Mission: Alaska Slam

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, big game hunting, DIY hunting, Hunting Culture

Mission: Alaska Slam – To harvest moose, sheep, grizzly bear, caribou, and black bear, un-guided, in one Alaskan hunting season.

I have attempted the Alaska Slam Mission before in 30 days(video link);however, was not successful. This took me back to the drawing board for more planning.

My custom Alaska hunting vehicle aka... the "Bus Tank"

My custom Alaska hunting vehicle aka… the “Bus Tank”

I have since made my own custom Alaskan hunting vehicle complete with bunks, game processing, deep freezer, and even a handicap lift to pick up heavy loads of game meat. This will allow me to take my Alaska hunting to a new level.

Is the Alaska Slam New? Has it ever been done before? There is a term called “columbusing“, which is the art of discovering something that is not new. Just as Columbus “found” America when in reality the Native Americans roamed the lands long before, people today are “finding” new ways of doing things in the modern era. Outdoorsmen and sportsmen’s are groups of these modern day explorers, who dream of discovering beautiful places still wild and free. Residents of Alaska have an amazing opportunity to explore these last remaining wilderness year round through hunting, fishing, and trapping. Vast open land to pursue big game. Local Alaskan hunting legends chase sheep on uncharted glaciers and explore areas never believed possible. Its the opportunity to find “new” hunting territory, discover “unknown” valleys, climb “unnamed” mountains, and navigate wild raging rivers that draws modern day sportsman to the last frontier.  As opposed to traditional pioneers using dugout canoes, moose hide rafts, and long foot travel, modern day sportsmen can travel the vast landscape by air plane, ATV, horse back, power boat, raft, packraft, bicycle, vehicle, motor cycle, on foot, and etc. To say the least there are a few ways to travel around and columbus your own little chunk of Alaska putting your feet into your own “no-mans land”.

Hunting in Alaska is a culture, a culture that I share and am deeply connected to.  There are many different sub cultures within the hunting community such as subsistence hunters, meat hunters, trophy hunters, observers, etc but for now we will generalize the Alaskan hunting culture.  In todays modern society, Alaskan’s afforded the opportunity to live in a semi-urban environment and purchase groceries from the local Fred Meyer(or Cubbies) grocery store. I’m no different, I buy groceries, I just try to keep my purchases coming from the plant based whole foods sections.  I like to supplement these purchases with my own organic red meat harvested from the land. There are also Alaskans who rely solely on hunting their own red meat, growing their own produce, and or harvesting/gathering goods to provide sustenance through the winter.  Locals from all around the state share something in common, they fill their own freezers with the abundant bounty of wild game harvested from the land.  Resident hunters in Alaska, while filling their stomaches and freezers with raw groceries may have unknowingly completed the Alaska Slam.  The Native American populations of Alaska have depended upon thriving big game populations and fish species as a way of survival and life.   They have traveled this land and rafted the same rivers we raft today with modern rafting equipment, only difference is the Athabascan rafts were made of the hide of a freshly harvested moose.  We have the advancement of plastics and man made materials to help us find new ways to re-explore and pioneer new methods in Alaska.  But are those methods all that new or are we just modern day Columbus imitators, or in our particular case “modern hunters”?

My goal is to escape the grocery store(as much as possible) and source my meat on my own terms. mainly using stick and string, and bullet when necessary, on the adventures of a lifetime. Provide food that promotes a healthy active lifestyle while still connecting to the roots of humanity as a hunter, gatherer, and provider.  How am I columbusing?  The Alaska Slam is nothing new, non-residents and residents of the Alaska have the opportunity to obtain the Alaska Slam every year.  There is no banners, or parties for those who are successful or those who have accomplished this in the past. What you get out of harvesting any of the Big-Five species is a plethora of beautiful game meat to fill your freezer and more potlatches than you can possibly plan for your clan in one year. In my opinion the meat value is the trophy value. After all, you can’t eat antlers or horns very easily….  Its a goal to strive for, a challenge for the thrill seeker.  This is not for the faint of heart and if your a non-resident certain species require a guide.  Attainable yes, according to the Alaska rules and regulations you can harvest all of these animals the caviot being there are specific rules and regulations in place for each animal. My reasons for the going after the Alaska slam is that I want to fill my freezer on my own terms, harvesting any big game animal in one season is a blessing let alone five different species. You have many opportunities to hunt big game and explore different parts of the state you just have to know all of the rules, regulations, and have a solid game plan for departure and return.

