All posts by Chris Cocoles

Alaskan Hunter Killed In Wisconsin

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

 

Tragedy in Wisconsin: an Alaskan hunter was killed there during a hunting accident last weekend.

Here’s CBS Minnesota via the Associated Press with more:

An Alaska man died after his hunting companion apparently shot him during opening weekend of Wisconsin’s gun deer season — the first firearm-related fatality during the season in three years, state officials said Monday.

The 39-year-old Fairbanks man was hunting with a 35-year-old Wisconsin woman in Columbia County on Sunday morning, state Department of Natural Resources Warden Jon King said. The man apparently tried to hand a loaded rifle to the woman, who was in a tree stand. The woman had mittens on and grasped the gun near the trigger when the weapon discharged. The man was struck just below the armpit, King said.

Both hunters had valid licenses to hunt in Wisconsin, King said. He declined to release either hunter’s name, saying the incident was still under investigation. He didn’t know if the hunters were related.

“It’s a very unfortunate case,” King said. “We tell people to never carry a loaded firearm in and out of the tree stand.”

 

 

Spreading The Word With Salmon

 

Photo by LaDonna and Ole Gundersen

Photo by LaDonna and Ole Gundersen

Great story from Ketichikan’s KRBD radio news director Leila Kheiry on a Southeast Alaska couple, LaDonna and Ole Gunderson. Both in the commercial fishing industry, the Gundersons have authored cookbooks but will take a more diplomatic approach in their latest venture, which will bring them (and a lot of salmon fillets) to the Middle Eastern nation of Oman to spread their livelihood abroad:

Here’s some of KRBD’s report via Alaska Public Media:

LaDonna Gundersen has written several cookbooks, and salmon – always Alaskan, always wild – is heavily featured. The two also have participated in the Live in Ketchikan’s Celebrity Chef cooking program – produced by KPU-TV.

That show is how she and Ole Gundersen ended up getting invited for a visit by the U.S. Embassy in Muscat, Oman.

“We received an email asking if I’d be interested in coming over and sharing Alaska culture and fishing and cooking salmon and like that,” she said. “When we first saw the email, we were like, ‘Hmmm. This is curious.’”

LaDonna said she wasn’t sure the email was legitimate, but she wrote back and asked for more details. A month later, they got a reply, and KPU-TV Marketing Manager Michelle O’Brien was cc’d on the email.

So, the Gundersens knew it was legit, and they wrote back to give a resounding “yes!” to the invitation.Turns out, “her friend, Ann Mason at the U.S. Embassy, they went to college together, I think around 20 years ago, and they kept in contact,” LaDonna said. “And they were looking to promote wild salmon in Oman, so she reached out to Michelle, and Michelle suggested looking at my Celebrity Chef stuff I’ve done.”

They worked out some details, and learned that the embassy wanted the Gundersens to share not only the joys of wild Alaska salmon, but also the business end of running a small family-owned commercial fishing operation.

Best of luck to the couple on their goodwill tour of Oman.

 

 

 

Holiday Specials From Nootka Island Lodge

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NOOTKA ISLAND LODGE HOLIDAY SPECIALS

 

Buy a Standard Fully Guided Trip & Get the 2nd One for 50% Off Buy a Gift
Certificate &
Pick Your Amount
Shop our Signature Clothing – New Shirts Just Added!
Buy one standard fully guided trip and get the 2nd one at 50% OFF!!! Offer valid til 12/12/15. Other special offers cannot be combined/used. Deposits must be received by Dec 12, 2015.Call (604) 960-0461 or click below Not sure what to give that special someone who has everything? Contribute to the adventure of a lifetime with a gift certificate from Nootka Island. Give a whole trip or just a partial amount. Shop our signature clothing including hats, t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts. Get a classic logo shirt or enjoy one of our many humorous options! Checkout securely with PayPal or use your Debit/Credit Card.

2016 Standard Fishing Packages
3 Day 2 Night Fully guided trip $1599.00 per person.
4 Day 3 Night Fully guided trip $2399.00 per person.
5 Day 4 Night Fully guided trip $2998.00 per person.Trips are based on double occupancy. We require a 50% non refundable deposit to hold a reservation. All packages include: Two guests per boat with guide, all fishing gear, care of catch, room and all meals.
Call for more information:  Oct-Apr (604) 960-0461

 

 

 

American Sniper Screenwriter On Movies And Veterans

Photo by Warner Brothers/TNS

Photos by Warner Brothers/TNS

 

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served our country (and a heartfelt thank you). Check out this Men’s Journal interview with American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall on how movies can provide veterans with some perspective.

