Follow along with team members and brothers Austin & Auggie as they go after Dall Sheep in Alaska’s rugged backcountry.
Trotting through the woods, I notice a buck springing from his bed and take two bounds pausing at 20 yards. I immediately freeze, the buck does the same and keeps a tree between us peering with on eye around the tree focused on the direction I came from. I was caught off guard for two reasons, I was moving quickly to get back to my vehicle and wasn’t prepared to draw my long bow as movement would surely make the buck flee….. Ghosts of the coasts they have been called by many hunters who have been fortunate enough to roam the lands with these creatures. They have this nick name for a reason, they live in the thickest forests of North America and are rarely seen. The plan for the Oregon archery tag was to meet up with a hunting buddy and head to a few key areas in Mount Hood National Forest. Hopefully one of us would score a buck for the late season effort. My buddy takes me to a few of his hunting spots and we attempt to rattle in the infamous bench buck. Apparently bench deer are a result of blacktail and mule deer crossing and creating a hybridized specimen. Mule deer are said to have evolved from whitetails and blacktails breeding thousands of years ago, genetics aside deer species in Oregon are diverse. Wether or not these animals are mule or blacktail deer or a cross of both, they are interesting and fun all the same to hunt with traditional archery equipment. These animals live in a diverse ecosystem, the forest covers steep hills with rolling benches the perfect hiding place for a buck. We spend many mornings chasing these elusive critters, rising at 3am and driving 3 hours to hunt first light. Only seeing two deer crossing a highway providing no shot opportunity, the late season archery tag was going to be a tough one to notch. Sometimes switching up tactics is your only shot at success. I knew I needed to go to another area but choosing one hunting spot is tough especially if you don’t have land owner relationships with private land access conveniently located near town. Fortunately Oregon has plenty of public land to cover within a 2-3 hour drive, refer to the ODFG maps for more information. Continued…..
Quick dinner in the Brooks Range while hunting for sheep in 2007. Looking forward to hunting season this year.
Summer is here and on these warm beautiful days, I immediately think of brats on the grill. I know warmer days are coming soon and with Independence Day just around the corner, I started to make some venison sausages with ingredients that needed to be harvested from the garden.
– Jon Dykes
Enjoy your venison….
“Happy Independence Day America”!
On a recent hunt in British Columbia I met several of the most elite big game hunting guides you can find across the globe, the following article tracks the personal adventure of one of these world famous guides on a quest to harvest a BC mountain billy goat. While I was filming at Sean Lingl’s Canadian Guide Outfitters I was introduced to Aaron Parrotta, he was guiding another group of hunters in camp so we did not get to personally hunt with him. Although we didn’t get to spend time in the field with Aaron we did manage to find some time at the lodge to share stories and build friendships. Aaron, along with all of Sean Lingls guides, are very talented at finding trophy class animals for clients year round. When the guides do manage to find some time to hunt in the field for themselves, trophy class animals pushing Boone and Crocket measurements are the standard.
The following article was written by Aaron and chronicles his personal adventures of chasing white ghosts with black horns in the Kootenay’s of Britsh Columbia. It’s getting closer to big game hunting season, so here is a mountain goat hunt to pump up all the red meat enthusiasts out there. Enjoy!
Father’s Day is always a good excuse to get out and do something fun as a family. So of course Mission AK’s Kalen Kolberg knew exactly what to do when he heard the Reds were running in the Klutina. He packed a couple rods, tackle, and a cooler full of ice then hit the road towards Copper Center with his family. The Klutina offers great fishing opportunities for families. Easy access from the highway and minimal crowds allow you to fish with your family and not have to worry about you or your loved ones getting a surprise piercing.
The Klutina is the 7th fastest flowing river in North America so its important to target slack water holes that hold fish and allow a good solid drift. Once we settled on a hole and fished for a few hours we managed to land some beautiful Copper River Sockeye and enjoy some quality family time in the great outdoors of Alaska.
After a long successful Father’s Day it was time to head back home and nurse our sunburn and fresh Mosquito bites. The 3.5 hour drive isn’t without it’s perks either. We were lucky enough to catch this gorgeous sunset passing through Lake Louise and managed to snap a quick cell phone pic.
The next morning was full of itching and moaning along with the hum of the vacuum sealer. The sight of bright red fillets in the freezer was more than enough to take our minds off our bumpy itchy skin. All in all it was a great Father’s Day filled with lots of laughs, bug bites, fish and fun.
We are always looking for great hunting stories and individuals to contribute to the Mission Alaska inspirational cause. Well Mission Alaskan’s… I have found a story and a person who has inspired me to harvest a stone sheep. Recently I was at Sean Lingl’s hunting operation on Vancouver Island filming a black bear hunt for 9x UFC champion Matt Hughes, while on this hunt I met some very skilled hunters and had the time of my life. Sean has several guides that work almost year round hunting the gigantic animals that roam this island in British Columbia, these guides I would argue are some of the most talented and professional individuals in the outdoor industry. As for Sean, It was such an honor to be hunting with the Dallas Safari Clubs “Outfitter of the Year” truly a grade A+ experience and just an awesome guy. Not to mention that Sean lead us to a monstrous black bear that stretched the tape and the scales, and made awesome outdoor tv for Uncaged with Matt Hughes on the Sportsman Channel. Sean has surrounded himself with an impressive A-team of guides that have some great pictures and stories of successful hunts over the years. Nathan French, the youngest of the guides has some fantastic hunting stories, some of the stories are with his clients and the others are of his personal adventures.
