All posts by Chris Cocoles

Sled Dog Racer, Dogs OK After Collision With Car

Photos by Seeing Double Sled Dog Racing


In 2014 we introduced you to the Berington sisters, identical twins Anna and Kristy from Wisconsin who became sibling rival but best friend Iditarod mushers after moving to Alaska. On Tuesday morning, Kristy Berington on was involved in a harrowing accident with her dog team when a pickup truck collided with her sled.  Fortunately, Kristy and her dogs appear to be OK.Here’s more from the Anchorage Daily News: 

A preliminary investigation revealed that a Volkswagen SUV rear-ended a Chevrolet pickup near Mile 12.5 of the road, troopers said in an online dispatch. The truck rolled, left the roadway and hit a sled dog team on a nearby trail, troopers said. Troopers got report of the wreck shortly after 11 a.m. …

Andy Pohl identified the musher as his wife, Kristy Berington. Berington and her identical twin sister, Anna, are well-known Iditarod mushers. They operate a kennel in Knik. …

“As of right now I have only spoken with Kristy briefly, she is obviously shaken up and is now very busy taking care of the rest of the dogs that were there at the crash,” Pohl said.

Kristy Berington later posted a Facebook message to  she and her dogs were well after the scary accident.

Kristy Berington

2 hours ago

Thank you all for the concerns and well wishes after this mornings accident. It could have been a complete tragedy. My neighbor and I were running teams together like we always do. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will share all of the love and prayers with the dogs. We are all okay.??






Measure 1’s Salmon Protection Platform Didn’t Resonate With Alaska Voters

ADFG photo 

Alaska might be famous for its wild salmon, but one of the hotly contested Election Day decisions that would, in theory, help protect the state’s salmon runs, didn’t sway the state’s voters enough to pass it.

Measure 1 was beaten rather soundly in a race that saw its “Stand For Salmon” contingent being outspended by a wide margin by a mostly oil  and mining company-backed “Stand For Alaska” group.  Here’s the Anchorage Daily News with more:

A ballot measure designed to boost protections for salmon and other fish failed by a large margin Tuesday night amid an onslaught of heavy opposition spending by powerful oil and mining interests.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting by 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Ballot Measure 1 received 145,997 votes against, and 83,479 votes in favor, a 64-to-36 margin.

Both Stand For Alaska and Stand for Salmon issued statements early Wednesday morning, via KTUU TV:

“Today, tens of thousands of Alaskans raised their voices to protect wild salmon and the rivers they call home,” wrote Stand for Salmon spokesperson Emily Tallman. “While Ballot Measure 1 did not garner enough votes to pass, Alaskans across political and geographic boundaries united in support of stronger salmon habitat protections through the ballot initiative.”

“Our diverse, statewide coalition was a major factor in the outcome of this campaign,” wrote Stand for Alaska spokesperson Kati Cappozi. “Never before has such a broad coalition organized around a statewide ballot measure. More than 550 Alaska businesses across the state, Alaska Native corporations, labor unions, trade groups, and tens of thousands of Alaskans were part of the Stand for Alaska effort.”

Here are some other social media reactions:



What They Are Saying About Ballot Measure 1 On Election Day


This is an even more important than usual midterm Election Day, so regardless of how you’re going to or you would vote, please get out to the polls today or your ballot dropoff stations with your votes.

One of Alaska’s most talked about votes today is Ballot Measure 1, the “Stand For Salmon” initative that if passed would help protect more salmon habitat in Alaska. Here’s a little bit of the buzz on social media as decision day arrives:


Hunters Provide Samples To Aid M.ovi Research

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: 

(STATEWIDE) — Thanks to hunters this fall, expanded efforts by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to learn more about Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, or “M.ovi,” received a welcome boost. Providing specimens from the field, hunters from around the state helped the department collect laboratory samples from more than 330 Dall sheep, 110 mountain goats, 100 caribou, and 100 moose.

