All posts by Chris Cocoles

Multiple Bears Attack Kodiak Hunters

Alaskans understand that bear attacks are a part of life in the Last Frontier. But most of the time, a single bear is the culprit. But this week, deer hunters on Kodiak Island encountered multiple bears in separate attacks. U.S. Coast Guard officers came to the rescue of the hunters:

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced an injured 65-year-old man near Kodiak, Tuesday.
The Jayhawk crew safely transported the hunter to Kodiak Municipal Airport where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical services.
Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders received a call from the master of the fishing vessel Mary J who reported that a group of hunters had been attacked by a sloth of bears and one hunter needed immediate medical assistance.
The duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac and a flight corpsman to accompany the Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene.
The master of the fishing vessel reported that he had transported the hunters to Sally Island and was waiting nearby for the hunters to return when the attack took place. The bears had come upon the hunters while they were carrying a deer they shot. No other hunters were injured.
“These hunters were extremely prepared for the environment and circumstances they found themselves in,” said Lt. j.g. Joseph Schlosser, operational unit watchstander, Coast Guard 17th District. “The fact that there were five bears was an abnormality and this serves as a reminder that anything can happen and we need to be aware of our surroundings.”

The Alaska Dispatch provided more details on the incident:

Michael Snowden and 38-year-old Jeff Ostrin, of Camas, Washington, set out to hunt deer Tuesday on Sally Island, a small island in Uganik Bay. Shortly before encountering the first bear, the two men walked through dense vegetation on the east side of the island, roughly 30 miles from Kodiak. Behind them, they dragged the carcass of a deer, said Nathan Svoboda, an area wildlife biologist with Fish and Game.

Svoboda — relaying information from an interview he conducted with Ostrin — said the men began traversing down a hill. About a quarter of the way down, they dropped their packs, walked about 20 feet farther and prepared to eat lunch.

“They pulled out sandwiches, took a couple of bites and heard rustling in the brush,” Svoboda said. “They chambered a bullet and almost immediately a sow charged out of the brush and attacked.”

According to the skipper of a nearby fishing vessel, who said he could see the men from shore, the sow was traveling with two large cubs. The bears “basically winded the deer and the sow bolted, as the skipper put it, ‘like a Tasmanian devil’ — running and charging through the brush headed for the deer and obviously the hunters,” Svoboda said.

The sow attacked Snowden, biting and scratching at his body. Ostrin stepped back a few feet and fired a bullet from his rifle into the bear’s hindquarters and then again into its chest. Ostrin told Svoboda that Snowden and the sow rolled down the hill where they briefly separated and Ostrin shot the bear a third time, killing the animal.

Ostrin checked on Snowden and then walked back up the hill to grab their packs. He used their radio to call the fishing vessel that had originally taken the pair to the island to hunt. Ostrin asked the skipper to contact the U.S. Coast Guard, Svoboda said.

Then, a second bear appeared out of the brush. Svoboda said it is believed to be one of the cubs, which he estimated was about 2-3 years old. Ostrin shot and killed it with a pistol.

Wild Salmon Is An Alaskan Thing

Katrina Mueller/USFWS

Katrina Mueller/USFWS

This is probably not a surprise, but per Alaska’s reporting fish guru, Laine Welch, a lot of the nation’s wild salmon comes from Alaska:


Here’s Welch, in the Homer Tribune:

Alaska claimed the nation’s top three fishing ports for seafood catches last year, and wild salmon landings – 95 percent from Alaska – topped one billion pounds. It’s an all-time record and a 70 percent increase from 2012.
That’s according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report for 2013, just released by NOAA Fisheries. 
Dutch Harbor topped the list for landings for the 17th year running with 753 million pounds of fish crossing the docks last year, valued at nearly $200 million. The Aleutian Islands region ranked second for landings, thanks to the big Trident plant at Akutan; Kodiak ranked third for both seafood landings and value. 
For the 14th year in a row, New Bedford, Mass. had the highest valued catch at $380 million. That’s due mostly to pricey sea scallops, which accounted for more than 80 percent of New Bedford’s 130 million pound landings.
In all, 14 Alaska ports made the top 50 list: the Alaska Peninsula (8), Cordova (9), Ketchikan (10), Sitka (15), Petersburg (16), Seward (20), Naknek (21), Valdez (24), Bristol Bay (26), Kenai (38) and Juneau (41). Most ports showed huge increases in fish landings and values, meaning a nice return in local and state tax dollars.




