which you would like, which I have attached with this email. It was taken inside a Mishmi tribal house, located somewhere far away in the mighty Himalayas. The skulls are hung like trophies in their house, and the more trophies you have, the more prestige and respect in society. I have also sent the picture of he tribal, who is the owner of the house. All respect to him. He’s been there, done that.
Please feel free to use the pictures.
And keep up the great work.
Firstly I wanted to note how awesome it is to have someone from across the world such as yourself reading my blog and interacting with me. I noticed your blog activity after you comment on my posted article about the mountain goat burgers I made. Thanks for following up withmissionak.com! I appreciate your email and it will be going up today!
This is very fascinating about your views on hunters and the way of life “in your neck of the woods”. It is very sad and a shame to hear of the destruction that “poachers” not hunters, such as the tiger, rhino, and leopard killers you speak of have committed. You know, as I, that this illegal black market where valued animal parts from tigers etc are taken and sold as aphrodisiacs or health remedies, and is viewed as normal by those who consume the goods. The decrease in many species in places like Africa, Sudan, India, China, has led to an increase in demand for animals products on the Black Market.
In the USA, we have many rules and regulations that must be followed by a hunter or consequences and citations will be given. Poachers and people hunting illegally in the US, who do not obide by the hunting laws set forth by each individual state will be regulated by authoritative figures. Each state has many counties and cities, the wild game in these cities is protected by Game Wardens basically wildlife police. Game laws are very serious in the USA, and individuals must abide by these rules or they will receive punishments. There is an intricate system that ensure that the wildlife in the United States is cared for and payed for, payed for by the hunters licenses and tag fees it cost to hunt the animals. In essence, hunters pay for the conservation of animals(to hunt legally), and work with wildlife agencies such as each States department of fish and game to ensure that a heatlhy population of animals exist for the next generation of hunters and fishermen.
Secondly, your mission statement and your blog greenerpasturesind.wordpress.com has an authentic and real message, a message that I can relate to, understand, and commend even being from a different side of the world. Your adventures are amazing and I encourage you to spread you message to receptive ears and minds. Who wouldn’t want to find themselves in a greener pasture? I seek new green pastures every day of my life, everyday is an adventure in my eyes.
The man in your pictures is what I like to call a “grizzled vet” , as in, a person who has veteran experience gained through physically and mentally demanding experiences. Like you said, a man that has been there and done that. Here in the US, trophies are viewed in many different ways, some are disgusted by it, some are fascinated by it, some are jealous, some are happy. I am very proud of each trophy on the wall, not because I feel powerful, or prestigous, or manly. I never place emphasis on the kill of each hunt, as killing is not what hunting is about. The adventure and experience is the catch for me, the harvest or trophy value of the animal is purley in the edible meat to be consumed over a long winter. The kill of an animal is simply put, a physical representation of the memory had on the adventure pursued.
I only wish hunters were viewed here in the United States with more respect and prestige in society, considering their hunting license costs recycles directly into the wildlife programs set forth by the state to keep the environment healthy.
Thanks again Vaivhav, your email has been awesomely informative and perfectly placed into the right hands. Keep pictures like these coming, I would love to hear more on the culture of hunters in India and your culture in general.
Truly great to hear from you,
If you have been reading missionak or following at all, then you would know that MA is all about the next generation and spreading the word on how “cool” the outdoors is. I have been talking with every person I know personally and contacting all of the youth I have met over my lifetime of friendships, in attempt to spread the good word of the outdoors.
I want to thank all of the readers and followers of Missionak, since summer of 2011 MA has grown greatly and viewer numbers are through the roof! I want to thank you again for following and reading my personal message to the woodsmen in all us. If you have or feel like you want to be more involved on missionak.com, please feel free to do so, in fact please help me!
If you have any pictures, videos, stories, anything that you feel appropriate for missionak.com, please email me at email@example.com
Once again, I would love for anyone to send me interesting photos they have found on trail cameras, taken on hunts, taken on fishing trips, taken on antler shed hunting trips. Tell me a story, it doesnt have to be a trophy buck that you have taken I would be just as happy with a picture of a readers first deer harvest of a doe than of a monster 10pt buck.
I want to connect with my readers, help me!
SEND ME PICTURES AND STORIES!!!
Man cave: 303-838-7869
Mission Alaska is not just a blog about the outdoors and my conquest to sojourn the Alaskan wilderness. This blog will also pre-log my past adventures and experiences in different places across the world in which I have experienced different cultures while hunting.
I had an awesome opportunity to experience an African dream hunt at the age of 12, for several years I saved up my birthday and christmas requests in order for my father to come good on his safari promise. He kept his end of the bargin and for my 7th grade summer I would spend a month in South Africa hunting 11 plains game african Animals.
Very spoiled indeed, I did not argue with my fortune of being able to go on an unforgettable life changing adventure. Many men dream of going on hunts to the dark continent, I am very lucky to visit such an amazing place at such a young age.
Over time, sprinkled throughout this blog you will find old school pictures of myself from childhood till now. Each picture represents the memories of the outdoors I have lived which have formed my traditions, shaped my culture, and made me who I am. This post look back at my life, retrospectively gives the reader a sense of exactly who I am and what I have become through my passion in the wild. The outdoors is who I am, this blog helps to explain my method of madness.