“Hunter cooperation is crucial to our efforts to learn more about M.ovi distribution and prevalence in multiple species statewide,” said Director Bruce Dale. “We’re really still at a starting point, and the more we discover about M.ovi in Alaska the more we realize how much we have yet to learn.”

A bacteria known to occur in domestic sheep, goats, and wild sheep and goats in the Lower 48, some M.ovi strains have been identified as pathogens in Lower 48 bighorn sheep pneumonia outbreaks that have led to die-offs. The bacterium was detected earlier this year for the first time ever in Alaska Dall sheep and mountain goats. It was subsequently discovered in a Fortymile caribou found dead of pneumonia. That animal’s death marked the first — and, so far, only — case where M.ovi has been implicated in wildlife respiratory disease in Alaska.

The presence of M.ovi bacteria in the nasal passages of an animal does not mean it is or will become sick. More than 100 known Mycoplasma species exist, including M.ovi, and evidence suggests that virulence — the ability to infect and cause disease — varies between M.ovi strains. The ability of M.ovi to cause pneumonia is impacted by multiple stressors including poor nutritional condition and/or environmental factors such as extreme weather. Both domestic and wild ungulates can carry the bacteria while showing no signs of illness. No pneumonia outbreaks or die-offs in Alaska wildlife related to this bacterium have been detected.

Of the samples collected this fall from hunters, road kills, and department wildlife research projects, more than 800 have gone to the USDA Agricultural Research Services Laboratory with 375 of those having also been submitted to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Pullman, Washington. The samples will be analyzed and the department will provide updates as results are completed.

For more information about M.ovi findings in Alaska, see the frequently asked questions of the department’s website at

Fill Your Bucket List, Alaska Style

Photos by Paul Atkins and Lew Pagel

The following appears in the October issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:


“I want to hunt sheep; been wanting to for years.”

“Do you know what it takes and where to go?” 

“You do know that getting a Dall sheep is at the top of my list and I really need to get one as soon as possible.”

Have you ever heard somebody say something like that or had that conversation? I’m sure you have. Even though it sounds cliché, maybe you ponder it as well; I know they’re in my thoughts.

Having a bucket list isn’t something new and whether it pertains to hunting, fishing or even seeing the sights of the world, we all have one. 

There was a time that I wanted to set foot in every state in the U.S. I’ve gotten close – 42 out of 50, which isn’t too bad. Maybe someday I will. The baseball fan in me also wants to see every major league ballpark before I die. I haven’t yet – not even close – but it’s still something I’d like to do. 

Hunting and fishing, and more specifically chasing a certain species, is the same way. Many have accomplished such dreams, completing Super Slams of this and that, whether here in Alaska, North America or around the world. But of all the guys and gals who have accomplished these feats, I’ve never heard one say they were done or didn’t have something else that was on their list.

In Alaska, a bucket list can be long and take years to accomplish, but the chance of success is readily achievable and can be done under the right circumstances and with a determined set of goals. Surely there are many of you out there who scoff at the idea because putting meat in the freezer and enjoying time with family in the outdoors is all you need. I envy that and respect those individuals who chase that dream. Heck, for most of us, that is what we all want to do anyway. 

But there are some of us who like to pursue different species and test our skills against the elements, the environment and the animal itself. I know I do. I also think that a person can do both – have fun and stock the family larder.

WHEN I FIRST ARRIVED in Alaska, I wanted to hunt caribou more than anything else. I dreamed about it for years and to be honest, caribou are what drew me to the part of the state I live, Kotzebue. The Western Arctic Herd was huge in those days. If you wanted one, this was the place to be, but they were hard for me in the beginning. 

It took three years before I had any luck. Though the bull was small, I was happy that I had accomplished my goal. I’ve taken many since – more than I can count – but it was that first small bull that holds the fondest memory.

Next on my list was moose, the holy grail of hunting for many here in the state and even out of state. Moose are big, formidable creatures that can weigh close to a ton, and until you’ve been close to one you can’t fathom their sheer size. What’s more impressive or more intimidating is the amount of work it takes after you get one down. Hunting them is a grand experience, but when they say the work begins after the shot, they’re right!