Am I doing anything new in the hunting culture?  The indians were doing it long before the advent of gunpowder and western settlers.  Like I said, many have completed the Alaska Slam and didn’t want anything from the accomplishment other than having food for the table for their families. The real reason I head a field is for the adventure, the best part of the hunt is simply immersing yourself in the outdoor experience. But we as explorers and modern day adventurers will always dream of columbusing our own destinies.  If your a hunter from the “lower 48”, find yourself reading this article Alaskan adventures are not out of your budget….You can book a 30 day trip to Alaska and start meticulously planning like a mad man for the adventure of a lifetime, and keep the hunt costs down.  Non-residents can harvest moose, black bear, caribou, black tailed deer, and wolves all without a guide so get out their and get after it!  If you have planned and executed a DIY back country elk hunt, you can come to Alaska and hunt moose nearly the same way. Bottom line, there still exist massive opportunities to hunt the wild AK for your dream animal.

I am chasing the Alaska Slam again hopefully filling my freezer, this year I am doing it out of the fully customized Mission Alaska “Bus-Tank”…..Take that “Colum-bus”….

Adventure is out there, are you?

ACC 48

 

-Austin Manelick

 

Make sure to check the regulations before heading afield: its a good idea to keep a copy of the Game Regulations with you at all time on the hunt. Know the law and enjoy the wonderful opportunity we have as hunters.  The links below will take you to the Alaska department of fish and game website where you can buy your hunting licenses, tags, apply for permits, etc.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/06/328466757/columbusing-the-art-of-discovering-something-that-is-not-new

http://www.alaskanative.net/en/main-nav/education-and-programs/cultures-of-alaska/athabascan/

Check guide requirements

This one is for all of the out-of-staters……Self-guided hunting IS possible, it’s much more difficult but you with the correct planning an Alaska DIY hunt is possible.

Plane flight roundtrip: $600

Truck rental: $400 per week

Non-resident tags and license: $85+ $400 moose tag

Fuel:$1,000         Food:$300

Total: $2,785

Adventure of a lifetime on a DIY Alaskan Moose Hunt: Priceless

 

Planning to Hunt

alaska, archery hunting, big game hunting, DIY hunting, fishing, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, public land, unguided hunting, wild game

Once people see a hunter’s deep-freezer full of great wild game meat and taste an awesome deer burger, they often say, “I have always wanted to go hunting, but no one has ever shown me and I don’t know how”. To that I always respond with 2 things.

1. Google your state’s hunter education program and sign up for a class.

2. Learn the states hunting regulations. Each state has different hunting laws and you must know how each state operates. Go to the nearest hunting/bait shop or customer service counter at Fred Meyer or WalMart, and ask for the free hunting and fishing regulations booklet. In there are the rules for your next hunting and fishing adventure.

Those are two big steps to get you closer to filling the freezer.

