The 2011 hunting season, brought to you all last year via Live Hunt, was the best hunting season of my life.
We started off hunting black bears with traditional archery gear in Interior Alaska, where I was able to take a Pope & Young bear on the first night. August took me to the Arctic, chasing Dall sheep in the northern Brooks Range. After a long hike in, and hours behind the glass, my partners and I were able to harvest three beautiful rams on opening day.
As the leaves began to fall in Fairbanks, my partner Steve and I flew down to Kodiak Island to play our hand against the rain, and managed to climb our way to two tremendous mountain goats. I barely had a chance to clean my gear before my dad and I took our jet boat into the bush for a late-season moose hunt. After a couple days of fruitless calling, I enticed a small rut-crazed bull right into camp while I was chopping firewood on the last morning. He spooked, but my dad made an incredible 63-yard heart shot with his recurve. Then, in December, after getting grounded by a storm on my first attempt, I was finally able to make it to Afognak Island where I had an incredible time stalking Sitka blacktail deer, trapping fox and hunting sea ducks.
I’m fortunate to have some very unique opportunities living in Alaska, and that’s what we want to show you with Live Hunt 2012. Alaska is an incredible place, and truly the last frontier. Even to those who have seen it, the sheer vastness of this state is overwhelming. I once read that the most remote place in the Lower 48 was 18 miles from a road. Heck, most of Alaska is nowhere near a road. Because of that, we have some of the best hunting and fishing in the world, but sometimes it can be a huge challenge just getting to the best spots.
Unlike most places, travel in Alaska is completely subject to weather. Most places I hunt are only accessible by bush plane or boat, and Mother Nature often has a way of throwing a wrench my plans. Last spring, we attempted to boat up the Yukon River to hunt for black bears, but even in the middle of May there was so much ice in the river that it was impassable. On top of that, every hunt has different demands in different environments. From the rain and big timber of Afognak, to the barren, windswept North Slope, to the bitterly cold winter of the interior, each place and season presents its own challenges.
Although many of us are not originally “from” Alaska, we are unique. Alaska is literally the end of the road, and it attracts a certain spirited type of people. Alaskans are freedom-loving and independent minded folks who work hard to forge out a living, while tapping into the spirit of an older, simpler lifestyle. Many of us could not live anywhere else; we live life to the fullest, embracing all that is Alaska.
This year, I want to give you a taste of more of the amazing opportunities that come with life in Alaska, whether it’s hunting brown bears on the Alaska Peninsula, trapping wolves in the interior, or fly fishing for Arctic Grayling. It’s going to be another amazing year, and I can’t wait to bring you along with me.