Category Archives: Featured Content

Sitka Fisherman Honored For Brave Act

Great story out of Sitka on an angler, John Hagen, who was honored for his selfless act to rescue a mariner last summer.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

In June, Hagen intentionally beached his troller in Icy Strait to rescue Tim Lane, who was drifting by in a waterlogged survival suit.

Lane’s crewman, Alan Young, had gone overboard from Lane’s boat. His body was never found despite a search that covered 450 square miles.

The Coast Guard credits Lane’s survival largely to Hagen’s efforts. The commendation described Lane as being “on the brink of death.”

Congratulations, John. You are a hero.

 

 

 

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2013/11/08/3164606/fisherman-honored-for-saving-mariners.html#storylink=cpy

 

Remember the Alamo; Never Forget Veteran’s Day

 

I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran's Day weekend made it an emotional journey.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio's urban jungle, you're first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor's center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo's "celebrities" David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others).<br /><br /><br /><br />
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I've visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that's always struck me is how dedicated these men and women - the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country - have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.<br /><br /><br /><br />
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

 

I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran’s Day weekend made it an emotional journey.

When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio’s urban jungle, you’re first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.

During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor’s center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo’s “celebrities” like David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others who we read about in books or see portrayed in Hollywood by Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson).
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I’ve visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that’s always struck me is how dedicated these men and women – the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country – have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

Photo: Remembering The Alamo and Veteran's Green Day</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>I just got back from a quick weekend getaway to San Antonio, a quintessential Texas city I never previously visited but enjoyed during the short time I was there. Mostly, my friend and I went for sports fan purposes, taking in an NBA, college football and college basketball game in roughly a 24-hour period. But being the history nerd that I am, there was no way I could go to San Antonio and not see The Alamo. That it was Veteran's Day weekend made it an emotional journey.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>When you see The Alamo for the first time, located smack dab in the middle of San Antonio's urban jungle, you're first taken back by how much smaller it is than you must have assumed given how much of a symbol this landmark is to Texas pride. But then as you walk through the other tourist hordes and find a rare quiet corner to yourself, it hits you how miserable those 32 volunteers must have been during the 13 days they spent waiting for the Mexican army to overwhelm them. Death was surely preordained and anticipated.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>During that time, the doomed men were not defending United States soil, but they were all patriots in their own right (As I scanned the list defenders in The Alamo visitor's center, I was taken back the number of Irishmen who were in the fort, nameless individuals lost in the shuffle of The Alamo's "celebrities" David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others).<br /><br /><br /><br />
I have no military background, and while my dad is a Navy veteran, I can only get a small sense of what these and other veterans of wars spanning generations went through. I've visited Civil War battlefields, World War II museums, battleships and aircraft carriers. The common theme that's always struck me is how dedicated these men and women - the ones who survived and gave their lives for their country - have been and continue to be during these turbulent times.<br /><br /><br /><br />
Please remember all those who fought for our freedom today.

 

Nice Story On Californian’s Adventures In Alaska

I used to live in Southern California’s Ventura County (Thousand Oaks), so this first-person story in the Ventura County Star was of interest to me.

Here’s an excerpt from Chuck Graham’s report:

 

For 10 days we hadn’t seen a soul, no signs of man’s imprint, and then on the coastal plain the region’s greatest threat loomed not far to the west. Fortunately my attention was easily diverted by an arctic ground squirrel darting between my tripod and its den. Tundra swans, a sandhill crane and a red phalarope waded and waddled across the tundra and cobalt blue ponds. An arctic fox scurried along the banks of the Staines River. We also came across a downtrodden 1930s cemetery, a Russian family buried on a mound, the animals having dug up one of the graves, a femur protruding out of the frigid earth.
Also located on the coastal plain just east of the mouth of the Staines River is Bird Camp. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service keeps a biologist on the coastal plain to monitor the bird nesting season from late May through late July each year. That camp is surrounded by electrical fence to keep the bears at bay. We also learned what had been feeding on that caribou carcass three miles up the river.
“You just missed a polar bear by four days,” said Scott, the scruffy-bearded biologist. “It wandered upriver smelling that carcass from the coast.”
The next day I walked for about 20 miles hoping to spot a polar bear. Once across the uneven tundra, I escaped out to a long, narrow barrier island, a graveyard of bleached driftwood, skeletons and animal tracks. The sandy isle was a good food source for scavenging animals, and then I found polar bear tracks.