By Jon Dykes

 

Spring DIY Grizzly Hunt 2014

alaska, bears, big game hunting
Glassing for grizzlies in spring 2013

Glassing for grizzlies in spring 2013

From a capsized boat in a glacier lake to pack rafting in freezing rivers all the way to having a grizzly bear as your wake up call, my previous grizzly hunts have been anything, but normal (if there is such a thing in Alaska). This time around I don’t expect anything less. I am heading down to the Kenai Peninsula this year where the bears are out in full force. The Alaska Department of Fish and game recently changed the hunting regulations in the Kenai Peninsula to increase hunting opportunities for Grizzly enthusiasts. I will be going to a spot that Mission Alaska founder, Austin Manelick, and myself scouted out throughout the years. We saw a plethora of black bears and a decent amount of grizzly bears on the hillsides as well as in the valley where we set up camp. In fact, this is the same spot we saw the “Disappearing Bear”. A few years ago while on a Mission Alaska assignment, I was filming Austin during a DIY hunt. After hours of arduous labor getting to camp we were instantly rewarded when we spotted a gorgeous black bear at 200 yards feeding right towards us along the outskirts of the wood line. We scrambled to a good position and Austin grabbed his .350 Remington Magnum while I grabbed all the camera gear. 100 yards and closing, Austin was steadying his rifle when the bear fed behind a tree. We could see on both sides of the tree and after waiting for several minutes we didn’t see the bear come out. We went to go investigate and found no sign of the bear. After being outsmarted by this bear we went on to have a very successful hunt harvesting two bears in two weeks and I am hoping to have the same success this year.

Stay tuned to find out how this hunt turns out and follow and subscribe to Mission Alaska!

-Bridger V.

ATTENTION: Alaska DIY hunters, BEARS ARE OUT!  Good luck and safe hunting.  Don’t forget to update your harvest cards at your local store or ADFG office.

Spring Riding & The Denali Dog 140 Sled Race

alaska, bears, Camera, camping, caribou, Field Producer, Go-Pro, grizzly bear charge, guns, hunting, nature, public land, Rifles, shed hunting, Uncategorized, wildlife

 

IMG_8406

With warm weather plaguing much of Alaska this spring, snow machine riding could be considered dismal….. Unless your a powder hound chasing endless fields of untouched snow high in the mountains of Alaska’s back country….(or follow your untracked trail to a secret winter wonderland around the back of the cabin)…  This spring is no different for the writers of Mission AK as we took off on a hunt for fresh untracked snow.

IMG_8593

Riding up the Denali highway we stumbled across one of the coolest and newest dog sled races in Alaska. The Denali Dog 140  race was a last minute brainchild that gathered some of Alaska’s best mushers and set them to compete on the Denali Highway for two days covering 140 miles of Alaska’s vast wilderness. The mushers only had three weeks to prepare themselves and their teams to go head to head in this first annual race across Denali’s rugged landscape. IMG_9889The race consisted of veterans such as Lance Mackey ( Four-time winner of the Yukon Quest & four-time winner of the Iditarod.) and new comers making their first dog racing debut such as Timothy Muto.IMG_9881 Dog racing in Alaska is a lifestyle that requires endurance, dedication, and selflessness which Mission AK contributors (Kalen Kolberg and Austin Manelick) were lucky enough to experience first hand.

IMG_9917

After the mushers got their dogs fed and put to bed we all got to enjoy good conversation and a hot meal at the Alpine Creek Lodge (Race checkpoint and turn around location).

IMG_9463

After only a couple hours of much needed cat napping the mushers had to head out and to continue their race towards the finish line.IMG_9894

The next morning we woke up to a hot breakfast and several cups of coffee (much needed after trying to keep up with the mushers all night). After chatting with the locals on spots to check out we geared up in search of  high mountains packed with fresh pow lines, inevitable putting our sleds to the test.

IMG_1154

IMG_1143

What was suppose to be a back country snow machineing trip turned into dog mushing spectacle that we all enjoyed thoroughly, acting as their biggest fans and photographers it was awesome to see these athletes behind the scenes.   It’s not to often you run into Iditarod champions and those inspiring to be the best at one of the most difficult(HARDCORE) sports in the entire world and share a cup of hot coffee at 12am midnight at an authentic Alaska lodge.   After the teams left we headed high into the mountains to finish our mission and find the goods. A 12 mile ride into a deep north facing drainage provided what we were looking for….endless pow.

Mission complete: 150 miles round trip.

