April/May 2013 EHJ (Issue 136) - The day had finally come! Months of planning, organizing and building excitement were finally behind us. The cool Alaskan morning met me at the cabin’s threshold as we prepared to depart into the wilderness, leaving the warmth of our outfitters cabin and embarking on what would be the most grueling fifteen days of hunting I have ever experienced. Joining me on this hunt would be my co-worker, Brad Kile. Few people have the passion for hunting like Brad and I do and I couldn’t have found a better hunting partner for the trip.
Moose, caribou and grizzly were to be hunted first. After landing on a remote gravel bar that was questionable at best we quickly set up camp, as rain was on its way. Our guide while in the field was Doug Powers, a lifetime Alaskan that could only be described as "the MacGyver of the North” and a true mountain man in every sense of the word. Also known as "the Moose Killer,” Doug had 90 moose to his credit and I was hoping to take number 91.
The first few days in the field proved to be exciting. Although it rained every day, we were seeing moose. Several of the bulls were legal, however our guide wanted to get us something that was not only respectable, but enviable by Alaskan standards. We finally managed to locate two bulls that would have stretched sixty inches but were not able to get a shot.
What people don’t realize about Alaska is that the bush will swallow you. The bush in the Alaska Range was thick, tall, and spread from one side of the mountain range to the next. I have seen photos in magazines and assumed the bush might be waist high, but this is not the case. We did not get a shot but it was a memorable experience nonetheless.
One afternoon while glassing for moose we spotted a caribou. A couple other caribou had been located previously but this one had nice tops and was in an area we could do a viable spot and stalk. After crossing nearly two miles of brush-filled valley we got to a vantage point above where the caribou was feeding and Brad was able to anchor the bull.
By the end of day six we were thoroughly soaked and unable to dry out. Going back to the outfitters cabin for a day to get dry clothes and dry our gear turned into a five-day layover as the Super Cub could not get back to pick us up due to the weather. So far, it had rained everyday with the exception of the day we flew into base camp.
Finally getting a break in the weather, we were able to relocate to sheep country. Glassing the surrounding mountains we immediately located several sheep; most were ewes and lambs but the occasional ram was also found. Although none of the rams we were seeing were legal they were rams and excitement was building!
For a full account of Chris's adventure, go to page 48 in the April/May 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.