British Columbia Winter Kootenay Billy Hunt

big game hunting, Camera, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, game processing, guns, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, nature, Rifles, Survival, unguided hunting, wildlife

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!

PB160354

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.37.26 PM

PB160349

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.37.58 PM

PB160444

PB160359

 

Cubby’s Marketplace New Additions: Mission Alaska Wall

arrows, big game hunting, bow and arrows, DIY hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, meat, moose, public land, Rifles, Survival, The next generation, traditional archery, unguided hunting

IMG_1187

For those of you heading North to Alaska, Cubby’s Market place is a must see destination.  A truly authentic Alaskan grocery store located near the intersection of the Parks Highway and the Talkeetna Spur Road, they provide goods to locals who live here year round as well as the busy summer recreationists who come to play in the surrounding Talkeetna Mountains.  This store was opened by entrepreneurial spirited family who roots were started from the Alaskan dream. Greg and Lisa Pearson (2nd generation Alaskans) started this business from the ground up with help from their children Derek, Chris, Ashlynn, and many other family members and dedicated friends.

photo 3Cubby’s is more than a grocery store, it’s an experience.  You enter through the doors into a modern-rustic Alaskan grocery store, where animal mounts and the AK lifestyle is displayed proudly.  Being one of the Pearson’s “other children”, I am proud to say I helped out during the building process of Cubby’s.  Greg has been filling his grocery store with impressive species of Alaskan game mounts since the store opened, and I am lucky enough to have several of my mounts inside.

The entire store is covered in game mounts from animals harvested around the state, if you head to the dairy section you will notice a small section dedicated to the animals harvest by team Mission Alaska.  photo 2-2Here is owners and 3rd generation Alaskan’s Derek and Chris Pearson hanging the moose on Cubby’s Wall.  This moose was from Austin Manelick’s and Vince Pokryfki’s 2013 moose hunt.  Pretty fascinating story of how this moose found his way onto the Cubby’s wall.  Team work makes the dream work, and with this moose it was no different.
photo 4

From the river to the wall….

20130925-173558.jpg

For any of you adventures north, make sure you stop in and see the beautiful Cubby’s Marketplace!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cubbys-Marketplace

 

Bridger Van Ness of Mission Alaska Graduates Ranger School

DIY hunting, extreme hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, public land, Rifles, Survival, The next generation, Uncategorized, Videographer
Becoming a Airborne Ranger in the United States Army is a very difficult task, Ranger School is an intense 61-day combat leadership course geared to train some of the most elite soldiers America has to offer. Having two brothers who have completed the program (Auggie M. and Dan S.), they have told me first hand just how difficult this accomplishment was. Another one of my hunting brothers named Bridger Van Ness fell off the grid about eight months ago and resurfaced a new man. Bridger Van Ness and I go way back, back to the days of high school and Varsity soccer at Colony High School. Bridger started as a freshman and was a talented athlete to say the least. We have been longtime friends and partners working on the Mission Alaska Project since 2011.  I wanted to congratulate him on his Ranger School success and thank him and all of our troops for supporting and protecting our freedoms as United States citizens. A certifiable “bad boy” in the United States Army, Bridger completed his Ranger school recently and was featured in a story found at The Bayonet and Saber. Bridger has made headlines with this accomplishment as he has pioneered a new pilot program for entry into the prestigious Ranger School. Check out the story below to find out the scoop on Bridger and how his accomplishment has laid the foundation for an improved Ranger Program. Congratulations Bridger, I am very proud to know you and honored to call you friend, brother, and most importantly my hunting buddy. Can’t wait till our next Alaskan adventure!

 

Bridgers harvest 2013 MOOSE

Bridger On Assingment for Team Mission Alaska

Pilot program produces 1st Ranger grad

When Spc. Bridger Van Ness asked his mother to pin his Ranger tab during his graduation ceremony Friday, it signified the beginning of a new career and possibilities for future Infantry Soldiers to enter Ranger School through a new training initiative.

Van Ness, of Wasilla, Alaska, was the first Soldier to go from one station unit training to Ranger School, a feat he said was a challenging and rewarding experience.

“It feels surreal,” he said. “I wanted to do this because of the training and to do missions that every Soldier wants to accomplish.”

“Our brigade combat teams are only manned at 20 percent of all the Ranger requirements and the greatest shortage on Ranger requirements is at the sergeant level and below,” he said. “That has been an issue since the war started in 2001 and something we’ve been trying to address to mitigate the requirement and the need.”

The program will allow Van Ness and future Soldiers to select the duty stations of their choice throughout the Army wherever there is a brigade combat team, Butler said.

“He set a very high bar, so hopefully he will be able to motivate some of his peers when he shows up and tells them the only formal training he had was one station unit training,” he said. It’s challenging, but it is something that anyone can do if they put their mind to it.”

Van Ness, 23, graduated from Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He joined the Army on Oct. 1 and completed one station unit training in January. During his training, Van Ness was approached to be a test subject for the pilot program.