 

-Team Mission Alaska

 

 

Huge shout out and big thanks to  Alpine Creek Lodge, check them out for a cool place to base any Alaskan adventure.

 

 

 

 

Traditional Archery Hunting Oregon 2013

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, bears, coyote attack, DIY hunting, Field Producer, grizzly bear, Hunting Culture, meat, public land, Survival, The next generation, traditional archery

Tag soup is not my favorite meal, but as a hunter I will tell you I have had my fair share of it. Striking out as a hunter and coming home with no animal to show after a long arduous hunt can be very discouraging and hard on a sportsmen’s morale. I always dream of harvesting big game animals in different locations across the country, hunting in new locations is always fun and there is plenty of DIY opportunities through out most of the United States. I have had many aspirations to perfecting my traditional archery game on the beautiful animals that roam North America and beyond.

20131219-130944.jpg

This year I decided to take an old commercial fishing buddy up on his offer to chase elk in Oregon with bows in hand. Kalen told me about Oregon’s over the counter tags for elk and deer, I said “I’ll bring my take down long bow and a quiver full of zwickeys headed arrows.”
We discuss plans over a fishermens dinner in port of Naknek Alaska, dreaming of big bull elk and possibly a mule deer in the mountains of Oregon.

20131219-130908.jpgFast forward to August, the early archery elk season has begun and Kalen and I take to the woods. We meet up in Portland and begin the long road trip east, before long we had made it to a small sporting goods shop and picked up our elk and deer archery tags.   Kalen had the drop on a few good locations from past experiences while hunting with family and friends, so we had a few places to start.  (Thanks Mike and Jacob!)

20131219-130712.jpg

Hitting up a new piece of national forest is always a little daunting at first, new territory keeps you on your feet and you must be aware of your surroundings or risk getting lost/in an emergency situation.   I like hunting new areas because I have to be acutely aware of all of my new surroundings as I am at a severe disadvantage with my shooting distance, the animal sense of smell can detect me over 200 yards as they have evolved to survive.  All of my shots must be under 25 yards or I risk missing or wounding a game animal.  I am stepping completely out of my element of hunting the back country of Alaska, applying my skills to a new hunting area…….SOOOO EXCITING.  This hunt is going to be awesome, about a week to get it done before I head off back to Alaska in search of bull moose and grizzly bears.

20131219-130648.jpg

Hunting Alaska is no doubt one of the most physically, mentally, I repeat physically difficult hunt in the entire world especially if you are a DIY hunter who packs his own meat out.  Exlporing, hunting, and harvesting all over the counter game animals across much of Alaska, I thought this Oregon elk and deer hunt would relatively be a piece of cake.  Thinking nothing can be more difficult than a DIY moose or a grizzly bear hunt, I figured, “I’ll just slip in this (over the counter tag area) new territory in Oregon, put on the old slipideeedoooooo daaaa on an unsuspecting elk  and harvest a beautiful bull”.   “Then while I’m packing my elk out to my vehicle, I will see a mule deer buck right next to the car and tag out.”  aha lol.   All joking aside, I figured Kalen had a compound bow and an equal or better chance at harvesting an elk or a deer, so at least we would be successful.  Even harvesting one animal out of all four of our tags, I would have counted the hunt as a complete overwhelming success.20131219-130550.jpg20131219-130532.jpg

We begin to hike the rugged mountains of eastern Oregon, we break through tree line and I feel at home again.  Wind in our face dirt under our feet we marched to a prominent ridge with the plan to bivy out  on our perch high in the mountains and in the morning we would catch the elk sneaking back into their beds in the thick timber below. Potentially we could run into an unsuspecting deer as we hunt for elk.  Well our technique worked, better during the evening hunts than the morning, but we had encounters by staying high and hunting the elk herd above treeline.

