2016 Alaska Dall Sheep Hunt “Mountain Memories”

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, big game hunting, DIY hunting, extreme hunting, Field Producer, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, Hunting with Camera, meat, nature, public land, unguided hunting, wild game, wildlife

Follow along with team members and brothers Austin & Auggie as they go after Dall Sheep in Alaska’s rugged backcountry.

 

8 tips for DIY Alaskan Moose Hunting

alaska, alaska hunting expedition, antler, antler hunting, archery hunting, big game hunting, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, moose, unguided hunting, wild game

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  1. Game plan:

Need to make a good game plan with solid logistics and stick to it. Maps are critical to success, understanding game regulations and the area you are hunting are first priorities.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.main) home website provides great information on where to start and how to finish a successful moose hunt.   This can help answer many of the initial questions someone has concerning a DIY Alaskan moose hunt, this should be the first place to start when coming up with a moose hunting game plan.  You can find things like harvest statistics for your selected hunting area and animal information, hunting license and tags, pictures on how to field judge a moose, and most importantly all the regulations controlling your hunt.

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  1. Pre/ in-season scouting: internet research – fly over – ground visit

The digital age is upon us and information is more available now than ever.  Internet databases such as outdoor forum directories and www.rokslide.com make scouting a little easier.  Some individuals like to fly into a hunting area and scout on the way, although there is rules that prevent hunters to chase animals the same day they are airborne.  With no pre-season scouting for the majority of hunters out there, they must rely on putting boots on the ground and looking for the freshest moose sign possible.  Printed maps of your area is instrumental for moose hunting.  Know your area and how to move from point A to B (or at least have a game plan for it).

  1. Vantage point glassing

If you don’t have the option of scouting the area you will be hunting and have not targeted any particular bulls then gaining a vantage point to glass your hunting area is key.  One technique used by saged Alaskan moose hunters is to hike the closest hill then climb a tree, allowing them to survey their hunting area. Climb a spruce tree or cottonwood or use techniques such as climbing a telescoping ladder to get above brushy swamps. Hiking above tree-line in the mountains and letting your optics do the walking for you increases your chances to see animals as well.  In general visibility diminishes at lower elevations and gaining a vantage point could be your saving grace.

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4.Wind direction

Always plan morning and evening hunts around wind direction. Moose (even rutting bulls) will usually circle 100-900 hundreds yards down wind before closing the distance.  This early season archery bull circled 100-200 yards down wind before bedding permanently this 2014.

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  1. Calling – antler raking

Antler raking or scraping is great for moose hunting because not a high level of skill or knowledge of the moose language is needed.  Simply breaking and scraping spruce tree branches can be enough. Listening for a response to your call is crucial.  Sometimes bulls approach silent, other times they will rake their antlers and/or grunt.  An old moose shoulder blade, plastic oil container, milk jug, protein jug, commercialized fiberglass calls, birch tree bark scrapers, they all work to some degree.  The last moose hunt I went on we made a moose scraper out of a jug of Muscle Milk protein and called in a dandy bull fit for the freezer.

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  1. Be prepared to sleep out: survival kit essentials

You can add more items to this list, but I wouldn’t subtract any of these items or be caught dead in the field without them.  Moose are just like any of the other member of the deer family, they move most at first light and last light depending on the photo period and rut phase.  Knocking down a moose at last light can lead to a long evening away from the shelter of base camp, if you leave your survival kit you’ll be wishing you had one.  If your not prepared to siwash* then your not prepared to harvest a bull moose.

