This is a cool video I just found through facebook. Pretty epic video from a bear dogs perspective as he works a brown bear in the wilds of Finland. Very cool video and worth the click.
I came across this articles from a few years ago, while I was researching Alaska bear hunting for this upcoming spring. It seems as if, for some unknown reason, there has been a record number of bear attacks in Alaska these past few years. In August 2008, there were three maulings in five days, a total of eight during 2008.
This is a picture of an arrow that went through a problem bears heart, sticking into the river bank behind the bear. The bear was punished for his actions, this bear was noted and known to harass fisherman and their camp sites off of the Skwentna River Alaska. While we were away from our camp site fishing for king salmon, another fishermen coming down stream told us a bear was in our camp. When we go to our campsite we found all our food was dumped/half eaten and our tent was thrashed. The bear slowly waddled off as we threw rocks at him. The next day that bear was prowling the banks of the fishing hole, and I took it upon myself to eliminate this problem bear from potentially life threatening future encounters. This arrow is the result of a bear that lost its life purely from its interactions with humans. This bear had lost its fear of humans, a very scary realization that this bear could potentially threaten fishermen down the road.
The bear mauling article, is nothing new to Alaskan’s. My question is, why were there so many attacks in August 2008? Why were the bears turning to humans? Was it because of cubs in the area? Was it the humans for territorial infringement? It seems as if the humans didnt provoke the attack, as in they never knew the bear was there until they were attacked. This topic interests me, as I am about to depart on an Alaskan bear hunting adventure. Could Alaskan people be on the bears permanent lunch menu? Bears have always been dangerous, but have the people who live with the bears evolved as part of the bears food cycle? These bear attacks will definitely be fresh in my mind as I depart on my 2012 Alaska Bear hunt.
To all the people who check my blog, once daily, once weekly, or once monthly I appreciate your views. I’m glad to wake up each and every morning to make a new post for everyone to read. Usually I can get pretty heated about several topics (the ones I feel passionate about), I thank you for barring with me. Each week this blog seems to grow steadily between 5-10 additional views per week. THANKS!
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If you havent had a chance to see team Mission Alaska’s filming Highlight Reel, then this is your chance. This two minute youtube video shows the work D_A_PRO, LLC has done while filming for Mission Alaska. The clips in this video track across the entire state of Alaska and provides just a glimpse of what the production crew goes through in order to “get the shot”. Enjoy.
D_A_PRO, LLC films in Alaska with no revenue retribution. The purpose of Mission Alaska’s content is not revenue based, and receives no compensation for any of the filming in Alaska. This (DA PRO LLC) content is non-profit and should not be redistributed for any commercial or product purposes.
I recieved a call around two this morning from my frantic mother, crying, cooing, and squeeling a little bit all in excitement for a new addition to the family. Not only has someone special from up above brought our family a new baby boy name Paxson(August and Sarah Manelick’s baby boy), this year we have two special gifts. This morning my mom’s excitement came from the birth of a new foal from our family horses, my Friesian stud named Spartacus and our family friends (Christy Royalty’s) Paint horse named Willow.
Is it ironic that this beautiful horse was born in Alaska and has a star looking white spot that looks like the state of Alaska on his back? I think not… This horse is meant to be an epic new addition to the family and our subsistence lifestyle. The videos my mom shot, will be coming soon.
Last year (2011) I commenced on a 30 day hunting expedition across the state of Alaska for the big five game animals that live there. On day 19 of the 30 days, I would find myself on a nearly 90 degree slope clinging for dear life. I had drawn a coveted mountain goat tag in the Kenai Peninsula months prior to hunt, I was excited to finally hunt a species that has eluded me my entire life. Although I had heard mountain goat hunting was dangerous and tough, I figured if I could do it at 8 years old then I could do it at the age of 23.
These are pictures my brother August’s early hunting career, hunts that I was allowed to go but only observe. Auggie was the trigger man when we were younger, in 2011 I would get my chance.
