My Yukon Adventure

By Greg Poley
Yukon Territory, 2009, Guided, Public Land
80x2June/July 2011 EHJ (Issue 125) - My Yukon hunt began with a trip to the Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City in 2009. I was introduced to Jarrett Deuling and Ralph Adams of Deuling Stone Outfitters. I wanted to meet my potential outfitter face to face rather than over the phone or on the Internet.

Jarrett grew up in Whitehorse and went to work for Peter Koser as a guide. After six years, he and Ralph purchased Koser’s concession. I talked to Jarrett and looked at his photo album, and that’s when he told me he had an opening for a September horseback hunt. I wanted to hunt on horseback because it would enable me to glass, see more country, and be more selective.

After returning home, I thought about what to do, ultimately calling Jarrett and telling him to book the hunt. My dream hunt was underway!

Summer went by quickly and on September 3, I was headed for Whitehorse. On September 4, Jarrett’s mother, Mickey, picked me up at the airport and took me to my motel. I checked in, wandered around town that afternoon, and organized my gear for the floatplane flight the next day.

The next morning we boarded the float plane, an Otter, for the 170-air-mile trip from Whitehorse to base camp. I’ve heard and seen how vast the country is on various TV programs, but until you see it firsthand, it’s impossible to imagine the grandeur of it all. We arrived at base camp on the McMillan River and I was surprised to find how comfortable base camp actually was. They had two cabins, a few wall tents with wood stoves and a portable shower.

At base camp, we shot our rifles and prepared our gear for our pack trip into spike camp the next day. I was also introduced to my guide, Harold Rocca. Harold was 57 years old and had emigrated from Germany at the age of 20. He had been guiding for 37 years, runs a trapline, and also operates Northern Sea Kayak, a ten-day kayak adventure along the coast of Alaska.

Our wrangler was a younger fellow, Paul Harder. Paul proved to be a good hand with the horses. I also met two guys from Canada, Kade and Sheldon, who would stay at base camp and do a boat hunt.

The next morning, September 6, we loaded up four pack horses, saddled our three riding horses and headed up the trail on our six-hour ride to spike camp. Once there, we set up two dome tents for sleeping and a fly for our kitchen, and then had dinner. Just before dark, I looked down in the meadow and saw my first bull moose. He came out and saw the horses grazing, spooked and headed for cover. He looked to be in the upper 50-inch range.

Greg Poley

For a full account of Greg's adventure, go to page 36 in the June/July 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.