“As he went through OSUT, his chain of command identified stellar performers’ abilities to accomplish the task based on physical fitness and their intellectual capability and maturity,” Butler said. “He was a star performer and exceeded all of the course standards.”

Van Ness said he was sent to pre-Ranger School after completing basic training, which helped him to make it through the Ranger School on the first try.

“I thought that I would possibly have to do another phase over but I made it straight through with the help of great peers and training,” he said. “I hope it’s a big step for the Army in getting this program approved.”

Butler said the 198th Infantry Brigade will continue to identify individuals who exceed course standards and show maturity and the physical and intellectual capacities to complete Ranger School. Using Van Ness’ experience will also help to identify potential challenges Soldiers may face.

“Not everyone is going to be able to come right off the street, join the Army, finish OSUT and go right into the Ranger course, so you have to select the right individuals to succeed,” Butler said. “If we can identify five guys per company that’s great and even better if we have more. We want to get Rangers out to the brigade combat teams so they can adhere to standards and set a great example for their peers. We want to set as many people up for success as possible.”

Preparing for his next duty station in Italy, Van Ness said he hopes to advance his education and use his knowledge from Ranger School to train future Soldiers and help improve the program.

“If a young Soldier has the right mindset, he could definitely accomplish this,” Van Ness said. “I think the Army has the potential to make this program a big hit … it could be a huge success.”

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

A Lower 48er’s View of Alaska

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, artic slope, bears, big game hunting, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, guns, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, National Geographic, nature, public land, Rifles, Survival, The next generation, Ultimate Survival Alaska, unguided hunting, Videographer, wildlife

After graduating with Austin from Penn State, It was our mission to gain experience in the outdoors, test ourselves as young men, and do the trip of our dreams. We wanted to do a low budget, non-guided hunt, using different means of transportation; through-out the state of Alaska for the “Alaskan Big 5”, Caribou, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goat, Moose, and Bear. The Mission Alaska Expedition was an amazing adventure, and one that Austin, Jordan Auggie, Sarah, Natalie, Bryan, and I will never forget.

As the lower “48’er” of the crew if was definitely a trip where I was out of my element. As I watch National Geographic’s ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’, it brings me back to that expedition. The TV cameras make it look a lot easier than it is. They cannot adequately describe the tussocks, wetness, trench-rot, or blisters that come with successfully filming back-country travel. I wanted to share some thoughts on traveling the remote terrain as a real outsider, a non-Alaskan.

It was definitely like nothing I had encountered in the lower 48. It looks a lot like Kansas or North Dakota, but the wetness and endless tundra of the Alaskan arctic, make it like walking on a 3-5 foot wet sponge layer. Tussocks are hard plant root clumps that make the ground very unstable and a nightmare on your knees and ankles.

IMG_0111

Endless amounts of “tussocks”.

I will never forget how foreign the environment felt. After leaving our pick-up truck, we might might as well been walking on another planet. We only had to go 5 miles, but it felt like 20!

IMG_0119

A hard earned 5 miles out to the hunting area.

As I have been watching ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ on National Geographic, I have been captivated by the scenery of the show and the crew’s ability to capture those images in the remote wilds of Alaska. I have filmed in Alaska and can assure you that the Alaska terrain is the enemy of any electronic device. The wet and the cold can make it very difficult to keep the cameras rolling, SD cards filled, and batteries charged. My hat is off to the Nat Geo production crew for capturing the raw and wild beauty of Alaska.

Cameras dont like working in clouds.

While Alaska can afford some beautiful weather with amazing views, definitely be prepared for cold and wet weather anytime of the year. Do not cheap yourself on gear! While you can sometimes get away with it in the lower 48, bad gear will ruin your trip and can endanger your life in Alaska. Make sure to check the Gear and Apparel page to see Mission Alaska’s gear tips, reviews, and suggestions.

DSC00071

A foggy August Alaskan view.

DSC00073

Looking for sheep in ever-changing weather.

There are all sorts of terrain in Alaska and a trip suited for everyone. Not far outside of the metro areas of Anchorage or the Mat-su Valley are tons of foot accessible areas. You dont always need planes and helicopters in Alaska to experience a real adventure. A lot people come to Alaska and take to bush planes to get out to remote areas. This can leave those areas crowded and areas that are hard to hike to, but not as far out as the planes go, open to anyone who wants to work for it. I had a mission to further test myself and went on a solo black bear hunt. What a great challenge and feeling of accomplishment.

IMG_0182

Solo black bear harvest

The Mission Alaska Expedition was for sure the hardest thing I have ever done and the trip taught me a lot about myself, life, and Alaska. I encourage more Americans in the lower 48 to go and experience the last american frontier. It is still very real and alive today. Read ‘John and Joe’s Philly to AK Adventure’. Just like Nat Geo’s ‘Ultimate Survivor Alaska’ shows, for those who want it, adventure lies waiting around every corner.