I decided to bring a Thomson Center Muzzle loader, with 250-grain sabot bullets, Winchester primers, and pydroex black powder pellets. Bringing a muzzle loader to Alaska your must be prepared for the conditions to not only be extremely wet, but down right soaked to the bone the entiiiiiiire tiiiiiiiiiiime. The weather conditions between condensation and rain will turn you black powder to soup instantly. My number one priority would be to keep my weapon dry, and keep my ammunition and black powder if possible condensation free in a quadruple water proofing system. Several dry cloths and paper towels were placed into series of a neoprene gun casing down to several plastic waterproofing dry bags to help keep the weaponry operable. Also I decided to swab my barrel with a dry Otis system rag to pull out the last condensation prior to harvesting my goat, however I am getting ahead of myself in this story.
Jon and I, after spotting several goats from the Seward Highway studied the mountain and the best way to ascend towards the goat safe haven. Above tree line was a series of cliff outcroppings that would protect the goats from predators such as wolves and grizzly bears. These cliffs are extremely dangerous and can prove to be fatal for any type of creature, especially humans unless you’re Sylvester Stallone in popular movies such as “Cliff Hanger”. I felt like I was in a constant replay of bad scenes from that movie, however I would have a hunting pack on and look much more ridiculous than your average rock climber. But yet again, that’s were Jon and I found ourselves hiking up a seriously steep mountain, hanging on to cliffs literally for our dear lives. Taking the first step out of the truck and up the mountain, Jon and I became insta-soaked, our hands already pruned up like we had been swimming in a pool all day.
These wet conditions along with hiking up near vertical cliff faces with hunting gear on, I began to question the sanity of mountain goat hunters and myself. Even though the goats were so close to the road and our truck, they were so far. Hiking up the mountain to get above tree line and in actual goat territory was going to be much more than difficult, something like extremely deadly and dangerous. As if hiking (climbing) was not intense enough, the hunt would again take a drastic change of course. 30 minutes into the most intense hiking (rock climbing) I have ever done, a serious accident would happen. A possible hunt ending accident, with an inevitable trip to the Emergency Room that would curb the enthusiasm of our ascension to the goats.
Having soft hands from the wet conditions would prove almost fatal. As I was using the cliffs to hoist myself up the mountain, I had to check each handhold to make sure the stone was strong enough to bear my weight. As I grabbed a hay bale sized boulder protruding horizontally from the mountain, the rock broke, sliced and crushed my hand/finger. I was standing sideways on the cliffs and could barely pull my hand from behind the rock. After I freed my hand I still could not see it, as my entire hand and forearm were soaked in blood. I new I was hurt badly as there was a mass amount of blood pouring from my hand. I was in a very bad position physically as Jon was 70 yards below me and could not see me. I yelled to him that I was hurt and needed his help immediately; he knew I was serious because I told him it could be a potential hunt ender. Jon after hearing this accident could be a hunt ender, sprinted up the mountain. I shook my hand multiple times of blood until I could find the source of bleeding. I noticed my little finger wiggling a little too much, and realized I had almost completely severed a finger. Being almost in shock from blood loss at this stage, I knew I had to kick off my pack and store it on a cliff. I knew I must get to Jon as I was in a difficult spot to reach and receive medical attention. I slid down several rock ledges on my rear end, reaching a spot where two men could sit.
At this stage I was in and out of consciousness from blood loss, and being dehydrated after an extreme hike did not help matters. Jon made a tunicate from a piece of string and immediately began to work to stop the bleeding and help me. After several intense moments and minutes the bleeding began to stop, and I started to come back to reality. Jon pulled out some super glue and duct tape and attempted to keep my finger from falling apart. Layering super glue subcutaneously to my wound to hold it together, and duct taping my finger to keep it from coming off during the hike down to the truck or up after the goats. After the mini operation and several moments of sober reality, Jon told me “to get tough or die”. “Are we gonna go after these goats or what”? I didn’t say much besides, “throw me a protein bar”. Then put on my hunting pack and nursed my hand (as much as possible) the last 2500 feet of elevation to the goats above tree line. I soldiered through the pain, mostly because there was no real pain as I severed most of the nerves in my finger. The only thing that would hurt would be the possible broken fingers and metacarpals in my hand. I went ahead and toughed up a little and made it above tree line, having barely enough energy to set up our sleeping arrangements. The entire hike was outlined by the intensity of the medical accident not to mention non-stop rain the entire time, straight up downpour.
