Weekend Whiteout

Hauling a load of moose bones & hide to use for wolf bait, my dad pushes down the trail. We had to break through 30 miles of snowdrifts in a -20 blizzard just to get to where we started checking traps! Not the toughest trapline run out there, but it was interesting…
Being covered head to toe is a HUGE deal. You'll find out real quick if you have any exposed skin!
We have to do a couple of river crossings on this route and overflow can often make them a little sketchy! For those not familiar with it, overflow occurs when water in a river is pushed above and flows over the ice. It can be easy to lose traction and get your snowmachine stuck in it, soaking yourself in the process.
It's surprising that even at 20 below, there can be a lot of overflow! Fortunately this time it was minimal, but you never know. Sometimes it doesn't soak up to the surface of the snow and it can give you quite the surprise when you break through!
Dressing properly for these conditions and being prepared for what COULD happen can easily mean the difference between being uncomfortable and being dead. Everything from "bunny boots" to layering, to my otter fur hat kept me comfortable all day.
Winter in this country is an amazing time. It is a totally different world than in the summer. It's serene and quiet, almost like the woods are asleep. Slogging through the knee deep powder, it's hard to imagine that this place is full of bears in the summer!
But they are here! We found this tree a couple years ago. A HUGE grizzly had stood on his hind legs and left these claw marks in this spruce tree. For a reference, I am 6'3" tall, and the claw marks went all the way up to about 13 feet! The span of his paws was about 9 inches, which would make for around a 10 foot bear!
Come springtime, cabin windows have to be boarded up again! More than one unlucky fellow has traveled many miles to arrive at a cabin that has been wrecked by a grizzly!
This bear board looks like something out of the middle ages, but it sure works to keep them from tearing your cabin door down!
We finally got to what we came for…trapping! This is an Alaskan #9 wolf trap. I always carry a board to set them on, as they are VERY powerful and dang near impossible to set otherwise!
The makings of a good urine post set. This set with a #9 has led to the demise of a lot of wolves!
Trap set and covered with fox urine on a spruce sapling on the edge of my trail. If all goes as planned, if/when a wolf comes through, he will want to pee on that spot to mark his territory, stepping on the trap in the process!
Another wolf set, the leftovers of a moose carcass and hide set alongside the trail. Traps set in the trail going to and coming from the bait, as well as a few on a trail that circles the bait is a good way to catch wolves, second to actually finding a kill they have made.
The day wasn't a total bust! We had this nice cross fox waiting for us in a snare! He's no lynx (we didn't catch any this time), but better than a sharp stick in the eye!
Loaded up and ready to go home! It was snowing like the dickens! It snowed the better part of a foot while we were out for the day!
Another reason to have gear that will work in all conditions, doing this kind of thing, even the stuff under your coat tends to get snow packed in it! Well that's all for this trip, be sure and keep checking back to see what we are up to as we are getting ready to really kick off the 2011 Live Hunt season!

On a weekend where much of the country is being hit with winter storm warnings, Alaska is no exception. Snow or shine, traps have to be checked, so out we went!