Survival kit – bare minimum

  • flagging tape
  • rope
  • sleeping bag (emergency blanket, and/or bivy sack,etc)
  • two sources of ignition(bic lighter, magnesium fire starter, etc…)
  • small fold out saw
  • a knife
  • 8×12 tarp (or bigger)
  • emergency rations of food (cliffs bars, beef Jerky, etc)
  • compass and GPS

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  1. Correct gear: a few guidelines

Gear selection can make or break a hunt, rough weather and terrain are inevitable on an Alaskan adventure.  Your gear will experience some wear and tear, no doubt. GEAR: Hunting methods differ and depend on the individual hunter but here are a few guidelines for equipment.  A heavier rifle caliber capable to shoot 200+ grained bullets out to 300 yards should do the trick. Quality binoculars 8x32s work great, these help hunters field judge moose on those late evening sits in low light conditions.  Tent camp with the option to spike camp(1x bigger and 1x smaller tent ), sleeping bag and pads for everyone(0 degree rating mummy bags), and one action packer(tote or cooler) filled with a camp kitchen. An 8×12 (or larger) tarp works great to keep rain off your meat and doubles as a clean surface to help in field processing.  A small fold out saw is nice to have along for splitting the sternum, removing antlers, limbs, and gathering firewood.  A minimum of eight game bags should be brought, I like to bring 16 in case we drop another moose and/or need to change the game bags in the field if they get wet or dirty. Bring a big enough back pack or packing frame to fit 80-150 pound hind quarters/shoulders in it, day packs simply will not suffice. Cordage, you need much more rope than you think. Extra rope of all sizes along with a giant role of B-50 cord will really help you out in the long run, especially if your buddies aren’t their to lift those heavy moose quarters.  An old guide trick I learned a while back was to tie a moose leg with B-50 cord to the closest tree limb you can find, this relieves pressure on the hunter to hold the leg, the knife, and then make the cut.  Much more could be said about the correct gear needed for a moose hunt, this all circles back your game plan and methods for transportation to get you in and out of the field.

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  1. Mental and physical toughness:

Moose hunting is tough, one must be mentally and physically ready to handle the task at hand.  Once you knock down a moose the “fun is over”, after getting some beautiful trophy shots the slicing and dicing begins.   It will take an average hunter about 3-8 hrs to field dress/quarter a moose in preparation for the pack out.   Rule of thumb in Alaska is to not shoot a moose more than one mile away from your transportation; this is where physical toughness and mental toughness play a huge role. There are many bulls that go noticed yet untouched because hunters don’t want to deal with all the work, the big boys are out there you may just have to work harder than you bargained for.  That being said, there are even bigger bulls that go unnoticed and untouched you just have to be semi-insane to go after them.  This bull (pictured lower left) was a few miles past a public hiking trail. It took five days of meat packing up and over 2,500ft mountains to get this moose in the freezer, hands down one of the most grueling pack outs I have personally been apart of.

A back-country pack after a successful harvest

 

Take these tips with a grain of salt. There are many seasoned moose hunters out there that have come home and filled their freezers using different tactics. Point is, you can’t kill them from the couch… Do your research and get out there!

Hit hard,

AM

*Siwash: verb – camp without a tent.

 

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Austin with Vince(aka”Moose Sensei”) and their 2013 Alaskan bull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venison Summer Brats: Just in “Thyme” for Independence Day

Butchering, Field Producer, game processing, hunting, Hunting Culture, meat, Sausage Making, The next generation, traditional archery, wild game, wildlife

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.

Ready For The Grinder

Ready For The Grinder

Grind #1

Grind #1

Fresh Herbs From The Garden

Fresh Herbs From The Garden

Thyme, Hot & Spicy Oregano, Parsley

Thyme, Hot & Spicy Oregano, Parsley

The Final Blend

The Final Blend

Casing is Ready

Casing is Ready

Finished Sausage

Finished Sausage

 

Ready For The Grill

Ready For The Grill

– Jon Dykes

@realjondykes

Enjoy your venison….

“Happy Independence Day America”!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States)

July 4th, 1776, the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

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

 

Wild Boar Breakfast Sausage

Butchering, DIY hunting, game processing, hog hunting, meat, nature, wild game

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.

Jungle bacon from Austin's harvest.

Wild Hawaiian Pork

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.

Breakfast Sausage Seasonings

Breakfast Sausage Seasonings

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.

Grinding Sausage

Grinding Sausage

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.

Ground Wild Sausage

Ground Wild Sausage

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.

Wild Boar Sausages

Wild Boar Sausages

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.

 

-Jon Dykes

@realjondykes