Dall sheep season opens today here in Alaska. Anybody out there hunting these beautiful animals? http://ow.ly/i/5RyA4
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
Anyone planning to moose hunt in the Brookes Range please be advised, there will be area closures and changes coming in the near future according to this Anchorage Daily News article. Please read further to see if this affects your hunting plans this fall. MOOSE Hunters: Alaska is HUGE and contains a large number of moose around the state. There are so many different mountain ranges, endless rivers to float, and ground to cover to find the bull of your dreams in Alaska. This probably doesn’t affect many of the hunters in the south central region of the state, so hunt on!
North Slope moose hunts axed with steep decline of numbers
Arctic SounderJune 1, 2014
As of last week, moose hunts on the North Slope were scaled back, or canceled altogether, for the fall and winter, due to a steep decline in population.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced drawing permits for moose in game management units 26A and 26B will not be issued, as the number of moose in the two North Slope regions dropped by 50 percent.
Hunters who had drawn permits will receive letters explaining the closure.
Further, the recently extended general season for subsistence hunters will be shortened by two weeks in 26A, said area biologist Geoff Carroll from Barrow last week, while the general hunt in 26B will be closed.
According to Fish and Game, part of the decline is a result of poor nutrition related to a late spring in 2013, and poor conditions during the following summer.
“These are the most northern moose in America, and they’re way up on the ragged edge of habitable range,” Carroll said.
In a good year, they have a very short window to feed on plants between green-up and freeze-up, but the winter is prolonged, it makes conditions even more challenging.
“On top of that, you’ve got a certain number of wolves and bears and so when you have a sudden drop in the population of moose for other reasons, all of a sudden the ratio of predators to moose changes,” Carroll said.
“What we’re doing now is trying to encourage more wolf and bear hunting in that area, while at the same time reducing the moose harvest.”
All nonresident hunting has been axed, while locals will have a shortened season. The general season was extended by a 5-2 vote at a January Board of Game meeting, with the amendment that Fish and Game could cut back the number of days if the population dropped, which it did.
“The reason that the people of Nuiqsut requested the longer season was because of the warmer fall temperatures, which makes it harder to keep your meat in good shape,” Carroll said.
“However, we need to cut back on harvesting. But they didn’t really lose much, they just didn’t gain that extra two weeks.”
The scheduled winter hunt from mid-February to mid-April has also been canceled for 2015.
As with any animal, moose populations fluctuate from year to year. And when there is a decrease, and thus no excess for hunting, hunts are restricted, said Fairbanks Fish and Game biologist Cathie Harms.
“Populations of wildlife are never stable,” Harms said. “Right now that population doesn’t have a surplus and so we dramatically reduced hunting, and now we just have to wait and see what effect it has.”
Harms noted most of the hunting is for bull moose, but a rebound on the population will depend on higher calf-survival rates.
This year, few 10-month-old calves were observed, signifying most of last year’s young ones did not survive. Predation by wolves on weakened moose may have also contributed, according to a release from Fish and Game.
The North Slope moose population was stable through the ’70s and ’80s, Carroll said. In the early 1990s the population was up to just more than 1,500 moose. But the numbers took a nosedive shortly after and dropped to about 300.
“They clawed their way out and we had pretty steady growth and they got back up to about 1,200 by 2008,” Carroll said.
The numbers dropped again and the population started to climb until last year.
“It looked like they were going to recover again but instead, this last year, we had another drop of about 50 percent.”
Currently the population on the North Slope is at about 280-300 moose — as low as the population has ever been, Carroll said.
With nonresident moose hunting opportunities closed on the North Slope, the general season for residents will be open in Unit 26A from Aug. 1 through Sept. 14.
Harms said she has heard from two hunters who drew permits to hunt moose up North, and while they were disappointed, they obviously understand the reasons for the closure.
“Hunters being the original conservationists anyway, don’t want to hunt if the population can’t stand a harvest,” she said.
Hunters with questions about the hunt can call Fish and Game offices in Barrow or Fairbanks.
This story first appeared in The Arctic Sounder and is republished here with permission.
This is what Mission Alaska is all about…. THE ADVENTURE! Created by Premier Frontier Productions this video footage was compiled from adventures across the entire state. For more information check out www.premierfrontierproductions.com. Ever dreamed of exploring this beautiful place? This video gives a great sense of the raw beauty and rugged terrain this state is known for.
Thanks for the great music Noble Firs, “Night Driving” rocks the forests in this video. (From the Album Rockoon)
Special gear thanks to Pretty Fly for a White Guy, Barney’s Sports Chalet, Alpacka Raft, and Campbell Cameras.
Good news for Alaskan hunters.
You can read the full article here:
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!
Pilot program produces 1st Ranger grad
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.”
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.
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. The 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. 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.
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).
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.
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.
Here is a video found on youtube that shows three Alaskan bull moose harvests. If you like moose hunting then you’ll like this moose hunting video.
Interesting information on the growth of hunting in America, over all there have been some large movements in the self sufficient community. In 2007, the New Oxford American Dictionary selected locavore as the “Word of the Year.” “individuals who go afield for reasons of self-sufficiency and a desire for organic, local, chemical-free meat.” as explained by the Responsive Management (http://www.responsivemanagement.com/download/reports/Hunt_Fish_Increase_Report.pdf) a report conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Southwhick Associates. In this excellent article written by Ben O’Brien, Steven Rinella, Andrew Zimmern, and Georgia Pellegrini weigh in on why hunting is such and important part of our culture. Hunting is on the rise in America, check out the links for some great information on the benefits of this lifestyle.
Read more: http://www.petersenshunting.com/2014/03/21/meat-eater-revolution/#ixzz2x0f76YBq