Alaska float hunt 2006 (pic intensive)

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by deerfly, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. deerfly

    deerfly Opinicus iracibilus

    Here's a few of the recent 35mm scans of my 2006 moose hunt. A few have dust particles that need to be cleaned and rescanned, but another day.

    This was a drop off hunt where my buddy and I and our gear were dropped off from a small airplane on a gravel bar and left to drift about 65 miles of river in search of a bull moose. We were in the wilderness for 14 days. Most of these are just scenic shots taken on a best effort basis between chores and hunting. You can not do photography justice and hunt in the wilderness like this too. Its one or the other and the photography was second fiddle. I still managed to get some interesting shots though and just looking at them again makes my heart pound and of course rekindle the many, many memories of the hunt. No moose were killed, stalked 2 but was never able to loose an arrow. Killing one of these magnificent creatures with a longbow in their rather large and rugged backyard is a tall order. No matter, was the trip of a lifetime and I can hardly wait for the next trip, maybe 09. On with the pic's...

    Preparing to leave our first camp after getting dropped off about 3 miles up stream the day before.
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    This is the point-n-shoot snap shot of the camp early in the morning. We just slept on the ground with tarps covering our sleeping bags.
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    Here's a few different shots I took while drifting in the raft. Some are better quality than others depending on how much the raft was bobbing around and the available shooting light for the film speed I was using. The lighting and mood changed quite a bit so in a lot of these I was hoping to capture the feel of being there. Some of the shots Scotty is ahead of me and other times I'm in front, we leaped frogged and separated by as much as 15-20 minutes apart. We're also calling and glassing for moose as we drift or beach for 15 minutes or so and call from likely looking locations.
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    Beaver hotel
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    Talk about "small boats and big nut's", here's something we could have gotten into a lot of trouble with on this trip, but luckily did not. I was on the other side of the river scouting when I heard Scotty let out a primal scream. He didn't shoot his hand gun as I expected, but I ran to the bank and forded the stream as fast as I could anyway. As I was about half way across the river Scotty was already coming out of the willows headed for the rafts and went for the .45-70 rifle right away. At that point I drew my .44mag from its holster while looking behind Scotty in the willows expecting a bear in pursuit.

    What happened was Scotty walked up to a grizzly kill site from slightly up wind without realizing what it was, until the stench hit him.  :eek: Turns out this grizzly kill site or bear cache as they are called was a big cow moose buried and covered up with dirt and leaves to rot into a tender and digestible stage that grizzly's prefer to eat their meat. Normally these are fiercely guarded and luckily for what ever reason the bear was not around when Scotty first walked into the area or he would have been attacked, maybe even killed.

    After a few minutes at the rafts and not hearing or seeing a bear we realized we were probably not in danger of a charge so we talked about getting pictures of the cache because neither of us had ever seen one before. Scotty used to work for Denali Outfitters for many years and never saw one. So after about 20 minutes we decided to go in and I would take some quick shots while Scotty stood guard with the rifle. It was a very tense few minutes for sure and I'm surprised they came out as good as they did considering how bad I was shaking. :)

    You can see the moose's nose on the left and toward the right are some leg bones.
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    Once we got back to the rafts unscathed, we talked about whether we should set up across the river where I had scouted to watch and wait for the bear as well as other characters that would raid the cache like wolves. Would have made for some interesting photography, but also potentially dangerous circumstances since we could never be certain which direction the bear might come in from. Since we were about 100 miles from the nearest civilization we decided we pressed our luck enough and continued on down stream to look for our own moose.  :cool:

    So moved about 3 miles down stream from the kill site and set up there. The first night we did another tarp camp on the gravel bar. Here's the pns snapshot of that camp.
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    We saw so much moose sign on both sides of the river we decided to set up the Kifaru Teepee and stay a couple days. This would be the only camp we set up the Teepee. All the other camps were make-shift tarps and lean to's from available spruce.
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    Here's the rafts parked out front. :)
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    I have quite a few more pic's to post, scan and upload, but I'm way too tired right now, so here's a few wild cranberry's to nibble on until I get back at it here. :)

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  2. Weedy

    Weedy Well-Known Member

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    Eric,

    On one hand, I think your pics are some of the neatest pics that show up on the board. On the other, I hate to see them, they make me jealous!!!!! Thanks for the wonderful pics as always Eric.
    Weedy
     

  3. costefishnt

    costefishnt Cost Efish'nt³

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    eric you truely are a blessed man.
     
  4. deerfly

    deerfly Opinicus iracibilus

    Thanks guys.  :cool:

    Weedy I know what you mean, especially since you've been up there yourself. Now I know why some men have left family and loved ones behind to live up there. Harsh to say the least, but I've never experienced anything like it. If I were a betting man I'd say the fountain of youth is up there somewhere. :)

    Ok, time for some more photo's...

    These are just what I call gravel bar shots, places along the way where we beached the rafts to hunt or camp. Depending on the mood, I would try to snap off a few shots and then get back to the task at hand, which was unload and reloading the rafts, scouting the adjacent willow bars for sign or scoping out a place to make camp for the night.
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    Here's some camp life shots.
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    Another view from off to the side of the tarp
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    Same camp, but looking from left and south of the other shots above. Note the coffee mug.
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    Close up of mug and nearby tracks.
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    Here's a moose track and coffee cup for comparison purposes.
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    A creek drainage into the main river where I beached to wait for Scotty who was about 30 minutes behind me. So I called with the birch bark call I made a few days earlier and waited, hoping for a response from a love sick bull.
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    Another camp scene. This is low impact camping at its finest I might add. Notice in the one self portrait how inconspicuous me and the entire camp site when looking at it just 15yds or so from the river bank.
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    I think this was the last camp. We draped tarps over the tree and slept under there for the night.
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    Frying up bow killed spruce grouse to go with the freeze dried rice and chicken. :)
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    I have more photo's so stay tuned...
     
  5. captnron

    captnron Guest

    I won't change my monitor. ;)

    Thanks for sharing but please scan faster. ;D ;D
     
  6. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    2 weeks, that's way too many days of cold and lumpy beds.
    Any blackflies during your visit?
    Nowadays, my idea of roughing it, is when the
    hotel room doesn't have cable.
    Great pics, post more asap.
     
  7. backwaterbandits

    backwaterbandits Well-Known Member

    Absolutely amazing pictures Eric...
    I've always wanted to go to Alaska and will (hopefully)
    make it yet!
    Really enjoying the posts...Keep 'em coming :) Dave