Back from kodiak!!!

elkrchr

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Well, 17 years ago my buddy (Mark) and I swore we would never go back to Kodiak after having our camp destroyed by a Kodiak brown bear and then having him terrorize us for two days. Supposedly with age comes wisdom, but not in this case. We made the decision to go back to the exact same spot! This time we had as nice of a camp set up as you possibly could have without going over the weight limit. New gear included a Seek Outdoors 8-person tipi tent, an electric fence Mark built, cots and small break down chairs. We made the decision to go on this hunt in February and like most hunts planned in advance, before we knew it, it was time to go. Saturday, October 24th we took the red eye from Portland, OR to Anchorage, AK and then got to sleep on the bench seats in the airport for 3-4 hours before catching our 6:30 A.M. flight to Kodiak, AK. All the bags arrived and we were quickly on the Best Western shuttle van headed for the hotel. We checked in, slept until 11 A.M. and then headed out to purchase all the remaining items on our list. We were scheduled to use a transporter for a duck hunt on Monday, but scheduled 40 knot winds put the kibosh on that. Since we had a rental car, we opted to hunt the road system for ducks (primary target was harlequin ducks). We had a great day and ended up with one hen harlequin and several missed (albeit marginal range) opportunities at drakes. We returned the rental car and prepared our gear for our float plane ride to our predetermined camp spot in the morning.
 

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elkrchr

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Three Forks, MT
Tuesday morning we called the float plane service about our flight, but with the high winds and driving rain, we were relegated to our hotel room/town for another day. Not to worry though, between the coffee shop and Kodiak Brewing Co. we managed to keep ourselves entertained for the day.
 

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elkrchr

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Wednesday morning we awoke and quick phone call to the float plane company yielded great news, we were to be ready for pick up at 11:30 A.M. We gathered our gear and lugged it down to the lobby where the shuttle van was right on time. After arriving at the float plane company and completing our paperwork, our gear was loaded and we departed around 2:15 P.M. It was overcast and raining lightly, but there were breaks in the weather and it was supposed to clear out that night. We arrived at our "Secret Lake" around 3:15 P.M. and got the tent, bear fence, eating/cooking area, etc. set up before darkness was upon once. It was great to be back!
 

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elkrchr

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Thursday was our first day of hunting and what a beautiful day. The sun was out and so were the deer. We saw at least 20 bucks that day and passed on some real nice ones. Before we knew it, the sun was starting to set and we hustled back to camp before it got dark. No sense tempting fate!
 

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elkrchr

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Friday dawned clear and cold. We made sure we were in a good spot to glass as the sun started beating down on the SW hillsides. Like the day before, lots and lots of bucks were on the prowl. I saw one buck in particular in the morning I wanted to shoot, but the opportunity never presented itself. After hunting all day and again seeing at least 20 bucks we headed back to camp. On the way, I believe we ran into the buck I was so impressed with in the morning. I got plenty close enough, but just couldn't find a good window of opportunity in the alders as his nose was glued to a does butt. Oh well, maybe in the morning.
 

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elkrchr

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Once again, Saturday (Halloween) dawned clear and cold. We knew the deer would be out as soon as the sun started hitting the open hillsides and we were there waiting. We could not turn up the buck from the day before, so we split up and agreed to meet at a large beaver house in a few hours. I passed up a bunch of smaller bucks as did Mark. We met around noon and came up with a game plan for the afternoon hunt. We barely got started on our game plan when I spotted what looked to be a shooter buck. A quick glance through the binos and I knew it was time to punch a tag. The buck was about 200 yards away, standing in an alder patch. As we started to works toward him, he started moving and when we saw him again, he was headed our way. We just waited and before long he was in the open at about 60 yards. I had to shoot offhand, but the bullet founds its' mark and the first deer of the trip was down, a mature, heavy antlered 4 x 5. We took tons of photos and a bunch of video and got to work. We would check for visitors every 5-10 minutes and before long we had the buck quartered, caped and ready to transport. Right as we were finishing quartering the buck, I took a look around and saw movement. I was about ready to yell bear when I realized if it was a bear, it was a midget bear. It quickly dawned on me that a red fox had picked up the scent of the dead deer. I quickly grabbed my rifle and ended his curiosity. This was my third trip to the island, but this was the first fox I had seen and what a beauty. We shuttled the meat about halfway back to camp and then Mark headed off hunting for about an hour, while I packed the fox pelt, deer cape, and all the neck, rib and other scrap meat back to camp. We put the quarters and antlers up in a stunted black birch tree for the evening.
 

