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Alaskan Hunter Takes Extremely Rare Banded King Eider

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January 17, 2012
Alaskan Hunter Takes Extremely Rare Banded King Eider - 3

After about a 12-hour delay in Anchorage, Ramsey Russell of Getducks.com and I made it to St. Paul Island, Alaska, at 2:00 a.m. and met up with Moe Neale and Jeff Wasley of Alaskan Eider Outfitters. That’s the good part. The bad part is that my bag with all my clothing, my cooler and my Benelli Super Vinci were still in Anchorage.

The amazing part of this trip took place the next morning when campmate Trevor Peterson of Bethell, Alaska, who is here with his father Greg, of Helena, Montana, came back to the house -- with the first pull of the trigger he dropped a king eider. But not just any king -- a banded king!

To put this into perspective, collecting a banded king eider is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, killing a 200-plus inch whitetail buck or hitting a Powerball lottery jackpot.

In fact, when we arrived in the wee hours of the dark morning, Russell joked with Neale and Wasley that he was fully expecting them to guide us to a banded king. Both laughed and said it would never happen; that there aren’t any, or at least that they’ve never seen one or even heard of one.

Then what happens? Peterson pulls up with his guide, Dustin Jones, on a four-wheeler with a banded king -- can anyone say ironic?

It was Peterson’s first day to hunt and while sitting on St. Paul Island’s shoreline rocks in the pre-shooting-hour light, he just had to watch king eider after king eider pass by until Jones told him it was legal to shoot. Moments later a pair of drake kings zipped by and one of them met a load of Hevi-Shot #2s. It crumpled. Peterson had his first king eider and a band.

The king eider was banded right here on St. Paul Island on March 14, 1996 as an adult. Here’s exactly how special this bird is: from 1962 to 2011 only 591 king eiders have been banded. Of those, only nine bands have been collected. Peterson’s makes 10.

 

Comments (3)

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from Trever Greene wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

For me, I would much rather hit the powerball lottery, but that being said, I might (would)devote a fairly large portion of my winnings in trying to shoot a banded King Eider. lol Not to mention that 200+" whitetail, a 500 class Bull Elk, trophy sheep in most every color, and anything else that I have not done yet. Ah, the possibilities.

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from Jnelson64 wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

That is truly amazing! and it was banded in '96 as an adult? thats an old bird! As someone who has banded ducks, geese, and woodcock for the last two years, getting a band return is really exciting. It's great to see where these birds have come from and ended up.

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Even though I am not a duck hunter I appreciate posts like this and find them interesting. Those are some beautiful birds and some extreme hunting to be sure. What do they taste like compared to other ducks shot in the lower 48?
There are 581 banded Eiders left out there somewhere good luck getting the number 11.
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Even though I am not a duck hunter I appreciate posts like this and find them interesting. Those are some beautiful birds and some extreme hunting to be sure. What do they taste like compared to other ducks shot in the lower 48?
There are 581 banded Eiders left out there somewhere good luck getting the number 11.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jnelson64 wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

That is truly amazing! and it was banded in '96 as an adult? thats an old bird! As someone who has banded ducks, geese, and woodcock for the last two years, getting a band return is really exciting. It's great to see where these birds have come from and ended up.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trever Greene wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

For me, I would much rather hit the powerball lottery, but that being said, I might (would)devote a fairly large portion of my winnings in trying to shoot a banded King Eider. lol Not to mention that 200+" whitetail, a 500 class Bull Elk, trophy sheep in most every color, and anything else that I have not done yet. Ah, the possibilities.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)