I was able to mark moose off my list early, in only my second year living here. Like that first caribou, the bull wasn’t big; he was small, but with subsistence rules and wanting moose meat, I pulled the trigger and filled the freezer. He was and still is the best eating moose I’ve taken in all my years here in the Arctic. Young bulls always are.

Even though I could cross him off, I still yearned for that magical 60-incher that everyone talks about. I searched, hunted and explored every inch of Northwest Alaska trying to find one, but I never had the opportunity until many years later. 

Before then, however, I was lucky enough to tag along on many moose hunts and kills with friends and family, ones where big bulls seemed to fall in their laps. It was incredible to see: huge bulls, some over 60 and 70 inches, were taken, fulfilling their dreams of taking “the big one.” I shared in those accomplishments and that was enough, but like I said, it was only recently that I accomplished that same goal.

MOOSE AND CARIBOU WERE the big two for me, and for many there isn’t anything else or better. But eventually your mind starts to wonder, what else can I add? What other opportunities are there where I can be successful and, if so, can I do it locally? Or do I have to venture off to other parts of Alaska in order to get it done? And that is what’s great about the Last Frontier; yes, you can! 

Alaska is big, with an abundance of wildlife spread across the state. Combining this with following the rules and having the right tags, most of us have the ability to hunt those species wherever we choose.

Bears came next for me. With such a large population – one that seems to be ever increasing – black and brown bear both came off the list pretty early. I was able take my first grizzly here in the Arctic 20 years ago, then a brown bear on Kodiak, plus numerous black bears down south. They were fun hunts and something I’ve truly enjoyed. 

I do know that taking a grizzly bear or at least hunting for them is on the bucket list of many people. Over the years I’ve been told numerous times by hunters everywhere that “hunting a grizzly” is the number one animal they want to take. They also ask if I have a guide license. I don’t.

Most hunters know that as their list gets shorter, each item requires more effort on a wide variety of fronts. Maybe it’s time and money due to those species being very expensive to hunt and requiring a lot of time to achieve the goal. 

Maybe it’s the tag and the difficulty of drawing one in order to just get the chance to go. It could be any of the above, but for the most part – and you can bet on this – it will involve mountains and your ability to climb them, or at least conquer some obstacle.


ANIMALS LIKE WILD SHEEP AND mountain goats are lifelong dream hunts for most, but for some they aren’t at the top. They’re down a bit for me – say, No. 9 or 10. 

It’s not that they’re tougher to bag or harder to kill. Rather, it’s getting to where they live and then outsmarting them. That is only half of it, as you still need to get them field dressed and back down the way you came up. It’s just a fact of life and isn’t for everybody.

I was lucky with sheep. In the old days and not that long ago, we had a very healthy and populous herd here in the Arctic. Numbers were good, which allowed us to hunt sheep on a subsistence tag just about every year. They’ve since dwindled due to weather and a variety of other reasons and the season has been closed. 

It was a blessing, though, and the five rams I did take in those days accounted for some of the greatest and most adventurous times of my hunting career. Sheep hunts are like that – experiences that aren’t really about killing, but about accomplishing goals and enjoying the time there. However, if you do get lucky and get to mark a sheep off your list, then you’ve really accomplished something.

Like sheep, hunting mountain goats has become very popular these days in Alaska. A lot of guys are achieving that goal every year. With ever increasing numbers you can hunt them just about anywhere, and on Kodiak Island the population has exploded. Tags are pretty simple to get, and with a two-goat limit, why not? 

Nonresidents still need a guide, but bagging a goat isn’t as tough as it used to be. You may have read my recent goat experience (Alaska Sporting Journal, November 2017). It took me three trips to get it done, but I finally did it. Though I was successful and it was the pinnacle for me, I don’t want to do it again!

