Dall Sheep hunting the Brookes Range Alaska

Uncategorized

I have been on several different sheep hunting adventures before, most every journey had at lease one butt puckering moment.  Dall Sheep hunting is extremely dangerous, mostly due to the fact of the steep terrain and unknown ascents or descents.  While climbing up a mountain maybe easy, climbing down maybe be the most difficult or dangerous part.

The climb down the mountain is dangerous as you may have hiked to an area that is almost impossible to climb back down.  This situation of unknown mountain territory proved to be almost fatal for my brother and I.  We were deep in the Brookes Range and hundreds of miles from anykind of help and found ourselves stranded.  After hiking the ridges of brutal mountains all day, Auggie and I decided we needed to climb to a different mountain vantage point. Instead of hiking back 3 miles to climb down the same location we crawled up, we decided (not so wisely) to climb down the nearest safest decent we could find.  We started the unknown climb down the mountain in a promising location, after three consecutive 50 foot cliffs, we knew there was no turning back.  We found ourselves like Sylvester Stallone in a bad scene from the movie the Cliff Hanger.  Danger at that point was at a critical level and we both knew we were in a serious situation.  We opted to not call (from our sat phone) a rescue helicopter to retrieve us from our debacle.  We put our own lives in eachothers hands and decided we need to use our safety rope to lower ourselves from cliff edge to cliff edge.  We ended up running out of climbers rope and had to tie our hunting packs to our jackets and pants, lowering our gear in incraments.  After about 2 never ending hours of torturous descent, one of our packs came loose from our Gore-tex jacket knot tied to the pack.  The pack completed a 3000 foot descent in almost 5-10 seconds, a brutal reminder that death was very evident.

Image

“Oh well, one less pack to carry down to the bottom of a mountain” ahah We laugh in the face of danger, mostly in part because of relief that that pack was not one of us.   A very sobering reality that life could be a short run way.  With less weight and less worry, we made it to the bottom of the mountain.  Many prayers, and Hail Mary’s, maybe a tear or too.  Upon examining the now empty pack and picking up the litter that was tossed from the pack, we found several major broken items.  Firstly, the contents of this pack explain my brother August in a nut shell.  Upon the obvious broken 3-12x Leupold scope and a 350 Remington Magnum rifle deemed broken, we also found auggies broken binoculars.  I had a back up rifle so we were ok in that regards… I also found several intersting items that one should never take on a Dall Sheep hunt.  Auggie is a unique indivudal and sees food slightly differently than a normal human being.  Since Auggie knew that we would be killing a sheep he decided he would pack a four pack of butter, a 1/2 gallon of condensed milk, an onion, and two ornges (not to mention two PB&J sandwhiches).  On the contrary to having an ultra light weight pack, easier for hiking up large mountains, Auggie would bring all the treats from home his pack could fit…. Not a good idea.  His exploded pack had a 1/2 of milk, smashed up butter sticks, eloctrolyte powder, and freeze dried food, all mixed into a concoction surely to bring a bear out of hibernation.  Auggie became a moving scent stream, the equivalent to a bear hot-pocket..

We were happy to have our lives and another shot at harvesting a Dall Sheep, we left our location of “Death Valley” with new energy.  We ended up not killing a sheep that trip, however we learned a very valuable lesson of respect for the mountains and trust in eachother.  We couldn’t have been happier to snap this picture.  Relieved to have our lives.

Anyone else out there had a similar hunting situation while in the mountains?

Annual Family Moose Hunt: Youtube video attached of the 2010 “Freezer Filling” Moose Harvest

Uncategorized

The youtube video attached below is my Manelick family (& Mom Dr. Natalie Beyeler) annual moose hunt.  Natalie is usually behind the scenes and attempts to hide a little bit from the camera, but during this webisode we caught Natalie on film in her element.  Our family has a packstring of horses, actually they are recreational riding horses until fall when we throw the pack paniers on them and make them “boss up” moose hind quarters out of the field.  That being said, our trained yet un-trained horses usually fare well with the heavy loads.  However, that does not guarantee that we wouldn’t have at least one mountain rodeo before the moose meat makes it back to the truck.

Image

Austin, August, Sarah, Natalie, and Koala Bear(family dog) took family friend and ranch manager of Allegheny Whitetails Robby Carlson along for his first shot at an Alaskan Moose.  The 10 mile one way trip into the wilderness only helps our family move away from hunting pressure into better populated areas.  August and Sarah would be one hunting team, Austin and Robby would be the other hunting team, while Natalie would be doing the hardest work of horse whisperererereereer.  Natalie had the most important job of keeping the horses and our transportation from running away without the moose on their backs.  Auggie, Sarah, Austin, and Robby would have the easy job of walking on foot to find a legal moose.  As Austin would be the videogapher of the trip, he and Robby would take off a different direction then Auggie and Sarah to cover the most ground.  It doesn’t take to long before Austin and Robby spot a legal moose and begin the 350 Remington Magnum fireworks toward the perfect “freezer filling” spike fork.  