20131219-130417.jpg

We also saw many deer, one day as I began to do the old slipideedooo da and creeping whisper quite towards the creek ravine where we saw elk I was startled by an explosion from four yards away.  Sneaking to stealthily for my own good, I managed to sneak unknowingly within 4 yards of a giant bedded mule deer buck. Kalen said “all I heard was thuda thuda thud thuda, booooomb” He could hear the deers hooves beat the earth before he could see his majestic framed bone white antlers take off towards Montana.  We both watched the buck from different locations on the mountain, galloping across the wicked terrain with mind blowing ease and grace.  Even though a shot opportunity never presented itself, seeing that deer bound across the mountain was a cool encounter one I will never forget.

20131219-130313.jpg 20131219-130249.jpg

We decided they were not coming to our calling set ups as the breeding season or “rut” had not kicked off yet and the bulls were seemingly un-interested.  Thats not to say that we couldn’t call in an unsuspecting  bull before the rest of the hunting community started throwing hoochey mama calls at them.  We tried every trick in the book, we even went all “Cam Hanes” on those elk commencing “beast mode” on a least several occasions while hammering after elk.   We ended up scaring the wapiti(elk) off in the next county with our aggressive tactics. We decided to completely switch up our game, we would set up mini natural ground blinds and wait for the elk to cross a pinch point.  Pin pointing the elk herds movement to cross a saddle every evening on their way to a wallow, we knew exactly where to sit and await the ambush.   20131218-181553.jpgSeveral days later after we had patterned the elk movements, Kalen and I split up, he would stay  high upon the mountain top and I would go slide into the timber line and wait on the saddle.   Like clock work the elk came over the saddle, and I was ready.  I had also chosen the wrong game trail as the elk ended up crossing the saddle 80 yards away from me closer towards Kalen’s position.   Kalen had the majority of the herd walking directly towards the rock outcropping where he was hiding.   The spike and the branch bull we had spotted from our binoculars several days before was no where to be seen.  There were two groups of elk feeding directly towards Kalen and away from me, a spike crested the the rocky outcropping just outside Kalen’s effective range.   They ended being slightly curious of Kalens cow call, however they fed directly past his location with the spike elk not presenting anything but an extremely far shot.  Walking out of danger an into greener pastures, that spike would live to see another day.  Our tag team ambush tactic worked as we had a close encounter, although we were not able to seal the deal on an elk, I felt as if I had earned my moneys worth of the 500+ dollar over the counter tag.  The exhilarating expeience of having several close encounters in a new DIY hunting destination was priceless and in retrospect the cost of the license was worth the hunt alone.20131218-181751.jpg

20131219-130813.jpg

Elk combo deer season was a blast in eastern Oregon, we closed the distance on a few elk and one branch bull however we couldn’t get closer than 80 yards of legal bull. We had encounters nearly every day and saw great numbers of cow elk and doe mule deer failing to find the antlered monarchs until we switched up our game.  Finding what formula worked best for us on our early season archery hunt was difficult to say the least, but challenging in a very rewarding way.  Not only did we find several new locations to chase elk and deer next year, but we will carry our new found confidence and early season tactics into the next elk season.  Driving back to Portland was a very sobering moment, we hunted elk and deer as hard as possible for a week straight leaving with a better understanding of the public land bulls that make remote Oregon mountains their home.   I didn’t have much time to dwell as I was heading north back home to Alaska in search of rutting bull moose and one of the largest land predators in the world (grizzly bear).  Knowing very well that elk season and deer season were not completely over, and that eastern and western Oregon had open hunting GMU’s (game management units); there was a good chance that heading back to Oregon for one or two more shots at the venison or wapiti would be in in my near future.