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elkrchr

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We cooked up the tenderloins Sunday morning prior to heading out to find Mark a buck. We were going to hunt until 2 P.M. and then go pack the rest of my buck to camp. It was an overcast day and you could tell it was going to rain at some point. Fortunately the rain held off until late afternoon. After several close encounters with small bucks, we reached our glassing destination. We had only been at the glassing spot for five minutes when Mark said "don't move, big buck". Mark was only two yards from me and I watched him nock and arrow, draw his longbow and let loose. I immediately turned to see a big buck only five yards or so behind me. Mark had shot right over the buck who was now only 30 yards or so away. I began filming the buck while Mark tried to get in close for a second shot. I was carrying Mark's bear gun that day, an open sighted .45-70 spitting 430 grain hand loaded cast bullets. The big buck was really rutted up, but stayed just out of Mark's comfortable bow range. As he started making his way towards the alders, I started blowing hard on my deer call to try and stop him. Finally he stopped. I saw Mark put the bow down and pull up the lever gun. I focused the video camera on the big buck and when he turned broadside he was met with a 430 grain piece of lead. One would think that a big cannon like that would flatten a deer, but he made it a couple hundred yards before collapsing. What a buck! Again, lots of photos and video followed by the hard work. We had him in our packs and ready for the trip back to camp by 3:15 P.M. We had a mile back to camp and that is when the rain started. All in all not a bad pack, but not good either with the alders. We took about a 20 minute breather once back at camp and then went out and packed the rest of my deer to camp. We cut a large alder to use as a game pole and had everything covered and hanging by dark. We could sleep in on Monday!
 

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elkrchr

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Sleep in we did! I think it was almost 11 A.M. when we crawled out of the tent. We spent Monday working on fleshing capes and pelts and cleaning gear. By late Monday afternoon it started raining and blowing pretty hard, so we got everything protected from the rain and called it a day.
 

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elkrchr

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I had called (satellite phone) the float plane company regards the week's weather forecast. We were scheduled to come out on Thursday, but it was supposed to blow hard and she asked if we could come out Wednesday. We said no problem. We spent the rest of Tuesday fleshing, salting capes/pelts, de-boning meat and getting our gear organized for pick-up Wednesday morning at 10:30.
 

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elkrchr

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We made it out safe and sound and the pilot gave us a grand tour of the island on the way back. Since we came out a day early, we had an extra day to try and get our harlequin drakes. We rented a rig from U-Haul (cheaper by the way than either Avis or Budget at the airport) and hit the road system. Mark struck first with a gorgeous drake Barrows Goldeneye and I finished the day with a drake harlequin. I had completed the Kodiak Trifecta; big buck, fox and a harlequin drake.

We did not see a single bear the entire trip nor did we see any fresh sign!
 

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elkrchr

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What an absolutely amazing adventure. I could travel to Kodiak every year for the rest of my life and not experience weather like we had. Of the seven hunting days, we saw the sun six of those days. No lost bags coming or going and no issues with Mr. Kodiak. We did purchase a Mr. Heater for the tipi tent and that really made for comfortable temperatures in the tent in the morning prior to climbing out of the sleeping bags. Total cost per person ended up being about $2200, so very reasonable for a two week adventure to Alaska. Now that I think about it, my taxidermy bill is going to be about 65 percent of my total trip cost! I'm more than willing to share what I've learned on three trips to Kodiak to those that are interested, so PM me for more details. I'll leave you with a couple buddy photos!
 

elkrchr

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Forgot to attach the photos. Here they are!
 

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Steelhead

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Dec 28, 2009
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701
You are the man (men)!! That's awesome, I was refreshing the post as you put up pictures. I'm in for the AK draw this year and I just got a little more anxious for the results...
Well done sirs!!
.
 

Oak

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Dec 23, 2000
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Colorado
Great trip! I didn't know Mark's friend that went with him was on here. Glad that he has recovered to the point of being able to make these trips again. Thanks for sharing.
 

mtlion

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Apr 20, 2011
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Location
Hamilton, MT
Awesome, and congrats. Truly a bucket list hunt for me. I shot a small buck on POW but the trip you guys took is what I dream of. Good stuff and those AK blacktail are probably the best eating deer I've had. Congrats again.
 

twsnow18

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Apr 4, 2013
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Boise, Idaho
Epic trip!

For a very reasonable price as well, not even that much more than an out of state trip for deer or elk. Congrats on the bucks.
 

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