Archive for the deer hunting Category

Large, small scale building projects 2

Posted in alaska, deer hunting, fishing, hunting, photography, sitka deer, travel, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by polarguide

The summer has ended and heavy sheets of rain have begun falling from the sky.  The strong winds of fall have blown me back to Juneau and I am finally getting to do a little writing.  I was hoping to write more about my building project but during the summer I don’t have electricity or access to the internet and so I wasn’t able to make regular posts.  Also, I was so busy working and trying to build that by the end of the day I was too exhausted to write.

I’m pleased with my progress.  Considering that we still have no road access and I carried nearly every board in on my back,  I am happy with the amount of work I was able to accomplish this past summer.

I completed the foundation, framed the walls, got most of them sheathed with plywood and the roof is on. I was able to get tar paper on the roof and battened down a couple of tarps.  Unless I get a windfall of money sometime soon, the tin roofing material will have to wait until next spring.

Before I button up the the project for the winter, I will have to finish sheathing all the walls with plywood and wrap the entire structure with Tyvek.  I hope to have this done by the first week in november.

Three framed walls

Three framed walls

The foundations took a long time and was alot of work.  Once I carried in all of the wood, the framing was much faster.

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Building the loft took one afternoon and the front and back walls went up super fast.

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Jeff and Katie enjoying the view from the loft.

My friend Katie helped get the roof on.  When it came time to start the roof construction I was under some pressure to get it done quickly.  The fall rain had arrived and I had to leave town.  I could have constructed the roof alone, but with Katies help it was done in half the time.

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In between bouts of building I guided five, ten day sea kayak expeditions into remote parts of south east Alaska, then captained a small water taxi transporting people across the ocean from Gustavus to the remote destinations of their choice.  Now that summer is over and fall has arrived I have moved back to Juneau and will be making weekend visits to Gustavus to weatherize the cabin before the first snow. In the mean time its hunting and fishing to fill the freezer with fresh food from the sea and forest. here are a few photos from our most recent fishing outings for salmon halibut and black cod.

Hunting day turned into a rescue mission when we found this faun swimming the ocean.

Hunting day turned into a rescue mission when we found this faun swimming the ocean.

Cold and near drowning we pulled the little guy out of the frigid ocean and dropped him on the shore of Admiralty Island.

Cold and near drowning we pulled the little guy out of the frigid ocean and dropped him on the shore of Admiralty Island.

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Jeffie and a big Halibut

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Brocklie and a bucket of salmon

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Amanda loves her some Coho salmon

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Brock reels in a big black cod!

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the big one!

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Weekend harvest adventure part 2

Posted in alaska, bears, deer hunting, photography, travel, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by polarguide

Finger on the trigger, glaring through the scope I thought to myself ” I know this bear.”   This was the same bear I photographed the previous week.  I recognized his coffee colored legs and shimmering golden shoulders.  He had a mischievous look in his eye. He struck me then as a young bear, maybe three years old, recently abandoned by his mother trying to find his place int he world.

This guy

The tone of My voice dropped, low and threatening, “Hey bear.”  He planted his front paws, lowered his head and gazed up at me from under his eyebrows.  Then he turned and strode away, peering over his shoulder as if concerned I might be following.  I lowered my firearm  and turned to find my three amigos standing behind me.  The bear apparently decided four were too many to take and went about his business of digging roots and catching fish.

One hour later we were back on the Taurus. Exhilarated and Giddy from the cold we ripped off our wet clothes.  Someone opened a bottle of whiskey and passed it around. We each took a slug, then a second.  We laughed.  We laughed about our wet clothing. We laughed about Zach falling in the river and the bear that stole the fish. We laughed that our hands were so cold we couldn’t button our pants.  The bottle made another round.  ” What was that bear thinking?”  Zach asked.  “Aah, he was just a young bear trying to claim some territory,”  I answered.   “I am surprised you raised your gun at him,”  Shellie added.  ” Well,”  I said  “I had no intention of shooting him, I just wanted to be prepared in case he made a run at me.”

We chugged out of Mud Bay, back into Icy strait.  The sky sagged with heavy grey clouds.  The wind whipped white caps across the surface of the water.  We headed west along the north shore of Chichagof Island toward  Idaho Inlet.

