2007 Hunting Log
The hunting season began for me with the annual Hoonah alpine deer hunt. I can’t remember the exact dates but it was around August 8 th and we hunted for three days. Pete, Andrew, and Chris Ellis accompanied me on the trip. Chris came up from Snoho for the trip. I was a little worried about deer hunting this year due to record snow fall. There were widespread reports of severe winter kill especially in Hoonah. We left Juneau on the ferry and it was hot and sunny. It was the hottest it had been in almost 2 years. While it was nice to be in shorts and t-shirt it was not the kind of weather we wanted for hunting. We drove out to Kennel Creek and fished for pinks since it was midday. It was decent action but the tide was high and I knew better fishing was in the forecast. We decided to head up in the hills around 4pm. It was a nice hike as always but none of us saw anything, but it was hot out so none of us were surprised.
We went unto the infamous clear-cut spot. This year would be different though. Pete brought a machete and we cleared out a little trail which made walking a lot better. We were in sub-alpine by 5 am. Drew and Pete would one way and Chris and I would go the other. As we worked up the ridge I kept expecting to at least see does but it never happened and I was getting worried. Chris and I split up a little when we hit full alpine. Just about that time I saw a doe and a spike buck. I couldn’t decide whether I should take the buck. I was sure that bigger bucks were waiting for me up further. As I watched the buck, I saw Chris out of the corner of my eye. I wondered if he would take it. I tried to get his attention but he kept walking and never looked my way. The small buck took off and I wondered if I made the right decision. Not more than a half hour later Chris spotted two nice forks. We made a plan and Chris got busted at the last minute and never took a shot. It turned out that would be the last chance any of us would have on this trip. Pete and Drew saw nothing the entire day.
We stayed the night before in the alpine so we could get an earlier start on the day. It was still sunny and hot out and we felt the deer would only be moving in the early morning. We hunted different spots in the clear cut area and none of us were successful. Although we were unsuccessful it was a fun trip. The fishing was superb for pinkies and the weather was dry. I think the combo of the harsh winter and hot weather played big part in our lack of success.
The Sunday after we got back from Hoonah, Chris and I decided to give Douglas Is. a try since he still had a non resident tag. I was not very optimistic but felt we needed to give it a try. The weather had turned sour and it was foggy. We hiked up alpine and split up. I started seeing a bit of sign but could not see very far due to fog. I began working my way back to our meeting point I heard a shot. I was not far away from Chris and found him with a nice little spike. He was quite happy and was only 30 minutes from going home empty handed.
August 30 – September 10 th
Mark, Ryan Swann and Myself went on our remote river float to the Goodnews River. We were trying for caribou and we brought a shotgun for ptarmigan and ducks. We were unsuccessful for caribou and only saw one cow for the entire trip. I got one ptarmigan and we got about nine ducks. I will not go into daily accounts. For more details I can reference to my full account of the trip: Goodnews River Adventure.
September 19 th and 23 rd
My brother came up for our annual Huna silver fishing trip. The ferry schedule got changed so we had a chance to got out sea duck hunting at scoter point twice. The first day we got 7 ducks and the second day we got 13 ducks. We are now using decoys and that seems to bring the ducks in much closer. Beavis did a great job fetching up most of the ducks. I think she is happy that duck season is here and I suspect she will surpass her seasonal record since we are getting it dialed in a little more each year. Duck hunting was not that great in Huna but my brother got a merganser. We had chances at a few mallards but could not connect. We felt uncomfortable duck hunting a Spaski now that it has been developed for tourist.
Robbie, Naomi, and myself went up to the secret spot*. It was a nice hike and we made it into the alpine in good time. It was cold and most of the vegetation had turned brown. We did not see any at all* until we were heading out and they saw something running down the hill. We went to investigate and Naomi found a doe. We watched it for a while and Robbie spotted a buck. He did not want it so I went up for the kill. I was able to get a good shot on it and was rewarded with a nice forked horn buck.
More sea ducking at scoter point.
Dave and I went out for a little while and only got 2 ducks. The tides weren’t doing much and the birds weren’t flying. We could have had a few more but it was slow regardless of our bad shooting.
Yakutat John and I went out and got only got 2 ducks. One was a mallard which was a first for scoter point. We rarely have “good ducks” come by the point. The action was slow again but we should have had many more birds. My partner kept getting distracted and did not see birds coming from his directions. All of a sudden a flock of birds would pass by and I was to slow act. We had a nice time regardless and the weather was nice
Dave and I went out the morning of the Haloween carnival. Action was off the hook and we got 14 birds. Most scoters and harlequins but accidentally got a merganser. Beavis worked her but off and got 12 out of the 13. Some of the ducks were working into the decoys even. We are shooting much better this year since the birds are coming in closer. What a big difference it is making by having them 10 yards closer. The tides were extreme and this seemed to keep the birds moving. We would have limited easily if we had had more time. We only hunted for 1.5 hrs.
November 3 rd
Dave, Emily and I went out to scoter point. It turned out to be our best day of all time as we ended up with 19 ducks. Our 20 th duck got snatched up by a bald eagle as we were collecting a cripple. I brought out some freshly painted scoter decoys and we set them out with the blue bills. The birds responded immediately with many scoters and harlequins setting throughout the day. We set them on the inside of the point. We had to wait for the tide to drop and expose the rocks. The action was excellent to start out with and the slowed for most of the morning. We had about 9 or 10 birds when we had to start packing up (I had to work). All of a sudden flock after flock of scoters came at us and it lasted about 20 minutes. We couldn’t load fast enough to keep up with the flocks. Almost all of the birds we in close range and we had birds down everywhere. It was the longest sustained push of birds I have ever seen. Needless to say Beavis was a stud and got most of them. She paid the price for all the hard work. Her feet were shredded by the barnacles and she didn’t get off her bed the next day. I think it is worth it for her as she seems so happy to retrieve birds. We got scoter, harlequin, bufflehead and missed a few goldeneye.
Went out several more times with Dave and Yakutat Jon to Scoter point. We had two days where we got 26 and 27 birds. I went out by myself one day and got 9. We have been filming a lot and have enough footage to make some pretty good videos. We got the whole decoy system dialed in. Dave painted some harli decoys and we have figured out where to set them based on tide and wind direction. The end of the season had a real tail off of scoter numbers. The goldeneye action picked up and the harli’s were steady all season. Beavis destroyed her previous best for retrieves and finished off at just over 150 retreives