THERE HAVE BEEN PLENTY of other goals on my list that I’ve been lucky enough to fulfill. Muskox for one, but only due to where I live and the ability to draw a tag. Many say you get one every year and I do, but it took me 10 years of filling out endless applications to get my first one. 

It has been a blessing and the meat from these guys is the best in the business. Lately muskox have become my moose for the year.

Like many, I’ve taken wolf, fox, lynx and the underestimated snowshoe hare, and yes, they were all on my list. But there are also a few others that have eluded me. Buffalo, or bison, is one of those and at the moment ranks at the very top (as it does for many Alaskan residents). The Department of Fish and Game has done an excellent job when it comes to the bison herds we do have. 

Due to excellent conservation methods and management practices, the herds have expanded, which has produced some incredible hunting if you’re lucky enough to draw a tag. I have not, even though I’ve been applying for years. Maybe next year.

A bucket list doesn’t just apply to big game; it can also include waterfowl and even fish. I know several sportsmen and -women who devote their entire outdoor experience to chasing ducks. With all the species we have here in the state, it’s a no-brainer. These dedicated waterfowl hunters value the experience just as much as they love to pursue our feathered friends, and they know their stuff.

If you don’t believe me about the fishing effect, head to southern Alaska during late spring and summer. Anglers from all over the world come to fish these waters in hopes of hooking a world record or in most cases just catch a variety of species that you can’t get anywhere else.

Some even travel the state in pursuit of taking the “Salmon Slam,” or come up here to the Arctic in hopes of landing a few of our species. Like I said, most bucket lists are long and varied.

These days, my list is much shorter, but there are those species that I would still like to chase. Bison, as I mentioned, but there are others. Polar bear is one, but not until I win the lottery and get my passport updated to hunt them in Canada (subsistence hunt). 

One of the more common ones however, or so they say, is the wolverine. To be honest, I’ve only ever seen one in all my years up here and that was while I was camped on the Omar River cooking breakfast. We were hunting caribou and he decided he liked bacon, I guess. Before I could reach my rifle, he was gone, but it was still cool to see.

BUCKET LISTS AREN’T FOR everybody, but I believe that deep down in our souls we all have one. Maybe it’s simple, like getting your kid his or her first caribou or moose this fall, or maybe it’s just to get a bigger bull than you did last year. Maybe once in your life you’d like to limit out on ptarmigan in one day. But ultimately it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re out there having fun and enjoying what our great state has to offer. ASJ

Editor’s note: Paul Atkins is an outdoor writer and author from Kotzebue, Alaska. He has written hundreds of articles on big game hunting, and fishing throughout North America and Africa, plus surviving in the Arctic. Paul is a monthly contributor to Alaska Sporting Journal.




Rancher Says Kodiak Island Bears Are Killing His Cattle

A Kodiak Island rancher says the island’s iconic brown bears are responsible for the deaths of 30 head of cattle around his property. Here’s more from the  Associated Press via the Anchorage Daily News :

Rancher Chris Flickinger said the number of his animals killed by bears is way above average and has hit him hard financially. Over the last two weeks, bears have killed a cow, a bull and two calves at his property near Pasagshak, he said.

“It’s hugely significant,” Flickinger said. “It’s definitely a pretty big loss.”

Bulls are worth up to $1,500 while some cows are valued up to $2,000, he said.

Flickinger said he tries to scare bears away when he encounters them but was forced to shoot one more than a year ago.

Under state law, killing a bear is permissible if done as a last resort in “defense of your life or property.”

The local paper, the Kodiak Daily Mirror,  had the first report on the story.


He’s Country Strong In Alaska

Photos courtesy of Gary Morris

The following appears in the October issue of Alaska Sporting Journal: 


Gary Morris is a born-and-bred Texan who carved out a successful country music career in Nashville and was once a hit on Broadway. But his heart has taken him both west and north. 

After recording five No. 1 country singles and performing for almost every U.S. president since the mid-1970s – his big break was a gig singing during Jimmy Carter’s campaign – and crooning before the Queen of England, Morris’ preferred stage now is in the wilderness, which flanks the remote southwest Colorado ranch he now calls home. And there are few places on the planet he’d rather fish or hunt in than Alaska. 

