After beating myself up over some bad shooting, a good night’s sleep, and a few extra practice arrows in the morning after breakfast, we were back in the boat. The weather was holding, so we headed back into the bays we had hunted the day before, and it quickly became apparent that there were even more deer on the beaches. On the first beach we checked there was a buck that had some real potential. We got within rifle range, but Wayne decided to pass since it wasn’t any bigger than his first buck.
Thanksgiving Day on Afognak Island brought a nasty windstorm. This made a lot of areas inaccessible by boat due to a large swell, so we hunted the woods around Seal Bay. Another of Luke’s buddies, Josh Tobey, and I were dropped off on one side of the bay, and Luke, Adam, and Kevin hopped off on the other.
I’m a fan of the saying “work smarter, not harder.” With that sentiment, I bring you this photo. It’s easy to prevent getting a hide bloody if you’re a trapper—most of the time. But if you do any predator hunting with a rifle, you know darn well that it’s hard to not end up with bloody hides. I've spent hours washing out coyote hides in five-gallon buckets.
A few weeks ago, I happened by chance to get a crack at a coyote, and shot him in the head with a .17 HMR. I dreaded putting that hide up; the coyote was gushing blood when I dragged him back to the truck.
It’s bound to happen eventually, that hunt that makes you wonder if someone has put a voodoo curse on you. This year’s sheep hunt, normally my comfort zone, had quickly turned into a nightmare. After things completely fell apart and I missed a beautiful ram, we put a stalk on an even bigger one. We were already discussing how we were going to pack him out, only to have him give us the slip when the deal was all but done. Having no choice but to forge ahead, we once again shouldered our packs. It took us several hours to work our way back uphill and into a saddle that dropped into a different river drainage.
As we eased our way into the saddle, we had to be careful. With every step we took across the top, more sheep came into view. They seemed to be everywhere. We had to slowly creep along, evaluating every ram that appeared as we made our way over the horizon. After watching one group of rams for about 20 minutes, we crept even farther so that we could see the steep slope directly below us. I was elated when we spotted the tight-curled ram that I had missed two nights earlier. He was 500 yards below us, feeding across a creek and up a grassy draw.
Tyler Freel is on 10-day brown bear hunt on the Alaskan peninsula. He's battling tough weather conditions and rugged terrain while trying to take a bear with his recurve bow. Freel will be calling in regularly on a satellite phone to give updates on his hunt. Here's his first report from day 1 in the bush.
I'm still pretty excited about my goat hunting on Kodiak Island. My buddy Steve and I braved hard-hitting rains and spent five days glassing and stalking mountain goats. It took us a while to figure things out because we were fairly new to goat hunting, but Steve ended up taking a massive 350-pound billy and I shot a my first mountain goat right before a storm hit. Here's some bonus video footage from that hunt.
With my Kodiak Island mountain goat and blacktail deer hunt less than a week away, I’m getting all my bags packed and equipment checked for another hunt of a lifetime.
Goat populations are exploding on Kodiak Island. For years they were draw only, but recently it was opened to any Alaskan resident willing to make the trip. Well, my buddy and I are willing, and are going to try to do it with recurve bows. This requires a few extra steps when dialing in the gear – namely fletching arrows and sharpening broadheads.
Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to pack multiple animals out of the wilderness and into my freezer. Through trial and error I’ve discovered hauling heavy loads is as much art as science. You need a good amount of brute strength and plenty of mental toughness, but there are a few tricks you can do to lighten that load.
1) Bring a minimum of three game bags. This will allow you the option of splitting the animal up into at least three loads.
2) If you plan on taking the elk out in three loads, keep in mind you will need to pack your camp out as well, so make one bag light enough to account for the weight of your gear. Otherwise that last hike out will kill you.
After my recent Colorado mule deer hunt video the editors at Outdoor Life had a couple questions for me. First, how the hell did I miss a 10-yard shot? Second, how the hell did I re-knock my arrow so fast and get off an accurate follow-up shot?
The answer to the first questions was simple: the deer was moving a lot faster than my arrow when he blew off his bed. The awesome GoPro footage shows the arrow right on path, but the deer bounded out of the way. When the arrow arrived at its intended destination the deer had turned and bolted.
I’m not a mule deer hunter at heart. You see, I have what’s called ELK A.D.D. When the bulls start to bugle, everything else in life seems to fade away, including mule deer.
But this year it was a little different. A friend invited me to hunt some prime mule deer habitat in western Colorado. I couldn’t pass it up. This hunt was to be a little different than my standard 5-mile hike into the remote wilderness. It was private land that bordered oil company property, where we also had permission to hunt. It was a short hike in, so what it lacked in beauty it also lacked in physical punishment.
My hunting partner and I headed out a day before the season to get a few bucks bedded down for opening morning. Everything was working out as planned and several bucks were spotted, so we walked back to camp to make dinner. It was getting close to nine o’clock when my Mountain House Chili Mac was ready to eat. Little did I know that this simple meal was going to cause a whole lot of pain.