Hunting Whitetails: Part Three Success

big game hunting, DIY hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, Pennsylvania hunting, Whitetail hunting

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.

The Hunt
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.







Hunting Whitetails: Part Two 2012

alaska, archery hunting, Camera, DIY hunting, Pennsylvania hunting, public land, Rifles, Whitetail hunting

Hunting mature whitetail deer is one of the most challenging hunts in the entire world.  You must spend time outsmarting an animal that has developed keen senses to avoid detection by the worlds smartest predators.   Growing up hunting Alaskan big game animals is completely different than hunting backyard whitetails.  Both so challenging is so many different ways.   It’s safe to say that I have had many whitetails in the woods teaching me my lessons and waving me to go back to Alaska with their alerted tails held high.  Hunting this species and taking several proud specimens, I must say that I am a whitetail addict.  Every year I will be hunting these beautiful creatures and sharing with you all the tricks that I have learned along the way.  This is no “pro-staff” mumbo jumbo… No guff, just an Alaskan guy sharing the techniques I have developed to put venison in the freezer.

After putting out one trail camera in a heavily used deer crossing I found out that several bucks have been frequenting my potential opening morning hunting spot.  Catching several legal bucks coming to their feeding area to their bedding area, I know exactly where I will be putting my tree stand.

Directions for the tree stand

Purchasing the stand and putting the contraption together was a different battle, as there were no real directions only a diagram and a picture to follow.

Another legal buck coming through the area.  This guy is on the harvest list…

Putting together this contraption called a two man tree stand.

Hanging the tree stand at the selected tree based on the trail camera scouting report.

Stay tuned for part three of the annual Pennsylvania whitetail hunting adventure.  Opening day starts the 26th of November and it should be a blast!

Hunting Whitetails


Traveling from Alaska to Pennsylvania takes about 14-20 hours, the long travel time is worth it. Pennsylvania rifle season is about to start and I am doing some prep work to find out where to hunt opening morning.

Hanging trail cameras is a crucial step to finding out where the deer are cruising through. Placing the trail camera at the right angle to capture a moving deer is critical. The wrong angle of the dangle will result with a bad picture. You must make sure your camera is 3-4 feet off the ground with no debris in front of it. Sometimes wind will move debris and branches triggering your camera, resulting in a picture of nothing.


Legendary Archer: Arthur Young World Champion Archer Takes on Alaskan Expedition. Video

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This is possibly the coolest youtube video I have ever viewed.  This video shows world champion archer Arthur Young on an epic expedition across the state of Alaska subsisting with only a traditional longbow and arrow.  He takes on dall sheep, moose, brown bear, small game, salmon, and basically everything in between.  Arthur shoots a moose with his longbow, then uses its hide to build a canoe and float down the freezing Yukon River.  He spends times hunting with the Alaskan Natives on the his way to hunt brown bears in Kodiak.  This black and white video is awesome, watch legendary bowmen Art Young take on Alaska “old school” with only stick and string.

Image Courtesy of

Check these links out if your interested.

The Classic Alaskan Caribou Hunt – 2012

antler, hunting, public land

Gunner Hodgson is a longtime friend and schoolmate of mine, going all the way back to elementary school.  Both of us growing up as Alaskans, we know that filling the freezer is a part of life and is a yearly ritual.  Gunner recently told me a story of his epic caribou hunt with Sean another Colony High School alumni and friend of ours.  I asked Gunner to share his story with Mission Alaska, and he wrote us up something special.

Thanks Gunner for your insightful article and congratulations for filling your freezer and busting the dry spell.


The Classic Alaskan Caribou Hunt 2012

It has been a hard hunting season for me.  We spent much of the spring preparing our cabin for moose season after not being up there for a couple of years, so the little bear hunting that we did was not successful.  An extremely wet and windy moose season prevented us from flying into our cabin, so much of our moose season was lost waiting for the weather to clear, and the rest of the season simply didn’t produce.  A late goat hunt provided a good excuse to get out for the weekend and walk through a mass of thick alder and 6” of snow falling on us in 2 hours, forcing us to fly back home to prevent getting snowed in, again with no meat to fill up the freezer.  Luckily, I managed to be drawn for a bull caribou permit.  This hunt really wasn’t shaping up either.  During an attempted moose hunt in an area where I could have taken my caribou, I put my boat into the water, and though it started, it was only running on 2 cylinders and was unable to take us to where we needed to go to hunt.  So far, the hunting season, though providing good stories and great times with family and friends, was just not filling my freezer.

When my caribou season opened back up, my grandfather, father, and I were there for opening day.  This was a Sunday, and due to the area in Alaska that we were hunting, was a road hunt, and there were a lot of people there.  We saw about 20 caribou that day, and saw many successful hunters, but just couldn’t pull our team together to score an animal.  Upon my return home, I was becoming frustrated.  I enjoy being in the outdoors, especially with my family and friends, but it was disappointing to return home and have to admit to others and myself, again, that I had not been successful.  I was fed up.  I asked a couple of friends if they could free up a Friday to come hunting with me, but to no avail, people had to work, or had relatives in town.  Monday night, during an intense bowling session, I asked my friend Sean, who had just gotten out of the Navy and was excited to enjoy Alaska again, if he wanted to go hunting that Friday.  He said he couldn’t, but that his Wednesday was wide open.  That sealed the deal.  We were to leave Wednesday morning at 3:00 am so we would arrive at our hunting grounds when the light broke.  We were too excited though, by the time Tuesday afternoon rolled around, we decided to drive up to our spot that night.