 “Alaska is my favorite place in the United States – maybe second to only New Zealand in the world,” says Morris, 69. “I love it. You know, if it didn’t have a summer with no night and a winter with no day, I’d move there.”

Though he continues to record and write new music and stays busy with various charitable commitments, Morris is happier with a fly rod or longbow in his hands than a guitar or microphone. 

The four or five trips he’s taken to Alaska are as big a part of who he is as playing the operatic lead in Les Misérables or the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music song of the year awards he’s won. 

“The Alaska experience was always something that I guess I yearned for. And I’ve never had a time where I felt like I had enough,” he says. “I love the wild, and it’s the wildest place, certainly in America.”

WHEN HE WAS A college athlete at Cisco College in Texas, Morris was thinking about Alaska. 

“I had friends who went up there when they were 19 years old and worked on the pipeline,” he says. “And I was in college playing ball and thought, ‘Damn, I’d really like to go.’”

Except he didn’t go back for years, not until long after he became a successful performer. It was worth the wait when he made his first trip in the 1980s.  

Morris flew into Cordova, in Southcentral Alaska. There he met famed hunting guide Sam Fejes, who took Morris on a memorable six-day grizzly hunt. 

They put in a lot of miles, staying in a tent camp and eating meals cooked over an old WhisperLite stove. The simplicity of the moment had a lasting effect on Morris. He never got the grizzly he was after, but did harvest a black bear on a spot-and-stalk longbow hunt, “which was kind of cool.” 

“I’ve always said that what Alaska offers is, there are a million ways to live and a million ways to die, and they’re all in Alaska,” Morris says. 

There were plenty of other adventures in the Last Frontier. In the 1990s, he hosted an outdoors show, The North American Sportsman, on the Nashville Network. His guests on Alaska-filmed episodes included actors Ed Marinaro and Wilford Brimley. The latter fished with Morris in the Brooks Range, where  they shared the river with grizzlies. 

“I’ve brought a bunch of other people up there. I’ve been in floatplanes when that migrating caribou herd was out,” Morris says. “When I hunted with Sam, we went to the lodge one day and we were in two tents in the middle of it. There were grizzly tracks around our tent after we were out all day. When we came in we said, ‘Well, look what’s been here.’”

Later, Morris brought his mother Margaret and father Stanley to fish on the Kenai River. The setting also mesmerized his parents. 

“I was the entertainment for the Kenai Classic. We were at the reception and I told Mom, ‘I need to put you all to bed,’ She said, ‘But it’s daylight.’ ‘Mom, it’s 11:30 at night right now.’”

The fishing was pretty good too, particularly for Margaret. When it was her turn to reel in the next fish, their guide handed her the rod. There was a 40-pound king salmon on the other end of the line. 

“I can’t get it in,” Margaret kept saying. But with the help of the guide, the massive Chinook was netted, the hook spilling out of its mouth just as it was safely secured. 

And she got the final laugh out of the story when she and Stanley were back in their Fort Worth, Texas home. 

“My mom called up the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and said, ‘Margaret, Stanley and Gary Morris went fishing for king salmon. Margaret caught a 40-pounder. Her husband Stanley and son Gary caught a few small trout,’” Gary says. “That got in the paper and, of course, my dad was sitting having coffee with all his boys and had to hear about that.’” 

“I was told it (singing with Ronstadt) would ruin my career. Well, it closed some doors like country music in terms of playing anything new,” Morris says of performing on Broadway. “But it opened a million others. And I had no regrets for doing any of that.”

MOST OF TEXAS IS covered with private land, making it more difficult to hunt.

“My first hunting experience was a BB gun and a rat,” Morris says. 

But growing up in the Fort Worth area, fishing was a little easier to access. Nearby Grapevine Lake became a regular destination to take out the family boat and fish for bass. But while visiting an aunt and uncle in Idaho during the summer before his 16th birthday, Morris got his first taste of the true wilderness. 