At the top of the mountain we set up our bivy sacks and hunting packs, underneath a lean to tarp, using the camera tripod as our sole tent pole. We were seeking refuge under the tarp from the rain that had been hounding our entire movement from the time we took our first step from the truck. It was late in the evening by the time we had reached our sleeping location above the tree line. We began to drift off to sleep with the weaning ours of daylight as I noticed a goat moving down a cliff meadow towards our location.
I woke Jon up and told him to put on his wet clothes immediately we had to get in position for a shot as a tall horned goat was feeding its way toward us in an open cliff meadow. Jon and I sprang out from underneath our tarp, using the clouds as cover from the goat to put on our custom white jackets called “whites”. We put on the whites to confuse the goat into thinking we were just another one of his buddies, when in fact we were an extremely dangerous predator with a killing range of 250 yards. We readied ourselves about 200 yards from our spike camp on a cliff, awaiting the goat to feed towards a shootable location for the muzzleloader. I was also looking at how to place a perfect shot to keep the goat from jumping off the cliff in front of it versus falling in the meadow behind it. The goat made the simple decision to stand directly on the cliff around 175 yards from my location with a meadow directly behind him. I decided to ready the Thomson Center for the shot. Swabbing my barrel with the Otis gun cleaning system to extract the last of the moisture, I loaded the black powder pellets and the 250 grain Hornady Sabot.
With the condition of my hand and the fading minutes of light, I decided to take the shot, as another chance may not present itself like this one. I readied the TC and decided to take a semi prone shot, using steep terrain as a shooting rest across the cliff. I aimed and awaited the clouds to once again reveal the goat’s location. A slight breeze moved the clouds fatally for the goat, and the TC rang the beautiful “kaboom” sound we as all outdoorsmen love to hear. The next note of music to my ears was hearing the sabot “thuuuuuwaaappppp” the goat’s high shoulder, dropping the beautiful creature dead on cliff. The last perilous action the goat could make was to jump forward off the cliff versus falling backward onto the cliff meadow. A suicidal type plunge taking the goat more than several hundred feet below.
As the light was fading, and the slippery conditions of the terrain began to sink in, I would make the decision to return to camp in the fading minutes of light to search for the goat in the morning. The next morning we woke up and packed our hunting camp, only to begin the search for the goat. Moving down the mountain towards the goat would prove to be just as dangerous as hiking up, and yet again we found ourselves grabbing at anything to slow our decent of the mountain. Grabbing at times even on to devils (see below), a hikers worst enemy in Alaska next to bears.
Hikers worst nightmare
I found the goat about 1000 feet down the creek drainage where we had shot from the previous night. The goat was completely intact, however in the long fall down both horns were knocked off. I searched up and down the drainage where the goat had tumbled and found nothing. A very disappointing, but very common result of goat hunting. The trophy that would be taken away would be the entire cape of the goat as well as about 120 pounds of “mountain lobster” type meat, a rare delicacy of red meat not many will consume in their lives. After finding the goat and doing closing interviews, the pack down to the truck with meat et al began.
After slipping and falling down the creek drainage, I had more thorns in my knees, hands, elbows, and rear end than I could count. Jon and I would spend the next few days using nail clippers to trim out deep devils club thorns. I still to this day am finding stray slivers here or there, mostly in my fingers and palms of my hands. The thorns however would not be a determent to the many years to come of goat hunting in Alaska. This was a very memorable experience that would end at Alaska department of fish and game offices in Palmer Alaska over the “sealing” table. A biologist would take record of the goat harvest and send me on my way. After sealing the goat and dropping off the hide to be tanned at the taxidermist, Jon and I butchered and prepared the goat meat. We used Auggie “The Meat Man’s” commercial grade meat grinder and vacuum sealer to prepare several tasty ground meats such as, smoked hickory goat burger, teriyaki garlic goat burgers, Ak Chipotle Goat burger, and my favorite Garlic Goat Chapow(a new family secret recipe). Once the goat was completely taken care of, my family would begin packing for the annual family moose combo bear hunt.
Here is the recent webisode D_A_PRO, LLC made from Mission Alaska’s Mountain goat hunt this past fall 2011. Click the link below to watch the 4 minute video. There is a wilderness emergency on this hunt and is a must see. Hopefully Austin can get himself together to harvest a monster goat with muzzleloader equipment.
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.
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.