Here are some interesting points Hall made in the piece:

I hear that Warner Bros. is donating a portion of the profits from sales of the American Sniper DVD to the Wounded Warrior Project.
There is going to be a pretty decent donation heading that way. That’s a huge deal. That means a lot to these guys and their welfare. Movies like ours shine a light on some of the issues, but there has to be follow-through there with the public. People still don’t know how to participate or how to help. We’ve been talking about trying to push through a Veterans Bill Of Rights. I’m hoping the film i’m directing, Thank You For Your Service, will open that conversation again and address in a really true way what happens when these guys get home and how long that wait is for these families.

Are soldiers still reaching out to you?
I have a lot of families that are coming up there with stories they want to tell. What I’m realizing from all of this is that Chris’s story was his story. It may have been representative of the sacrifice of every soldier, but within that sacrifice is thousands of different stories that are just as important to tell or to document. Just a few weeks ago, I was participating on a stage reading of “The Sky Was Paper” at the Kennedy Center in D.C. You hear these letters from veterans. Not just U.S. soldiers, but soldiers from Germany, Russia, and Japan. What you realize is that war is this plague of destruction on mankind that reaps a toll on families over time.

War movies have been made for decades, but you seem to really be searching for a connection with the soldiers. What drives that?
There’s this incredible way that some of these guys are able to speak about what they’ve seen. They’re able to articulate it in a way we never could, they saw something and were able to bring back this understanding of the destruction of war. Some of the guys find hope in the experience. What they saw in war makes them want to live more, live better, because they’ve been so close to death — they understand the value of life more clearly.

Great insight frim Hall on what too many Americans forget about: when these brave men and women return home from the front, many are still involved in a fight, and say what you want about the role snipers have on both sides, American Sniper among the most influential films of this era that depicts what veterans must endure and how difficult it is for them to get back to a normal life.

Remember these brave Americans today!

 

 

Camouflage Prints For Your Hunting Cabin!

 

 

 

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CAMO

 

ASC Building Products, a leading manufacturer of quality metal roofing and wall panels, introduces new camouflage prints in Marshland CAMO and Woodland CAMO. Designing your new cabin or building to blend in with the natural setting just got a little easier. ASC Building Products’ new specialty CAMO prints offer you the durability and performance of metal roofing and siding and the versatility of prints which blend into the natural setting while withstanding the natural elements.

Trims and flashing are also available in complementary colors. With over 40 years of industry experience in designing and manufacturing metal roof and wall panels, ASC Building Products offers a wide variety of products for residential, agricultural, and light commercial projects in quality paint systems to meet the needs of your project.

For more information, visit us at www.ascbp.com

Ice Fishing Tragedy

Photo by Dennis Musgraves

Photo by Dennis Musgraves

 

Apologies for getting this out a little late, but tragedy for two men who died during an ice fishing trip last week.

The Fairbanks News-Miner with more:

Troopers were alerted by a search and rescue team just after noon Friday that two men were overdue from a snowmachine trip to go fishing outside of Noorvik. The men, Richard R. Patterson, 34, and Fred Melton, 44, left just after midnight for the trip up the Kobuk River.

They had not returned by noon and search team was sent out. They discovered a hole in the river ice about 1.5 miles upstream from Noorvik. The men’s bodies were recovered about two hours later. The men were transported to the State Medical Examiner for autopsy. Alcohol was not a factor.

Condolences to the mens’ loved ones.

Ariel’s Still Flying High

Ariel Tweto 5

 

 

The following story appears in the November issue of Alaska Sporting Journal, on sale now. 

 

 

-By Chris Cocoles

Photos by Ariel Tweto

Ariel Tweto can’t stay on the ground for very long. Neither can she stop smiling, laughing and making her friends and family giggle.

It’s no wonder this tiny sparkplug from tiny Unakleet, Alaska, is part of one of the state’s first family of flight. Her parents, Jim and Ferno Tweto, co-own and operate Ravn Alaska airlines, an important carrier throughout the Last Frontier. The family business has been featured on the TV series Flying Wild Alaska, which returned to the airwaves this year on the Outdoor Channel after originally appearing on the Discovery Channel.

Ariel’s become quite the success story, having been one of the driving forces behind her family’s show getting on the air in the first place.

“I’m so happy with all the decisions I’ve made so far,” she says. “You might regret some of the stuff you do. But I’m going to hold onto these moments.”

Ariel Tweto.

Ariel Tweto.

THE FRIENDLY SKIES

Flying Wild Alaska focused on the Tweto family’s role in their aviation company, then known as Era Alaska.