Coming back to Oregon for one last shot at an elk combo deer hunt before the archery season closed, I searched out new areas to look for potential honey holes almost using these last few days to scout for elk and deer more than hunt.   Late season public land hunting entails pursuing animals that have already seen a lot of pressure, I turned to the game regulations in an attempt to find areas with minimal hunting activity or something close to it.   I found a few interesting areas in the Oregon game regulations that are traditional archery hunting only my co-driver, hunting partner, best friend, and fiancé Jordan P (who by the way is a dead eye with traditional archery equipment) Said “lets go there”.   A traditional area makes sense as the majority of the hunters would probably be unsuccessful leaving scores of antlered beasts to chase.  We did not find any elk so to speak, but we were treated to some of the finest deer hunting in the world.  I saw 25-50 deer per day for the last couple days of the season, even having a few encounters with some Pope and Young giants, but no shot opportunities under 60 yards.  The highlights of the trip was spending time with Jordan and our two dogs, they all were such awesome hunting buddies.   Jordan would drop me off at the top of a National forest road and I would meet her at 1/2 mile increments every hour at the road, doing my best to still-hunt as much area as possible.  Once again, we left the hunting grounds empty handed as no shot opportunities under 60 yards presented themselves.   Again though, the cost of the archery tag for deer season had been well worth it, the over the counter tag provided me with a few animal encounters and an awesome date/mini vacation for my gal and I.
20131219-130610.jpg

20131219-130347.jpg

After contacting ODFG and confirming that my archery tag was indeed good for the western deer hunting season, I decided to give deer hunting one more shot.   Only hunting in western Oregon is a completely different ball game.  The area of western and eastern Oregon are completely different in regards to terrain and vegetation, and a hunter has the unique opporuntity to harvest a Columbia blacktailed deer what is said to be one of the most difficult species to hunt in North America.
20131218-181422.jpg

The vertical line that divides the mountain ranges that separate eastern and western Oregon provides a unique habitat where blacktail, whitetail, and mule deer can coexist and potentially hybridize.   That thought of all three species living in the same vicinity of each other blew my mind and is another awesome reason to purchase this hunting tag.  For the particular GMU I targeted to hunt, the western season opened up November 16th and on the opening day I was gonna head out with stick bow in hand.   I chose some national forest hunting land a couple hours outside of Portland, with a game plan to hunt an open area with access to “all” hunters.  Being the very late archery season, post gun season, I knew that this hunt would probably be the most difficult hunt out of all of my Oregon archery tags.   But I was not discouraged as I knew this GMU was an any deer unit, and hopefully with a little luck I could fill my freezer with a little blacktail venison back strap.   Weather in the late season was a factor that came into play for my advantage, finally  things are going perfectly right.

20131218-181244.jpg

20131218-181347.jpg

20131218-181402.jpg

Hunting the opening morning of the western deer season provided provided me with several advantages, one was the fact that other hunters would be in the woods moving deer.  Two the season opener had perfect blacktail deer hunting conditions  misty, snowy, cold, and nasty.   Oh baby, I started to feel really confident as the fresh snow gave me the chance to track deer in the Cascades Mountains.   I drove a two wheel drive car deep into the national forest as far as the car could go, I almost got stuck going up a steep hill.  The best decision was to turn around to avoid getting stuck and missing the season opener.  I hung my head out the window until I found fresh deer tracks and decided to pull over. 20131218-181436.jpg  I parked the car, strung up my take town stick bow, and charged after the deer tracks.   After about an hour of doing the old “slipperybob, slippideee kiiii yeaaaaa, not to be confused with the slippaaaruski, aka cat walking, #stealthy, #stillhunt, #spotandstalk, etc”  Basically I was tracking what appeared to be a buck as silently as I possibly could, using the fresh snow and wind direction to my advantage.   I noticed the animal tracks we extremely fresh, finding warm scat and recent wet (not frozen) scrapes.   Excitement and anticipation began to build enormously, I slowed my already cat like approach to snail speed.   After 20 more minutes of feathering my way through thick brush, tracking this buck through rabbit like undergrowth the tracks began to bound more than 10 ft apart.  This only meant one thing,  the buck had saw me before I saw him and he made a great vanishing act these houdini deer have been known for.