Shaw Island is a small islet that floats off the western shore of Idaho Inlet.   “Wanna cruise by Shaw and scan the beach for deer?” Zach suggested.  “Shaw is pretty small,” I replied. “Not sure why a deer would be way out there, but worth a shot I guess.”  Zach swung the boat  south to scan the northern shore of Shaw Island.  From the aft deck I strained to see through my rifle scope as the boat bounced across the chop. We approached within one hundred yards when, surprisingly, I spotted a good size deer standing at the waters edge.  It’s honey colored coat contrasted with the dark  beach boulders.

The bow of the the Taurus crunched to a stop on the rocky beach and the deer slunk into the forest.  I was over the bow, rifle loaded and ducking under alder bows moments later.  I crept thirty feet into the dark understory then stood still and waited.  The deer appeared from behind a log twenty feet to my right and froze in alarm.  I jerked the rifle into place but  I forgot,while I was scanning the beach from the boat I had my scope zoomed in at maximum power, at this distance all I could see was a blur of brown .   I lowered my gun to decrease the zoom. The deer took three steps forward and evaporated into the forest.

I crouched, trying to see which way the deer had gone.  I peered through a riot of roots, shrubs and downed trees.  I ducked under some dead fall and knelt exactly where the deer had stood.  I adjusted the focus of my eyes, trying to see between the forest. Looking for a flick of a tail or twitch of an ear, a splash of brown in symphony of color.  He was gone.

He couldn’t be far, only seconds had passed. I was in awe of his ability to completely disappear so effortlessly. Creeping over down logs and wading through tangles of blueberry bushes I came to a rise in the landscape and followed a well used game trail up a  steep ridge line. I arrived at the top out of breath and discouraged.  No way a bumbling bi-ped like me  could track such a silent and elusive creature through this jungle. I leaned against a tree drawing  deep, quiet breaths and listened, hoping the deer was still close by.

He bounced out of thin air and landed on an open patch of moss thirty yards away.  Standing broad side with all four hooves planted firmly on the ground, head turned looking directly at me, he froze in perfect position. A beam of pale sunlight broke through the trees and landed squarely on his statuesque silhouette. I blinked with disbelief.

I rolled my left hand over the stock of the rifle and snapped the safety off.  My heart quickened. I could feel blood bounding in my neck, my breath short and quick.  I placed the cross hairs on his chest just behind his left leg. My aim bounced with each beat of my heart. I took a deep breath and with a slow exhale squeezed the trigger.  The roar of my rifle echoed through the trees, out past the cobble stone beach and died somewhere over the foggy ocean.

I rested the firearm against a tree and gulped down a few more deep breaths.  I let my nerves settle, waited for my heart to slow then cautiously walked to the deer. I ran my right hand over its coarse golden coat and quietly thanked it.  I Grabbed up the fur on the scruff of its neck a began the slow drag through the dense forest. I gutted him on the beach and skinned the carcass on the Taurus as we continued west through South Inian Pass and into Cross Sound.

We spent that night on the Shoreline scow.  The Shoreline scow is a floating fish barge that buys salmon around the clock from fisherman working the Cross Sound fishery.  The scow floats in Lisianski Inlet just five miles from the the gulf of Alaska and the open pacific ocean.  It is operated by an all female crew affectionately know as the scow girls.  My girlfriend Liz works on the the scow from time to time.  We decided to pay her a visit, cook the scow girls a fresh meal of venison and get an early start fishing in the morning.

By mid-Sunday morning we  had twelve nice salmon, we completed our weekend adventure with a long run back to Gustavus.  We made it back to town sometime around two p.m.  The rest of the day was spent getting our gear moved off the boat,  properly butchering the deer, cleaning the fish and preparing them for the freezer.  Monday morning Adam and I helped Zach get the final rafters installed on his cabin and I flew back to Juneau to attend a photography class at the University.

In two days time and in the company of good friends, through rain storms, near bear attacks and rough seas we managed to harvest a good amount of fish and venison to add to our winter stockpile.

Shellie with a nice Coho

Shellie and Coho

Zach’s Cabin