“We tried to make it as honest as possible and actually show the real Alaska, including the bad things about it,” says Tweto, who turns 28 this year. “And then I hope we were able to get people excited about aviation. That was another one of our goals. So many people are so scared (of flying), and we wanted to highlight and show the honest aspect of flying. We hoped we would get a younger generation excited about flying.”

The airplane was certainly inspiring to the Tweto patriarch. Jim Tweto came to Alaska on a hockey scholarship to the University of Alaska Anchorage. His career as a goalie wasn’t going to take him to the NHL so he took up work as a welder in the Nome-area village of Unakleet, currently populated by 712.

“When he went to the village and first met my mom, he built boats. And my grandpa (Ferno’s father) was one of the first native pilots who lived up there,” Ariel Tweto says. “All of my uncles flew and my dad just fell in love with it.”

Jim started his own company, a one-plane operation that took off (literally) around the time Ariel and her sister, Ayla, were toddlers. In 1990 he partnered up to form another successful venture, Hageland Aviation, and eventually Jim Tweto and partners Mike Hageland and John Hajdukovich eventually molded Era Alaska into a regional powerhouse of the skies. Today, the company is called Ravn Alaska and has a fleet of over 70 planes.

“My parents are still working every day. And they never take breaks,” she says. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from my parents: They don’t stop working. They wake up at 6 and sometimes in summer they stay up until like 11 or 12 at night. Last year was the first time in like 20 years they went on a vacation (to Hawaii). I asked them why they don’t take more vacations and they say, ‘We just like working.’”

Ariel’s mom jokes that she likes to work as much as her daughter likes to travel. But the work-hard, play-hard mantra also rubbed off in a good way.

“They made us work hard as kids,” Tweto said of herself and two sisters. “They set rules for us, disciplined us. A lot of families don’t have parents who are supportive like ours. I’m just really fortunate that they were supportive, but they made us work hard. I definitely think we’re a family of overachievers.”

 

Ariel Tweto 4 Ariel Tweto 2

LOVING LIFE

Tweto can boast two hometowns now: Unakleet – “I go there at least once a month” – and Los Angeles, which she fell for like so many others seeking the Southern California lifestyle after she attended Chapman University in Orange County. Furthermore, Tweto stays busy enough with multiple projects in the works.

“I haven’t been to my house in L.A. in a couple months because I was (out and about so much),” she said during an interview in late spring. “I go to L.A. and usually can last maybe 10 days or two weeks and then I have to get out.”

“I met some amazing friends there (in Southern California) and I love the weather and being warm. But I love Alaska; there’s no place quite like it. It’s where my best friends live and my family lives.”

Some of the friends Tweto met in Los Angeles visited her in Alaska and plan to go back north, perhaps even staying permanently. That’s the magnetic appeal the Last Frontier can have on ambitious Lower 48ers looking for a challenge or new start.

Tweto encourages anyone making a trip to Alaska to be around during the Iditarod sled dog race every March.

“It’s so much fun. Everyone is so excited because the (day)light is back; the sun is coming back out and the weather is warming up. You sit and talk to the mushers and hear their stories. You’re out there and the (sleds) are finishing, you run into a bar and have a beer and then you run back outside and cheer for the next one,” she says. “It’s so much fun and it’s just gorgeous at that time of year.”

Tweto, no stranger to the outdoors, also loves to come back in June and July to fish. Heading to the Kenai Peninsula or joining at a friend’s fish camp for a week is a favorite Tweto summer pastime. Last year around this time, a Kenai salmon trip netted some big fish, including one that the diminutive but feisty woman temporarily lost the battle to while winning the war.

“I fell out of the boat,” Tweto says with her classic shrugging-her-shoulders-and-laughing-it-off candor.

“The fish was so heavy and I just got super excited, so I took one step back and flipped over. Oh, well.”

Last year she went to Scotland with her friend, former CBS talk-show host Craig Ferguson (see sidebar) and his family. In the spring Tweto traveled to Rio de Janeiro as part of a TV commercial for a Brazilian beer company. The Tweto sisters, including Flying Wild Alaska regular Ayla, visited their father’s homeland of Norway in the summer. The Philippines beckon in the coming months.

“It’s fun living out of a suitcase,” Tweto says. “If someone told me I had to stay in one location, I couldn’t do it.”

 

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A GREATER CAUSE

But it’s not just about frequent-flier miles, fishing and fun in the sun. There’s a method to Tweto’s madness.