20131218-181456.jpg

20131218-181522.jpg

Switching direction towards other fresh tracks in the area, I put my nose to the ground and knew this tactic was going to work.   “I could feel it in my bones” that a deer was very close to me and if I didn’t spook them that I could possibly get a shot.   I followed the new tracks for a few hours, sitting down during mid day around 11am to take in some beef jerky and water upon a downed tamarack tree.   Staying in the field on the hot new deer trail proved to be the final ingredient in having a shot opportunity under 25 yards.

20131218-181648.jpg

20131218-181732.jpg

20131218-181824.jpg

The tracks surprisingly had circled back towards the national forest logging road I was parked on, and headed directly towards the first set of tracks I had followed.   Commencing to snail speed I knocked an arrow and eased more slowly than ever towards a group of coniferous trees where the tracks had led.   Using these trees to my advantage I slowly crept around the snowy branches being careful not to brush the limbs revealing the location of the heavy footed predator trailing the prey.  Rounding the edge of the tree and stepping into another thick snow covered fern patch I noticed the arc of a deer back just 30 yards away.  Not moving a muscle I stood frozen, the deer stood up keeping a tree stump halfway between me and it and began walking towards my location.

20131218-181907.jpg

The stump keeping the animals vitals hidden I could only see a glimpse of what appeared to be a large, healthy, and unaccompanied blacktail doe with no head gear.   Slightly curious the deer began doing the head bob back and forth, the “did I just see a shadow” “some kind of movement” ” what was that”  “maybe I see another deer?” curiosity head bob.  The creatures patience began to wear thin, she turned to walk away and took three steps up hill quartering away at 30 yards I could not take a shot as she was just out of my effective range.   As the doe moved up hill, I fumbled in my pocket and pulled out a “Primos Doe esterous can call” and hit the call once as I  simultaneously crept 2.5 steps closer to the stump separating me from the back straps.

20131218-181944.jpg

The doe stopped in her tracks, turned and was curious as to what made the deer noise.   She took three steps toward the stump once again and stopped at about 24-25 yards facing me directly.   This was the closest I had been to any deer yet this season, as a traditional archer and longbow huntsmen I decided I was going to shoot if the deer was under 25 yards.  The gig was up and she had had enough, turning her head to walk away was all of the distraction I needed.  Instinctually guestimating the yardage to 25ish yards, coming to full draw, I picked a tuft of hair directly behind her shoulder releasing the arrow with impeccable form just as practiced thousands of times before.

20131218-181957.jpg

This is where the witchery of archery comes into play with the traditional archer…  “As I watched the arrow in what felt like super slow motion, I could see the archers paradox flexing the Zwickey shafted arrow bending and correcting itself to fly true.”   The arrow’s trajectory sent the arcing projectile high above the animals back, silhouetting itself perfectly against the white blanketed back drop.  The arrows flight was simply beautiful, in my mind I saw the arrow flying over the animal’s back, but in the last mili-nano second of slow motion the arrow lost forward momentum and began to fall as if guided by a higher power.  The white and red fletched arrow flies silently as the wind and does not interrupt natures perfect harmony.  Slicing through snow, fog, and mist connecting with flesh, blood and bone.. 20131218-182026.jpg

The arrow finds its mark, the doe trots off slowly and lays down for one final nap.   Watching the animal lay down, I knew the deer had been delivered a fatal blow and it was only a matter of seconds before she passed.   I slowly tracked the blood trail towards the location I saw her lay down.  Still practicing the art of the hunt, I tracked the beautifully painted blood trail across the vibrant white snow.

20131219-130209.jpg

Finding both halves of my arrow, I was ecstatic.  The blood trail started to be on both sides of the animal, which means the arrow went completely through the animal or part of the arrow (hence the broken shaft).   After about 80 yards of tracking this blood trail to the location where I saw the animal lay down, I could see the deer belly up another 15-20 yards down the mountain.  She died on her feet completely unaware of what happened and slid about 20 yards down hill to the base of hemlock tree.   There lay one of the hardest earn trophies of my hunting career, a beautiful public land blacktail doe taken with true stick and string.