“When we were there my cousins tied flies and I tied a few while I was at the house. And then we went trout fishing, and I was forever hooked on fly fishing.”

Still, as a teenager Morris was more focused on his athleticism as a four-sport star. He was good enough to earn a football scholarship as a defensive back at Cisco (he would have continued his college career and education at Texas Tech had he not chosen to pursue singing). A career in music – he wrote and played a few songs and sang in local choirs – wasn’t even running through his mind.

But again, it was out West where Morris became inspired. 

“I went to Colorado for a summer between my sophomore and junior years in college. And I was going back to play football and I met up with two boys from Texas and we started a little trio in Denver,” he says. “And by the end of the summer I was making 1,000 bucks a week and I thought, ‘Man.’”

And there was one more reason why he went away from sports to pursue a career as an entertainer. 

“It was girls,” he says sheepishly.

He tried to make a go of it in Denver, but as an aspiring country singer he did what almost everyone in that genre does in the hopes of hitting it big: move to Nashville. Morris’ time with the Carter presidential campaign helped lead to signing a record deal with Warner Bros. 

Morris would record a dozen albums, which spawned 16 top 10 singles on the country charts, including the five No. 1 hits. His rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Bette Midler would later famously sing it for the 1988 film Beaches – resulted in his 1984 song of the year awards. He was also honored in 1982 as Billboard’s male artist of the year. 

He might have been a mainstay among the honky-tonk crowd in Nashville, but Morris showed his range when he took his talents to the New York opera stage. During the height of his success in 1984, he starred as Rodolfo in La Bohème (alongside pop singer Linda Ronstadt), and later returned to the stage to play the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (the album of the cast’s rendition of the opera went platinum, leading to Morris’ performance in London for Queen Elizabeth II). 

“People have said, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t do that,’” Morris says of some of his career choices. “I was told it (singing with Ronstadt) would ruin my career. Well, it closed some doors like country music in terms of playing anything new. But it opened a million others. And I had no regrets for doing any of that.”

“I’ve made some bad choices, but we all do that and that’s where we are. And I’m pretty happy with where I am.”

Morris’s Colorado hideaway, Mountain Spirit Ranch.

THESE DAYS, MORRIS IS indeed content with writing new songs and appearing in concert in smaller venues. But mostly he is enjoying the good life in Colorado at the property known as Mountain Spirit Ranch.

“The closest town is Pagosa Springs. I’m about 4 miles from the New Mexico border,” he says. “I’m at about 7,500 feet and surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, and I’m on the valley floor.”

A portion of the Navajo River runs through his property, a great spot to break out a fly rod and cast for trout. 

“In this business you can choose where you wake up. If I’m not on the road, I want to wake up here. It’s a grounding experience. We have deer and elk, bear and mountain lion and turkey and all of that right here – literally right here. It’s somewhat wild – there’s not a house in sight from my place. And it’s peaceful and beautiful.”

But as a sportsman, his biggest thrill has been hunting with a longbow. He’s hunted with rifles before and understands those who do it regularly, but Morris prefers to hunt without looking through a scope.

“Hunting with a longbow, you’re looking at the animal, and it’s a commitment. You’re looking right at it, drawing a bow and releasing an arrow,” he says. “Something still on my bucket list is to come back up (to Alaska) and take a grizzly. And while I’m not what you would call a trophy hunter – I’ve pretty much taken everything with a longbow – there’s something about doing that. I might even talk to (Fejes) about doing a hunt next spring.”

One of Morris’ other passions is as a benefactor for servicemen and -women. He’s a regular partner with, among other organizations, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, which helps veterans suffering through PTSD effects by taking them out into the field. Morris hopes to eventually start his own nonprofit organization to help troops. He hosted four wounded veterans for a Colorado fly fishing trip at his ranch in the summer.  