Here at Mission Alaska our message is all about unguided, uncharted, untamed self made experiences. We encourage hunters to get out and hunt as often as possible, testing themselves against nature and finding new areas to hunt. Guides in certain situations are the only way to harvest certain species of animals, and one day I will need a guide to harvest my stone sheep… One man I will call on in the future is Nathan French, first of all he is a talented guide(phenomenal sheep guide), a great writer, and a developing videographer. Nathan captures his clients hunts on film, and manages to squeeze in only a few days to personally hunt himself and test the boundaries of his limits. After his guide season he manages to sneak back into the wilderness to fulfill his personal hunting goals, the hunt that follows is an epic one…
STONE SHEEP: Gray Ghosts with Golden Horns
By: Nathan French
Next morning we all packed up are gear, got are eyes set on big rams and fun adventures. On my back was six days worth of food, optics, tent, sleeping bag and pad, and miscellaneous gear. Johnny and I parted ways to cover more ground. Omar and I went south, Johnny and Garrick North. We were carrying satellite phones to keep in touch every other night to relay the day’s adventures.
Day 2 rolled around and we had spotted several rams already and lots of ewes. Already 8 miles back from the lake, we continued to push further. The wind from the minute we started was brutal. Didn’t matter which way you faced, it was in your face!!!! and strong!! We found out later, winds were measured at 60mph!
Later into day 2 we summited a high plateau and within minutes of glassing, we spotted two sheep far across the valley. With a closer look a 3rd sheep was spotted and right away I knew he deserved an even closer look. The wind was howling and not making it easy to glass; I was huddled under a cliff just to keep the spotter steady.
After I made the decision to get closer , I was off like the wind. Covering meters by the second. I dropped 2500 feet within several minutes and dropped off my whole camp at the bottom by a creek. We charged up the mountain with the camera rolling; Omar did one wicked job behind the handycam.
A long 2500ft ascent didn’t take long, I had one thing on my mind, and I was determined to get on this ram and nothing was going to stop me. Peaking over the edge in hopes to be above the ram, there he was 300yards away, feeding away happily. Without a doubt this ram was a shooter.
After video and pictures we skinned and butchered the ram and made are way back to the gear left by the creek. Midnight rolled around and we made er back. Without wiping the smile of my face, we unloaded the sheep and started making camp. Then came eating tenderloins from our days success and then followed several calls out on the sat phone to close friends. Not realizing it was past midnight, I woke my boss, parents and close friends with shouts of excitement.
Next day we headed back for the lake. A steep brutal climb up and over several mountains, 11 miles total and after a full day of grinding camp and the ram on my back, we made it !! Heavy load, long day. Yet so rewarding. There’s no better feeling than laying exhausted and looking at your pack with a ram on it. I think we had a little camp celebration and waited to hear from the boys on their outings!
Thanks for the article Nathan: More videos and stories to come in the near future. -Mission Alaska
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.
There is a explosive wild pig epidemic attacking the United States. Due to wild pigs adaptability and high reproduction rates, they have now been seen in 47 states and their numbers keep growing. Wild pigs devour crops, uproot pastures, destroy wildlife habitats, spread disease to humans and animals, kill trees and even knock over cemetery stones. Hunters play a big part in monitoring and helping to control wild pig numbers. Wild pigs also give DIY hunters great opportunities to hunt. Wild pigs are in a lot of states and are a main concern for land owners. Most states have unlimited seasons and tags are cheap. Polite and respectful hunters can have great success asking a local land owner if they can harvest a pig from thier land. Most people will say yes and go out of their way to make you successful. Two years ago, I hunted hogs in the Louisiana and they tasted great. There are not a lot of wild pigs up north and I have been craving wild pork ever since.
Austin recently harvested some Hawaiian Jungle Bacon, with his longbow, and was generous enough to give me 4 pounds of the wild pork. When Austin gave me the meat, I immediately had the idea to try making breakfast sausage. I am a big “breakfast person” and love sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches as well as my favorite, biscuits and gravy.
What sets sausage appart is mainly the spices and seasonings. I looked at some recipes online and ultimately made my own combination of my favorite spices. I also took advantage of some donated fresh sage and rosemary from friends. I chose to go with brown sugar, rubbed sage, salt, rosemary, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and chilly powder.
Once we got the meat cubed and the seasonings measured out, we combined both together and were ready to start grinding. You dont have to have or spend a ton of money on a fancy grinder to make your own burger and sausage. I bought this old school, hand crank, meat grinder for $20 and have used it for 3 years now and it has handled all sorts of wild game creations.
The key to sausage to to finely grind it and to grind the seasoning into the meat. I started grinding with the large opening plate, then switched to the smaller, more course, grinding plate. We ground the 4 lbs of pork 4 times to achieve desired consistency.
Once we ground it all up, it was time to test the seasoning. We made two small patties and fried them up to test the seasoning balance. They tasted great and we didn’t have to change anything.
I believe more people need to look to the wild pigs as a food source and learn how to harvest them. They are everywhere and make great table fare! By harvesting wild pigs, we can help control numbers and feed our families great meat.