“For me it’s about meeting random people and hearing their stories,” she says. “I feel if you see someone walking down the street and start talking to (him or her), you’ll learn something.”

She has also become a licensed and accomplished pilot and hopes to get her commercial license soon. She has the same passion for aviation as her parents did dating back to their humbling start in the industry in Alaska.

“They are more proud of the fact when we (successfully) follow through with a plan,” Tweto says. “I knew I was going to do it, because when we have a goal we’re going to accomplish it, even if it’s something like learning how to bake a pie.”

At some point, Tweto would love to have her own television empire. She has aspirations to someday be the “Eskimo Oprah.”

“Everyone in the villages really never sees Eskimos on TV,” Tweto says. “I’d love to have an adventure show and a talk show. I love that (Oprah Winfrey) does so much and she’s such an inspiration for me. One thing about Oprah is she connects with people, and I like that. She built an empire and I just want to build my own brand and inspire people.”

She also wants to help others like her. Tweto started a nonprofit, Popping Bubbles (facebook.com/arieltwetopoppingbubbles).

“I go to rural communities around Canada and Alaska and talk to (the kids). It started out as more of a suicide prevention thing, but now it’s just as much about kids setting goals and dreaming big,” Tweto says. “I’m from a small community and now I get to travel the world. I try to get them to get excited about traveling and adventure – setting goals.”

Some stories she’s heard from the kids in isolated Native Alaskan and Canadian villages can be heartbreaking to stomach. She talked to one group about the effects and tragic consequences bullying can have on victims. Afterwards she was asked to give the speech in neighboring communities. “It’s very emotional,” Tweto says. “I definitely didn’t think it would turn into an actual organization. I’m really happy about it. It can be draining because you’re talking about suicide and issues like that.”

Clearly, Tweto is taking the fight (and the experience) to the world rather than sitting back. Sitting still and settling down can wait for later.

“I can’t be in one place for more than two weeks, which is horrible for my personal life, since I’m 27 and still single,” she deadpans. “I haven’t met anyone yet who understands that I like moving around and don’t like having to text anyone and say where I’m at. I don’t like anyone telling me what to do – so sorry.” ASJ

Editor’s note: Follow Ariel Tweto on Instagram and Twitter (both @arieltweto)

 

Ariel Tweto sidebar

LATE NIGHT STAR 

Ariel Tweto is no stranger to the couches and comfy chairs of late-night television. She’s been a guest on the Late Show With David Letterman, but Tweto was something of a folk heroine during Craig Ferguson’s run on CBS’Late Late Show.

“I think I was on like 15 times or something like that,” says the star of the Discovery Channel/Outdoor Channel series Flying Wild Alaska. “He’s the best.”

On Tweto’s last visit, she talked about spending Thanksgiving with Ferguson and his wife, Megan Wallace-Cunningham. She was also part of a group of family and friends who visited Ferguson’s native Scotland together.

“Can we just sit here for a while longer? It’s sort of sad,” Tweto told Ferguson as her last appearance on the show was imminent. “Thank you for everything. You did change my life.”

“Did I?” Ferguson asked.

“You did. You opened so many doors that I wouldn’t have gotten to walk through. I didn’t even try to memorize that line, but that was pretty good.”

“He’s such a great guy,” she told the audience in Los Angeles about the affable Ferguson. “He’s amazing.” –CC 

State Of Alaska Cuts Could Affect Fishing Industry

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As someone who spent about 15 post-college years working at newspapers, I can relate to budget cuts. Through runs at two once top 50-circulation publications, those papers are now shells of their former selves. Good, talented people were given “severance packages” – the modern-day way to give someone the heave-ho (laid off), and page counts are now absurdly small and overpriced.  I was just in a Dallas Walmart with a friend who wanted to buy a Saturday Dallas Morning News, which has traditionally been one of the best papers around. I knew the days of feeding a rack with a quarter were over; still, I sheepishly asked, ‘What’s that going to cost? 75 cents?” Try $1.50!

But I digress. Newspapers are not the only industry that’s suffered cuts during our long stretches of recession. A report on KFSK in Petersburg had some disheartening news for Alaska’s fishing industry:

Because of Alaska’s budget crisis, state agencies cut spending this year and are planning additional reductions in the next few years. For the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, those cuts have meant less monitoring of fish runs, a change that will lead to more conservative management and less fishing opportunity. That was the message from Fish and Game officials to a commercial fishing industry organization that met in Petersburg in late October.

ADFG commissioner Sam Cotten told the board members of the United Fishermen of Alaska at its fall meeting in Petersburg that the department is looking at several years of budget reductions.