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Predator Hunting Proposals Create Tension

(Alex Vanderstuyf/NPS)

(Alex Vanderstuyf/NPS)

Our correspondent and longtime Alaskan hunter, Steve Meyer, will weigh in on controversial proposed changes to predator hunting in Alaska’s National Park Service preserves in the December issue of Alaska Sporting Journal. And there are plenty of narratives being written about the subject.

From the Fairbanks News-Miner:

A rules change up for public comment Thursday night in Fairbanks would formally codify a series of temporary orders that ban practices like hunting brown bears over bait, hunting wolf and coyote pups during denning season and hunting black bears with artificial light. 

Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game strongly opposes the rules change.  The rules change applies to national preserves in Alaska, federal land managed by the National Park Service, but which unlike national parks allow for sport hunting. 


Ordinarily state hunting regulations would apply in the national preserves. But in Alaska the parks service says an “increasing number of liberalized” predator hunting techniques allowed by state law conflict with the park service’s mission, according to Joel Hard, the park service’s regional director for the Alaska Region.  

Wildlife columnist Bill Sherwonit of the Alaska Dispatch News was not pleased with the state’s government officials, specifically Governor Sean Parnell. Sherwonit argues about Parnell’s stance on Medicaid expansion but also his willingness to be open to proposed projects like the Pebble Mine and how it might affect the Bristol Bay salmon industry as reasons why he thinks Parnell’s time as governor should end. But the predator hunting rules have also turned off Sherwonit, as he writes:

But there’s another reason Parnell needs to go: the threats that he and his appointees present to Alaska’s wildlife and their habitat. I’ve closely followed Alaska’s wildlife management and politics since the mid-1980s, and I’ve never witnessed such regressive management as that practiced under the Parnell administration.

 It’s fair to say that state management of wildlife and critically important habitat is the worst it’s been since statehood. This is demonstrated in part by state-run predator-control programs, which are more extreme than they’ve ever been.

Only in recent years have the Board of Game and Alaska Department of Fish and Game chosen to use such methods as the gassing of wolf pups in their dens, the snaring of both black bears and grizzlies, the baiting of grizzlies, the shooting of bears from helicopters, and the aerial gunning of wolves in places where it’s clear that changing habitat is primarily responsible for ungulate declines, not predation.


 It wasn’t so long ago that the killing of female bears with cubs was considered both unethical and unwise. But under Parnell, the game board has decided that in some parts of the state, any bear can be killed by us humans, including sows with cubs and the cubs themselves.

 In short, the state’s war on wolves and now bears (what else can you call it?) has grown ever more extreme with Parnell in charge, primarily to appease urban and suburban “sport” and trophy hunters. It’s a travesty that so far seems to have gone largely unnoticed, or ignored, by the majority of Alaskans.

It should be a contentious topic around the state for some time.



When it comes to world-class fisheries, you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t chopped up into special-interest sections. Oswego County’s Salmon River is a pioneer in this process, offering a place for every fishing taste.

Its most famous section is at its headwaters a short distance from the Lower Reservoir’s dam. Restricted to fly-fishing, catch-and-release only, this mystique is more than purist anglers can resist.



But there’s more to the place than just image. The main river runs just above and below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook, the recipient of the Salmon River hatchery’s tailrace and off-limits to angling. Hence, the special area’s two sections allow angling as close to the hatchery as is legally permitted.

Split into upper and lower stretches, these special areas run less than a mile combined. But their close proximity to the dam draws and holds the river’s greatest number of Lake Ontario’s migrating salmonids: brown trout, king and coho salmon in the fall, and steelhead year-round.  Indeed, autumn sees so many salmon milling around above the Altmar bridge, anglers joke they raise the water level a couple feet or more.

Some make it into the relative safety of Beaverdam Brook, climb the ladder and enter the hatchery. Those that remain in the river are fair game for fly-fishermen, considered the gentlest, most patient segment of the fishing fraternity.