Gary’s father Stanley Morris served under General George S. Patton during the liberation of Europe in World War II, so he thought it important to honor his father’s military background.  

 “I was in the Vietnam era and I was in the first lottery and got No. 12. I went to get my physical. And for the only time in my life I had high blood pressure, so I guess I worried myself out of it,” Gary Morris says. 

“And since then, I don’t know how many shows I’ve done for the military, from Kentucky to Italy, and gone through the Caribbean and Central America on small bases. I’ve been to Germany and the Middle East. It’s just basically saying, ‘Thanks for keeping us safe.’”

IN SEPTEMBER, MORRIS RELEASED a new album, called Sense of Pride. He recently told the website Digital Journal that “the songs almost spewed out of me.” 

One such track filled with sentimental overtones is a ballad he titled “I’m In Church.” It’s an ode to the joy the outdoors brings him throughout the seasons. Some of the lyrics are hauntingly beautiful, the perfect tribute to nature for a man who’s appreciated the impact it’s provided, particularly in Alaska.

“Fall grabs me by the collar, these mountains make me smaller.”

“Pines and aspen blind me, elk above and deer behind me.”

“All these moments still unwind me.” ASJ

Editor’s note: For more on Gary Morris, check out his website,, where you can purchase his new album, Sense of Pride. You can also find it on various music platforms like iTunes and Spotify. Follow on Twitter (@GaryMorrisTour) and like at



Gary Morris has never performed a public concert in Alaska. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely unknown in the Last Frontier. Two small-world moments on separate trips provided some nostalgia.

“I went into a bar up there (during a trip) and quite a few friends of mine who lived in the Lower 48 had moved up there, including one woman who had been a babysitter for me and had been living in Anchorage,” Morris says. “And she happened to be in that bar the night I went in.” 

On a hunting trip with longtime guide Sam Fejes, he and Morris stopped in a Cordova restaurant. Morris and Fejes began chatting about his fame as an acclaimed country music singer. 

(Fejes) is a cocky guy and says, ‘I don’t think anybody up here knows who you are.’ I said, ‘Well, maybe.’ ‘They know Randy Owen (lead singer) of Alabama, but I don’t think they know you.’ I said, ‘That’s fine; I don’t care,’” Morris recalls. 

He ordered a bowl of salmon chili from the server, who soon returned to the table.

“Sam said, ‘Do you know who this is?’ She looked at me and said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘That’s Gary Morris.’ She said, ‘OK.’ I had shaved my beard off and I always had a beard on my record (covers). She goes back and brings our order out, and she pulls out her wallet with a picture. The picture is of me and her mother from a place called the Belle Starr in Dallas. And Sam just freaked out.” CC

ADFG Hosts Halloween Festival At Anchorage Fish Hatchery

ADFG photo

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

(Anchorage) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish will be hosting “Spooky Tails” a family fishing clinic and festival at the Ship Creek Fisheries Center at William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery (hatchery). The event will happen on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The hatchery is located at 941 North Reeve Boulevard and will come alive with numerous fish-related events and clinics that will appeal to all ages. Drawings for fishing equipment will occur throughout the event.

“We’re hoping that this will become an annual event at the Ship Creek Fisheries Center,” stated Ship Creek Fisheries Center Supervisor Molly McCarthy-Cunfer. “With Halloween just around the corner, we are excited to encourage families to come to the hatchery, have some seasonal fun, and learn about fishing at the same time.”

Interactive activities include learning about hatchery operations, fishing skills, and our local fish species. We will have live fish filleting demonstrations, fish dissections, macroinvertebrate investigations, fish-themed craft stations, spooky fish stories, and multiple fishing skills stations that will teach fly tying, slip bobber rigging, and how to safely fish in bear country. Other activities will help navigate visitors through some of the hatchery areas, and staff will be available to teach the public about fish habitat, invasive species, and what the hatchery does for anglers throughout many parts of Alaska. Division staff will be joined by partner organizations such as Project Healing Waters and Alaska Fly Fishers.

The event is free and open to the public.