-Austin Manelick

Thanks to everyone who was part of the hunt this year, shout out to Jake and Mike M, Kalen K, and Jordan P I had a blast hunting with you guys this year and thanks for all your assistance.

Moose Hunting Report 2013

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, big game hunting, bow and arrows, Camera, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, Go-Pro, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, moose, pack rafting, public land, Rifles, shed hunting, Survival, The next generation, traditional archery, Uncategorized, unguided hunting, wildlife

Year of the moose… It seems like this year bull moose were abundant in many parts of the state.  Sorry it has taken so long to make a new post, however team Mission Alaska has been out making new content for our readers to enjoy.   The Mission Alaska adventure was, again, one for the ages.   Here are a few pictures to tide you over until the stories accompanying these pictures are tapped out and made whole.

Feeling mooseeee.

Bridgers harvest 2013 MOOSE Bridgers moose 2 and the BOSS TANK 20130925-173558.jpg20130925-173410.jpg 20130925-173350.jpgHere are a few of the brutes that fell to the Mission Alaska team this year.   Be prepared for a few of the stories, lots of work indeed.

Cheers to the beautiful bull moose who roam these lands year round.  We as hunters thank you.

Fishing Alaska

alaska, fishing, salmon fishing, trout, Trout fishing

Alaska has some of the best fishing in the entire world. Have you been lucky enough to wet your line in the land of the midnight sun?

20130717-072346.jpg

20130717-072416.jpg

20130717-072440.jpg

Hunting Season and Tags: Hunter Education

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler hunting, archery hunting, big game hunting, Hunting Culture, public land, Survival

Hunting season isn’t to far away and if you are thinking about stepping into the woods make sure to purchase your hunting license and accompanying tags.   Many states require hunters to fill out hunting reports online, these reports help biologists and Department of Wildlife officials maintain healthy population numbers, set game bag limits, and promote conservation through hunting.   With the internet this day and age, its never been easier to report your hunting adventures online at your states home webpage.

For instance:

In order to not be penalized for future hunting tags and permits, residents of the state of Alaska must report their prior years harvests before a set date.  

https://secure.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=interperm.report_greeting

Harvest Tag

Remember to always have the correct tag for the game species with your accompanying hunting license, simple Hunter Safety Education 101.  Hunting licenses and game tags directly benefit wildlife conservation and do many things for our cultural heritage and the tradition of hunting.  Don’t forget to fill out your hunting reports online, happy safe hunting everyone.

 

Commercial Fishing 2013

alaska, Bristol Bay, fishing, salmon fishing

Just got back from yet another awesome Alaskan experience, commercial fishing in Bristol Bay for the past three weeks was a blast. Being off the boat and on land has me extremely excited for fall hunting season. Had plenty of time to mentally prepare for my annual hunting expedition across the state while I was out fishing. Really looking forward to chasing some critters and filling my freezer with my bow this fall. Thanks Mission AK’ers for being patient while I was off the grid, more posts, pictures, and fun soon to follow. Back on the grid and back to the grind.

–Austin

If you are interested for more content on my past Alaskan adventures and expeditions make sure to check out the archives to past posts on the left hand side of this screen. Happy and safe hunting everyone.

Guess Where.

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, archery hunting, arrows, bow and arrows, Camera, DIY hunting, Field Producer, Go-Pro, Hunting with Camera, National Geographic, public land, Survival, traditional archery, Ultimate Survival Alaska, Videographer

Guess where this shot was taken….Ill give you a hint, it was during the filming of Ultimate Survival Alaska.

Rob and Austin

Rob and Austin

The picture is of Robert Seamen a shooter/producer and I.  Rob is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met in my life.  This guy was very talented with his camera to say the least, he managed to keep rolling footage in the wet and inhospitable Alaskan weather.