Self-professed purists, fly-fishers use lures made of feathers, tinsel, maybe a little yarn for body, all held together on a single hook by thread. Unlike lures in your average tackle box, these delicate creations are practically weightless, requiring long rods and heavy lines to propel them to the target. Anglers need lots of room to whip the line through the air, slowly playing it out, generating enough force to go the distance. The technique requires good timing and coordination; and when done properly, looks like a dance where man, physical forces and the fly are in perfect motion.

The tackle is of the most elementary design, modern improvements notwithstanding. What’s more, the heavy main line doesn’t help with fighting the fish. You see, it’s too thick to thread through the fly’s eye, and makes too much noise when it hits the water. So a monofilament leader at least 8 feet long, averaging 10-pound-test, is used as a remedy. What you gain in stealth, you lose in strength, however. When hooked, a large salmon or trout does everything in the book to break free, including hiding behind boulders, diving into root balls, undercut banks and sunken timber, even going over waterfalls. It’s enough to make the leader feel about as useful as sewing thread.

Fly-fishing’s poetic moves and unique challenges have hooked the imaginations of the uninitiated, convincing them it’s highly specialized and difficult to master. Anglers ranging from bank fishermen to deep water trollers admire its choreography. So when fly-fishers asked for a special section–complete with environmentally-friendly stairs down a steep cliff and improved banks for solid footing–everyone went along.

Altmar marks the start of the special zone. The lower area runs from the County Route 52 bridge upstream for 0.25 mile to the marker just below the mouth of Beaverdam Brook. The upper section runs from a marked boundary above the hatchery upstream for 0.6 mile to the marked boundary at the lower reservoir’s tailrace.

The special sections have their own seasons, too, apparently to allow salmonids, primarily steelhead and brown trout to spawn naturally without harassment. The lower section is open from September 15 through May 15; and the upper section is open from April 1 to November 30.

For Oswego County fishing conditions and visitor information, go to, or call 1-800-248-4FUN.

Polar Bear An Unwelcome Guest

Photo by USFWS

Photo by USFWS

A polar bear decided it wanted to pay a visit to a home in Alaska’s North Slope.

From the Alaska Dispatch:

Ruby Kaleak was at her part-time job on Kaktovik’s roving “polar bear patrol” Friday when a whispery call came over the VHF radio.

“Qanitchaq, nanuq,” was all she could hear: arctic entryway, polar bear.

“They didn’t say where or who,” Kaleak said. “I thought that one of the young boys in town was pulling a prank.”

Kaleak and her co-worker hopped in the Ford pickup they use when on patrol. Among their other equipment is a 12-gauge shotgun with beanbag and firecracker slugs to haze polar bears away from people in the Inupiat village of 300.

They found a house near the lagoon that they suspected the call might have come from. It was about 11 p.m. and dark.

“We parked and looked all over for bears,” Kaleak said. “I myself was about to jump out of the truck and go check inside the arctic entryway.”

Just then, she saw a shadow. From inside the entryway, the head of a polar bear popped up. Its body filled the doorframe.

“I was shocked. It was humongous,” Kaleak said. “Just the neck and head was half the size of me, and I’m 5 (feet) 2 (inches ).”

It had broken into 81-year-old Betty Brower’s entryway and was gobbling a drum of seal oil, said Brower’s granddaughter, Flora Rexford.

Gold Rush Season 5 Premiere

Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel returns for Season 5 tonight. (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)

Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel returns for Season 5 tonight. (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)

The Discovery Channel sent us some sneak previews of tonight’s season premiere of Gold Rush (9 p.m. on Discovery; check your local listings). Here are some sneak peek videos with a release from the network:





(Los Angeles, Calif.) – Discovery’s ambitious gold miners are back at it again and the stakes have never been higher. Who’s in and who’s out? This season, everything has changed – new miners, new claims, new machines and new ways to pull gold out of the ground. But will big risks lead to an even bigger pay out? Discovery’s #1-rated show GOLD RUSH returns for its fifth season on Friday, October 17 at 9 PM ET/PT, with the pre-show The Dirt, hosted by series executive producer Christo Doyle, at 8 PM ET/PT.