This was an exciting hunt for me for a few reasons.  I had purchased a new (to me) car last January, and I thought this would be a good time to test its fitness as a hunting vehicle.   Almost all of my hunting has been done with my father and grandfather, and I have learned an enormous amount from them, but I am always eager to try new or different modes of hunting from my normal tree stand or sit-and-wait style hunts.  Also, though I had known Sean for about 10 years, we had never been very close, so it was exciting, and a little scary, to go hunt with someone new.  Not only did I want to fill my freezer with some delicious caribou meat, but I wanted to show Sean a successful hunting experience, and I wanted everything to go (relatively) smoothly, not only for Sean, but for myself as well.

We arrived at our spot late Tuesday night in the dark, and parked my station wagon in a parking lot, pulled out our sleeping bags, laid the seats flat, and slept comfortably in the back of my car, doing an excellent job of sheltering us from the 10 degree weather and 20mph wind (though bathroom breaks weren’t that much fun.)  When the sun came up, we packed up our bags, readied our guns and other gear, and drove and drove, looking for signs of the elusive caribou.  It was a gorgeous day out, the weather not having changed from the night before, but the sky was sunny and cloud-free.  After a 45 minute drive in one direction, stopping a few times to glass a suspicious hump, we turned around and decided to head back over the area we had already looked at.  Within 5 minutes we saw a herd of about 40 caribou laying down about a mile off of the road.  Not wanting to be denied my animal, I turned to Sean and told him I thought we should go after them.  In no time we had our gear on and our guns ready.  The hiking in this area was easy, 50 foot hills here and there and low brush with game trails running in every direction.  It wasn’t long before we came upon our herd of caribou browsing at the end of a large lake.  We pulled up our binoculars and rangefinders and saw one set of very nice antlers in the herd.  I should take this time to explain that I have never been a horn hunter.  My primary goal is to fill my freezer with the meat that nature provides me, but if I have the choice, I will not turn a nice set of antlers down.  After a short stalk towards the animals, they began to notice us, and slowly move away, so Sean and I positioned ourselves for a nice, open 250 yard flat shot.  Once our bull was clear of the rest of the heard, he had succumbed to our gunfire.  We walked over to him, and decided to drag him along a frozen creek towards the road as far as we could, then get our pack frames and get him home.  Due to an unfortunate bend in the road, the end of the creek where we had drug the animal, was just over a mile and half from our car.  This meant a hefty up and down pack-out, and a wet foot for Sean when he wanted to use his boot to measure the depth of a stream (the boot wasn’t tall enough, we’ll have to return with more sophisticated instruments.)

After a long day of packing we had the caribou in my car, with the head strapped on top for the ride home.  We got thumbs-ups from the few hunters that we saw on our way out, and were happy to be heading home successful.  My car made the perfect two man hunting vehicle.  I found an excellent new hunting buddy in Sean: hard worker, no complaints, comes prepared.  And I filled my freezer.  I have done this hunt five times now, and until this hunt, none of my pack-outs were more than 300 yards.  This was further, but the meat was well earned, and that makes it taste that much better.  We had a fun, difficult, quick hunt, and ended the dry streak that had hit my 2012 hunting season.  Here’s to the next one!


Archery Video on Youtube


Here is a video recently posted on  Its a neat video showing a traditional bow in action.  Archery doesn’t always mean hunting, its a great sport to be enjoyed by all.

Hunter Safety is the First Step

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The first step to becoming a hunter is to sign up and complete your states standard hunter safety course. Chris Pearson and Bryan Peters have been interested in hunting for a few years now. Bryan Peters has joined me on several hunting trips acting as videographer and second set of eyes. Chris and Bryan decided that tonight they would complete the online portion of their hunter safety course. Hunting is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors while simultaneously filling your freezer for the upcoming winter months.

Hunting is our sport, its a lot of fun, and we suggest you try it.




Alaska Archery and Small Game Hunting

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Today Vince Pokryfki and I took to the woods with our longbows in hand. Getting out to stretch our legs and loose a few arrows turned into a fun filled adventure. Riding Vinces four wheeler above tree line and into the mountains was an easy enough task. Upon reaching our mountain top vantage point we were granted spectacular views of the Matnuska Valley basin set between the Talkeetna and Chugach mountain ranges. With small game and exercise set as our main objective, we started walking through the thickest cover we could find. Small game season consists mainly of grouse, rabbit, and squirrel.

After an hour or so of walking and enjoying our time of solitude, I spotted movement coming from under a spruce tree. The movement coming from a perfectly camoflague grouse, silhouetted against a snowy backdrop the quarry seemed uneasy.
As I circled the tree the bird began to move forward in preparation for flight. I pulled the bow back reaching for my anchor point. As soon as my middle finger touched the corner of my mouth the arrow was off with deadly intention. Striking the birds head, the shot was instantly fatal. The day was a success and once again I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in the woods.
Check out the pictures taken today during the hunt, archery is fun and I suggest you try it.






Predator Calling in Alaska


Longtime friend and hunting buddy Ryan Pauling busted out his fox pro calling system and tried his luck over the weekend. Using the lightening jack call he was able to call in a large male fox, taking him with one shot behind the shoulder. “The foxes hide is in prime condition and will make a fine hat” Ryan said.
Congrats Ryan!


Practice for Hunting Season


It’s always a great idea to continually practice shooting your weapon throughout your hunting season. It maybe days, weeks, even months before your big shot finally arrives. Keeping “dialed in” is always a confidence builder.

Today Vince Pokryfki (my traditional archery mentor) and I went stump shooting with our bows and judo pointed arrows. It was a great day of exercise for both of us and our dogs. We had a blast walking and analyzing potential shots and executing those shots as if we were in a game time situation.