Trapping wolves is all too often an exercise in frustration. Since catching that pretty black wolf early in December, the pack has only been back once, and I missed them.
I had several snares set in their trails (which they tend to use each time they come through the area), but the day before they came, a wind storm filled in all of their old tracks. It made me sick to see their new trails going right by 6 of my snare sets. All I could do was set more and keep waiting.
Although the action can be slow with trapping, sometimes you just get lucky. As I was headed out to the cabin to spend the weekend checking and setting lynx traps, I had what I consider to be a very rare and lucky opportunity, even for Alaska. [ Read Full Post ]
With only one day left on my December hunt in Afognak, the weather finally turned in our favor and that night the snow began to fall. When it snows on Afognak, the deer hunting is incredible. Because their food in the forest gets iced over, many of the deer make their way down to the beaches to feed on kelp. Even though it only snowed a couple inches, we went out the next morning with high hopes knowing there would be a lot of bucks about.
Once the deer settle on the beach, some sort of strange mental disconnect occurs. The bigger bucks are still fairly spooky, but as you can see in the video, many deer flat out ignore hunters. Does and fawns will let you walk right up to them on the beach, but in timber they spook with the snap of a branch. [ Read Full Post ]
After ending his December Afognak blacktail deer hunt on a beautiful day, my new hunting buddy Frank was lucky to get out of camp just before the storm hit. Trading spots with him was Wayne Farnsworth, and even though the weather was turning fast, we took it in stride. The north end of Afognak is covered in big timber, looking much like coastal Washington or Oregon. When the weather gets bad, the deer head for the thick forest, and hunting can still be good if you get in there after them.
Wayne came to finish his Super Slam (taking every big-game animal in North America), and wanted to do it with a bow. So that afternoon we started pushing peninsulas and choke points, hoping to nudge a buck within bow range for Wayne. [ Read Full Post ]
In my last post I wrote about what sort of calibers are sufficient for brown bear hunting. In this post I'll give you some tips on how to avoid getting mauled while hunting among these critters. Here's the story behind my latest bear run-in, which came about last month while I was deer hunting Afognak Island. [ Read Full Post ]
I’ve heard a lot of opinions on what it takes to kill a brown bear, and most of the cartridges I hear guys talking about would dislocate my shoulder.
During my week at Afognak Wilderness Lodge, I had plenty of time to talk about all kinds of stuff like that with guide Luke Randall. And if anyone knows what kind of firepower is necessary to kill a brown bear, it's Luke. [ Read Full Post ]
For most people, all they know about wolves is what they see on TV. They learn that wolves are majestic, dominant predators with unmatched intelligence in their domain (which is true). Unfortunately they are also told that wolves are compassionate to one another, they kill only to survive, and they kill only weak and sick animals. They’re also told wolves never attack humans.
It churns my stomach every time I see one of these shows because I can see that it portrays wolves from a specific angle and doesn’t tell the whole story. By spending days on end in the bush, hunting and trapping, I’ve seen both sides of the wolf. So, here are a few hard truths that you won’t get from a nature show. [ Read Full Post ]
Well, in the last post where I was getting my wolf traps set in preparation for a pack that has been using my trail, I said I would keep you updated. I just didn’t realize things would happen this quickly.
As I rode my snowmachine up my trapline last week, I was very excited when I saw the narrow band of wolf tracks, a telltale sign of a pack walking single file. As I closed the next half-mile to where my traps were set, my stomach churned and mind raced.
By the time I actually got close to my traps, my heart was pounding but my excitement turned to sickness as I saw a wolf had stepped on the jaw of one of my blind sets, one inch from hitting the pan.
Strike one. [ Read Full Post ]