Returning this season is 20-year-old Parker Schnabel who proved himself in only his rookie season mining the Klondike – raking in over 1,000 ounces of gold worth 1.4 million dollars. Parker is taking off his “training wheels” this year, setting an unprecedented goal of 2,000 ounces worth more than $2.5 million dollars – double his take from last season. Parker re-invests every last cent in a mad scramble to get to good gold, asks more of his crew than ever before and manages to steal one of rival gold miner Todd Hoffman’s top mechanics. If Parker can hit his lofty goal, he could be on his way to becoming a Klondike legend. If not, it will become clear that his first season was simply a stroke of good luck.

Last season, Todd Hoffman rolled the dice and fell flat on his face. He hit rock bottom after braving the jungles of Guyana, South America, in an attempt to make a fortune along with his father Jack, Dave Turin, Jim Thurber and the rest of the Hoffman crew. This year, Todd is back at square one. His right hand man, Dave, has had enough, deserting Todd to mine with legends Freddie and Derek Dodge. Not only has Todd lost his land, most of his money, his crew, but worst of all, he has lost his dignity. His dream of mining in the jungle nearly destroyed him, but will he be able to rise from the ashes and turn things around? Or will this be the season that Todd throws in the towel once and for all? One thing is for certain — Todd will not go down without a fight.

Meanwhile, Tony Beets and his crew dive in full-time to take on the unthinkable. Tony, known throughout the Klondike as “The Viking,” buys a million dollar, 75-year-old floating gold dredge. But to resurrect the gold catching monster, he needs to take it apart piece by piece. The 210-foot dredge hasn’t been used in over 30 years and is a risky proposition. Can The Viking resurrect the machine capable of pulling millions out of the ground or will he be left with a 1,000 metal pieces of junk?

Also returning is the GOLD RUSH pre-show The Dirt, a series of one-hour shows, beginning 8 PM ET/PT on Friday, October 17. Series Executive Producer Christo Doyle sits down with the miners to get the inside scoop on all things GOLD RUSH. Fans are given the unique opportunity to interact with the miners and get access to behind-the-scenes, cutting room floor material that never makes it into the show.

With shocking twist and turns, season 5 of GOLD RUSH introduces fresh blood, new claims and MORE GOLD than ever seen before. Tune in on October 17 for a season of GOLD RUSH like none other.

GOLD RUSH is produced for Discovery Channel by Raw Television, where Dimitri Doganis and James Bates are executive producers and Marc Heffernan is series producer. For Discovery Channel, Christo Doyle is executive producer and Meagan Davis is producer.

Boulder Boat Works and Scientific Anglers News

Boulder Boat Works Boulder Boat Works
Boulder Boat Works

Boulder Boat Works – Fall 2014 Newsletter
By Steven R. Ehredt, BBW Sales & Angling Research

Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot with Boulder Boat Works and Scientific Anglers

In mid-September, we were honored to be invited to provide boats and oarsmen for a photo shoot with the marketing department from Scientific Anglers. Photographer extraordinaire, Tim Romano called the shots on the Upper Colorado River, while coordinating three boats, a bunch of fishy goofballs and some cooperative trout. Under bright blue, Indian Summer skies we smiled for the camera each time we floated past Tim. We would float around a bend and there he was, up to his chest in the water with his camera half submerged. We would float a little farther and there he was again, perched on a rock out cropping, high above the river. When you see an ad for Scientific Anglers in 2015, look for the beautiful Boulder Boat Works drift boats in the background!

Tim Romano and Brad Befus

Tim Romano working his magic with angling ace Brad Befus

Upper Colorado Photo Session

Trout charmer, Allie Marriott helping a trout smile for the underwater camera

Coming Soon…
Trout Unlimited Edition BBW Pro Guide Drift Boat

Boulder Boat Works is very proud to be teaming-up with Trout Unlimited to offer all the best features available in the world’s greatest driftboat. Not only will these BBW clients end up with an incredibly unique boat, they will be helping coldwater fish and their habitats. If you are considering a BBW boat in 2015, ask us about the TU Edition.