“Last year I think we took an 18 percent cut and the governor’s asking for another 10,” Cotten said. “And the legislature’s not going to be satisfied with that. So it isn’t a matter of whether our budget’s going to get cut it’s a matter of how much. But we would like your help on the where part.”

The story also talked about the state “consolidating administrative staff,” so that’s not exactly a good sign for everyone involved. But it’s hardly a shocking development.

 

 

 

 

FishHunter’s Pocket-Size FishFinder

 

 

 

 

 

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FishHunter Inc. introduces its latest portable fish finder that fits in your pocket, FishHunter Directional 3D at ICAST 2015, the world’s largest sport fishing trade show. FishHunter Directional 3D, a 5 transducer, dual frequency, Wi-Fi based fish finder that hunts fish up to 160 feet and leverages 3D rendering software to create the most powerful portable fish finder ever.

 

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Making its debut at ICAST 2015, the world’s largest sport fishing trade show, FishHunter Directional 3D is a completely portable fish finder that packs the power of 5 transducers working at a dual frequency into a sonar that fits in your pocket. FishHunter Directional 3D features its exclusive patent pending technology to allow you to see picture quality renderings of bottom contour up to 160 feet below the surface and up to 200ft away.

“Fishermen and fishing enthusiasts often spend hours trying to find fish and fish habitats and we have spent 2 years developing the NEW FishHunter Directional 3D to show you what your casting or potential fishing area looks like before you start fishing. Ultimately, our goal with FishHunter Directional 3D was to create a breakthrough in the way that fisherman can view the information below the water surface and we were very excited about our ability to combine 3D rendering software and traditional transducer data to create views and features that no one has ever seen before,” says the CEO, Michael Smith. “Of course making sure that that it still fits in your pocket so you can take it anywhere you want to fish was still critical to our design plan.”

 

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FishHunter Directional 3D fish finder provides Anglers with the ultimate versatility, featuring 4 Sonar View Options including the NEW and patent pending Directional Casting, 3D Bottom Contouring, 3D Bottom Contour Mapping and Ice Fishing Flasher View:

Directional Casting*
Directional Casting™ powers up all 5 dual frequency transduces, showing you the depth and where the fish are being detected in relation to your floating FishHunter™. In this example, the right transducer is red, and the number 10.1 appears. This indicates fish are on the right side of your FishHunter™, at a depth of 10.1 feet. Now cast in that direction and increase your chances of catching more fish. Click on any of the 5 round icon’s and you get a split view screen with the left side showing the depth of any fish detected and the right side showing you the exact bottom contour for the transducer you selected.

3D Bottom Contouring*
Using 3D software and 3 dual frequency transducers allows us to create “life like” images of the bottom, so you can quickly evaluate bottom contour. You can even change your view angle, so you can rotate around the bottom to figure out exactly where fish are hiding. Knowing the bottom contour when fishing is critical to improving your catch rate and our cutting edge 3D Bottom Contouring technology provides a detailed view of any underwater terrain.

 

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3D Bottom Contour Mapping*
You can create custom 3D Bottom Contour Maps of your favorite fishing spots by placing the FishHunter™ in the water and then reeling/drifting/trolling it over the area you want to measure. Use the color coded scale to easily see drop offs or toggle on/off the grid overlay to know exactly where the drop offs are, their relative depth and distance. Every 3D Bottom Contour Map is GPS tagged so you can save the map and fish the same spot next time–no problem.

Ice Fishing Flasher View
Unlike traditional flashers that are required to be submerged beneath the ice, FishHunter™ floats in the hole on the surface of the water, withstanding weather conditions as cold as -22?F (-30?C). Ice Fishing Flasher View displays the bottom, depth, temperature and allows you to view your jig, providing you with the raw data you need to time the perfect catch. If you don’t want to watch the screen, your FishHunter™ App will even audio alert you when fish are detected in your sonar beam.

FishHunter Directional 3D is amazing precise due to its 5 powerful, dual frequency transducers, operating at 381kHz and 445kHz.  The device has the power to reach and analyze to a depth of 160 feet and a 200 foot range, in both fresh and salt water.  FishHunter works in all marine weather conditions including ice fishing and works with more than 7,000 IOS and android smartphones and tablets.

Fisherman and fishing enthusiasts don’t need a cell tower connection to use the FishHunter but rather simply pair their FishHunter with a smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi (which is 4 times faster than blue tooth) and then cast it in the water. They can then check their smartphone/tablet to see the bottom contour, water depth, temperature, and fish locations.

For more information, visit www.fishhunter.com