Image

CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE LINK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwrq3SNLXF8&feature=channel&list=UL

The Next Bear Grylls or Jim Shockey? Survival of the Fittest: Alaska Youtube Video attached:

Uncategorized

Survival of the Fittest: Alaska  Youtube Video attached: The Next Bear Grylls or Jim Shockey?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbmVQCH1mQg

Chicaco(Alaska Green Horns, newbies, or rookies) or  “lowers 48” as Alaskan residents call them, usually travel to Alaska with a dream in mind.  “I want to go to Alaska and live off the land”.  I want to hunt and forage for myself, and live the subsistence Alaskan culture live style.   Why this may be prosperous in some regards, such as smoked salmon, mountain raised moose roast, caribou sausage, black bear stew, Halibut chowder, etc.  Each one of those delicacies mentioned before takes a great deal of effort and sacrifice to provide sustenance for the long winter months.  Freezer filling in Alaska takes hard work, but if you find a 50+ bull moose that means meat for the entire year.  A bull moose can feed an entire family, and several friends and other families too( if your lucky enough to be friends with a hunter)…

These freezer filling adventures, naturally will teach you the ways of the wild and how unforgiving yet plentiful mother nature can be.  Hunting and fishing in Alaska, well, anywhere for that matter teaches you how to survive.  However when your in Alaska, hunters generally find themselves hundreds of miles from home or any human existence for that matter.  This means you have to be prepared for everything, including food shortages, emergency situations, medical matters, etc.   Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  But if you plan for your weaknesses to show through, you can be prepared to minimize damage and MacGyver your way to safety.  

 Image

Take for example, this past fall I was on a Dall Sheep hunt. This hunt was the third leg of a 30 day expedition through Alaskas wilderness attempting to harvest the big five game animals.  The hunt plan was simple. Ride mountain bikes 10 miles down an ATV trail, hike up a 4000ft mountain and harvest a Dall Sheep Ram.  However, I planned to pack my food light, so my trek in and out would be easier with the lighter weight(plus I would have a full Dall sheep with me on the way back).  The plan was to forage berries and small game if necessary, when ever possible.  Half way through our mountain bike ride I started to feel hungry from the calories burned while biking.  I did not want to dive straight into my protein bars or trail mix bag, so I decided to get creative.  While carrying my bike over a swamp bog (from ATV ruts) I caught a glimpse of movement and new right away I had secured a protein snack.  I picked up the frog, crunched him into my molars, and produced a new carbon cycle.  The calories were much needed for the hike, and I found out raw frog is quite bitter tasting.

Do what you have to do, but above all else, SURVIVE.  Sometimes the dream of survival off the land in Alaska is not as glamorous as an outsider would think.  A little crazy, but just an example and real world application of survival.

AM

YOUTUBE LINK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbmVQCH1mQg

Austin Manelick Teams up with John Depalma Photography and Rocky Mountain Specialty Gear.

antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, big game hunting, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, nature, Rifles, small game, The next generation, traditional archery, Uncategorized, unguided hunting, Whitetail hunting, wildlife

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Austin Manelick

My First Moose: “67.5” Aniak Alaska Monster.

Uncategorized

Image

Who would have thought my first moose would be the pinnacle of my hunting career, reaching my peak at 12 years old… My father took me for my first moose in the most wild of places, Aniak Alaska.  No place for a 12 year old, at least with out a rifle.

Image

Make no mistake, my small Colony Middle School body was athletic and ready to shoulder a 350 Remington Magnum lobbying 225 Barnes X bombshells toward massive targets.   I still have the Barnes X bullet that harvested that moose, still in the same condition (a perfect X) as the day we recovered the bullet from the bulls opposite shoulder.

I still remember the experience as if it was yesterday.  It was literally the last hour, of the last day, of the last minute we could be hunting.  I had to travel back to Palmer Alaska via bush plane for a middle school football game, and of course the 6th grade.  I had already harvesedt a beautiful mountain caribou and was happy to go home when my dad Greg spotted bull.

Image

He came to the tent and told me to put on my chest waders and rain jacket, he spotted a big bull.  I threw on my warm hunting garb and jumped out the tent.  We traveled around one mile down from our base camp into a willow thicket.  My father scaped the stock of his 416 Remington Guide Special on a spruce tree, then moaned like he had kidney stones….. The bull emerged out of the willows as if he was attracted to the light like insects to bug zappers.  I turned down the power of the scope just as my father had taught me, the bull walked directly at us closing to an uncomfortable distance.  I knew the moment was upon me, I shouldered quickly and delivered decisively.  The moose would run only thirty yards before jumping directly into a mud bog.  I packed out the back straps as dad packed out the hind quarter.  We ate happily that night and I left for school the next day with serious bragging rights.  Dad stayed for 4 more days to pack the shoulders, the neck, the other hind quarter, and the lastley the the monster moose rack out.  Thanks DAD!

Image

This is why I love the outdoors, everyone from age 12-70 years old can have the same luck and enjoy the experience all the same.  Bottom line, enjoy the outdoors!  Memories like this are out there, you just have to go get them.  Best of luck hunting and always cherish what the woods has given you, even if your 12 years old.  I’m still smiling 12 years later…..

True Sight Media Presents Pure Hunting Tonight on the Sportsmen Channel (channel 405 on cable)

Uncategorized

Tonight Pure Hunting is on the Sportsmen Channel.  This is an epic must see project that I worked on this past fall.  Here are the air times..  

Eastern Time- AIR TIMES:

Monday

 7:00 PM 

Wednesday

 8:00 PM 

Wednesday

 11:00 PM 

Thursday

 10:30 AM 

Friday
 8:00 AM 
 
Click this link to see the Pure Hunting Sizzle Video…. Be prepared to get amped!