For more information, call or email Steve at: 303-678-0055

Used Driftboat Sale

Used Driftboat SaleGoing Once, Going Twice, SOLD!
Used BBW CRT Drift Boat For Sale

We see only a few used BBW boats come up for sale each year… and they sell fast. This one came available as its owner has moved to the salt water and didn’t want it to sit unused. Lucky for you!! This opportunity is even more rare, in that it is a Convertible River Taxi. We began selling the CRT just 4.5 years ago, so there have been very few used CRT’s available.

2013 CRT High Side – 15’ 10” length
Includes used BBW galvy trailer, oars, cover, and anchor (all in great shape)
Price: $9,700 (msrp $13,974) – SOLD!


That’s what I heard my son, Wyatt, yell every time we floated this year. And it was. Who knew that fish like water? Rivers up and down the Rockies had plenty of cold, clear water. The fishing started great and has held strong. While we are hoping for another river trip (or two) this year, we will also spend some time over the next couple months following bird dogs, elk and deer. And of course, we are still building the World’s Greatest Drift Boats Monday through Friday!

Wyatt and Lefty

Wyatt and his dog Lefty on the Upper Gunnison River in August

Michele with Gunnison Brown

Wyatt’s mom Michele (and Lefty) admires a pretty Gunnison River Brown

Breaking Shop Dog News… Meet Gus!

Say hello to our newest shop dog, Gus. Gus joined our crew a few months back. While he hardly seems to notice the other shop dogs (Lefty, Ruger, Percy and Fair), he does show lightning fast response to dog treats.  With Walrus (on land) type agility, Gus can put a smile on anyone’s face when he “sort of” runs to greet you.  Stop in and say hi to Gus and the rest of our shop dogs anytime.  Beers shared at 4:30pm daily.

Shop Dog Gus 1

Shop Dog Gus 2

Check out all of our drift boats on our website:
www.boulderboatworks.comAmerica’s #1 selling polymer drift boat – Made in USA

Trout Unlimited Endorsed Business

email: • phone: 303-678-0055
802 B South Sherman St., Longmont, CO 80501

ASJ Correspondent Haugen Joins Alaska Outdoors Television

Scott Haugen will be hosting an Outdoor Channel show. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Scott Haugen will be hosting an Outdoor Channel show. (SCOTT HAUGEN)


Alaska Sporting Journal contributor Scott Haugen, who teams with his wife, Tiffany, for their monthly “From Field to Fire” column, will appear on the Outdoor Channel network as a host. Here’s the release:

Anchorage, Alaska – 59th Parallel
Productions Inc., a television entertainment company,
announced today the addition of Scott Haugen as host
to the Alaska Outdoors Television team joining its 8th season in production, airing weekly on the Outdoor Channel network. For nearly 20 years noted outdoor author and TV host, Scott Haugen has been a familiar name in the hunting and fishing world.

“There’s no place I know that’s as captivating and inspirational as Alaska,” shares Haugen. “The people, land and wildlife are so unique, and there are many great stories to unveil.”

Having lived for years in Alaska’s Arctic, and hunted and fished throughout the state, I’m elated to be part of the Alaska Outdoors team, and to return to the Outdoor Channel.”

When living in Alaska Haugen ran an extensive trapline, fished and hunted birds and big game. He also tracked down and killed a man-eating polar bear with his Winchester .30-06 when living in a village
bordering the Chukchi Sea, a story we look forward to sharing.

“Having a host with a solid reputation in
the outdoor industry, who has proven himself in the state for a quarter-century, adds great value to Alaska Outdoors TV,” offers Tim Delarm, Executive Producer of Alaska Outdoors TV.

Scott Haugen has hosted various shows for the Outdoor Channel’s original programming sector, including Adventures Abroad, Game Chasers and Salmon, Trout, Steelhead. Haugen has appeared on more than 400
TV episodes, penned over 1,700 magazine articles and written more than 15 books to include best-selling hunting and fishing books on Alaska, and is on the editorial staff of three Alaska-based magazines.

He continues to write over 100 magazine articles a year and deliver over 50 seminars, annually, making him a great addition to the team. Alaska Outdoors Television can be seen every week on the Outdoor Channel 3x weekly – Anchor slot Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information on Alaska Outdoors Television visit the series websites at Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or

Congrats to Scott!