IMG_0141

Whats Your Mission?

-Jon Dykes

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!

Go-Pro’s Make Outdoor Heros

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, bears, big game hunting, Camera, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, Field Producer, Go-Pro, grizzly bear, hog hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, nature, public land, Rifles, Uncategorized, Videographer
Trick Cam Stick Cam POV, picked up the stick cam pole while on a 14 day 2011 Alaskan Spring Bear Hunt.

Trick Cam Stick Cam POV, picked up the stick cam pole while on a 14 day 2011 Alaskan Spring Bear Hunt.

Ever wanted to have your hunt captured on film, but couldn’t convince your buddy to sit in your tree stand with you?   There is a new revolutionary piece of technology in the outdoor industry that is changing the game as we speak.  Go-Pro the Outdoor Edition, the all weather, shock proof, ultra small, mega High-Def, bad-to-the-bone camera sees the world as you see it and is the easy answer to all your filming needs.  The Go-Pro takes outdoor videography to the next level.  Throughout my experience as an outdoor field producer (vid cam dude), I’ve found the Go-Pro camera to be my go-to tool in my hunting arsenal.

Go-Pro Helmet Cam POV on hog hunt at La Frijolia Ranch with Hidden Antler

Go-Pro Helmet Cam POV on hog hunt at La Frijolia Ranch with Hidden Antler

Its small size and weatherproof casing makes the camera the world’s most versatile; taking on anything mother nature throws at you.   No tools required for the endless attachments provided with the Go-Pro including chest mounts, handles bar mounts (works nicely for custom barrel or archery shots), suction cup mounts, adhesive mounts, helmet or head strap mount, allows the user to film easily and achieve a variety of shots including close-mid range kill shots.  The wide angle lens records the perception of your point of view.  This allows you to be as creative as you want, or a simple as you want.  The attachments for this product make the Go-Pro extremely user friendly and can take a zero to a hero over night.

Go-Pro Stick Cam on Mountain Bike ride to Dall Sheep Hunt

Go-Pro Stick Cam on Mountain Bike ride to Dall Sheep Hunt

Seamless transfers to your computer in an easy MOV file, the Go-Pro records to secure digital cards (SD) 2GB,-32GB (gigabyte) cards. Depending on the SD cards storage size, you will be looking at one-two hours of HD filming.  Closer to the pricing of the mid level game cameras such as Bushnells 8pixel  Trophy Cam, the Go-Pro is a steal.  For $299 Go-Pro hooks you up with the HD Hero 2 Professional camera package with all the basic attachments to get you in the field and filming with the press of a button.    When compared to higher end videographer camera rigs(costing thousands), with use lighting equipment, wireless microphones, additional camera lens, tripods, boom microphones, the Go-Pro has all of the above combined in a mini user friendly camera.  The Go-Pro has advanced settings with a manual book so you can customize your camera to your preferred setting.  However, it’s ready to film out of the package after a quick charge.

Go-Pro Stick Cam POV on Dalton Highway Caribou Hunt.  There was a full caribou on each of our backs in this photo.  The Go-Pro did all the cameraman work..

Go-Pro Stick Cam POV on Dalton Highway Caribou Hunt. There was a full caribou on each of our backs in this photo. The Go-Pro did all the cameraman work..

Throughout my experience as an outdoor videographer, I have purchased one Go-Pro that has traveled with me from Alaska, to Pennsylvania, to south Texas and everywhere in between.  This product is rugged and reliable, period.  Field producing many outdoor TV shows in the past few years, I have been privileged to meet some of the coolest people in the world. Take for example Mike Hanback, the dude is the real deal on and off camera.  We have made a couple whitetail episodes out of Texas with our buddies Sarge and Brandon. Each year several of the Go-Pro shots will make it to the silver screen.  Also, each videographer I’ve met in dual cameramen hunts had at bare minimum of one Go-Pro.  In my opinion the Go-Pro has revolutionized the way outdoor television productions are filmed, allowing for a very unique list of shots. This product no doubt makes the average Joe a hero, all with the press of a button.  The price is affordable for the American working man, and if your lucky maybe this year you’ll get an early Christmas present from a loved one.

-Austin Manelick

www.missionak.com

Spring Bear Hunting Alaska 2012

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, bear charge, bear maul, bears, big game hunting, bow and arrows, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, grizzly bear, grizzly brown bear, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, nature, public land, Rifles, shed hunting, The next generation

Image

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.

Image

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.

-Austin Manelick

Trophy Bull VS. Meat Bull

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, arrows, artic slope, bow and arrows, camping, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, guns, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, moose, Rifles, The next generation, traditional archery, Uncategorized, unguided hunting, wildlife

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.

2009 Moose Harvest

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.

Image

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.

Auggie with a double trophy, meat and antler.

Auggie with a double trophy, meat and antler.

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.