 

 

Anglers Come To Aid Of Stranded Orca

Here’s a feel-good story about some Alaska fishermen who helped a free a killer whale that was stuck on a rock in the shallow waters off Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.

From Seattle television station King5’s report:

Two whales swam nearby keeping an eye on their stuck friend.

“They stayed be her side until she was freed,” the fishermen wrote on YouTube. “It was a little nerve wracking because we didn’t know if the other whales knew we were trying to help or if they thought we may be hurting it.”

With the water rising with the tide, Vonick and Segal were concerned that the whale might drown because it couldn’t keep its blowhole above water.

“When the tide came in she could not hold her head above water and started to drown and made terrible noises and began to panic. We immediately used the oars from our skiff to pry her off the rock into deep water.”

There are also a couple of dramatic videos on the King5 site of the killer whale’s plight and the guys who came to its aid.

 

Subscribe today to Alaska Sporting Journal; at $19.95 for a one-year subscription, it’s an easy holiday gift for the fishing or hunting fanatic in your life who dreams of an Alaskan adventure. Click here for details.

 

Happy Halloween

Halloween-everyone

Thanks to our Western Shooting editor, Rachel Alexander, for posting this pic of the Media Index Publishing staff (most of us) enjoying an All Hallow’s Eve lunch in the office. If you must know, I am trying to hide in the lower right-hand corner since I barely wore something resembling a costume ( but I do enjoy wearing my court jester beanie I bought at a hockey game in Finland once or twice a year).

 

 

DIY Deer On POW

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Photo by Shane Vander Giessen

We’re referring to the November edition of Alaska Sporting Journal as the “DIY Issue”, with seven unguided Alaskan adventures. Our cover story features three Lower 48ers (from Washington) who tackled a deer hunt on Prince of Wales Island. Here’s a little bit from author Shane Vander Giessen, and some bonus photos to whet your appetite for the main story, which should be available for purchase soon, especially in the Northwest:

The rain and fog moved in as we were climbing, but as we reached the top of the mountain, we got a break in the fog within 275 yards of the two bucks. One 4-point with eye guards was already hard-horned, and a smaller buck was with him and still in velvet.
The 4-point was bedded, and once he stood up, I had him down in two shots with a rifle. The smaller buck hung around trying to figure out where the shots came from. We weren’t planning on shooting him at first, but, eventually, Alec decided to take him as well.
We quickly set up camp and looked for one more buck for Brian. We actually saw another 4-point, similar in size to the one I got, but he wasn’t able to connect before the fog moved back in and hindered our visibility.
Then the rain started. And continued. It rained all night and all the next day. Alec and I actually boned out our deer in the vestibules of our backpacking tents. Plus, we had to make our way down the mountain (each carrying our own tents) through some of the muddiest, steepest, nastiest and brush-filled terrain I’ve ever hiked in.
At one point, Brian was climbing up through some cliffs, and we couldn’t see him when he let loose a whole bunch of rocks. I seriously thought for a second that he was a goner. We all said our prayers and made it down safely to the car, but we were drenched to the bone and completely exhausted. It probably rained 1½ inches on us while we were hiking out.

alaska hunting 2013 - 15-15

Photo by Shane Vander Giessen

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Photo by Shane Vander Giessen

 

To read Shane’s complete story, get a copy of Alaska Sporting Journal at several Northwest area airports, or subscribe today and get one full year at just $19.95. Click here for details. Digital subscriptions are also available.

 

 

 

 

Breaking Through The Ice

When Dennis Musgraves of Alaskan Salmon Slayers  approached us about writing a story about ice fishing for sheefish in isolated Northwestern Alaska, I was more than intrigued for two reasons: 1. It was ice fishing. 2. It’s sheefish. Those two factors alone made this a great story to add for our November issue. Dennis really did a good job describing the process of he and his friend, Chris, traveling to Kotzebue in their quest for catching trophy sheefish through the frozen waters of Kotzebue Sound.

Here’s a little sneak peak of the story and a few extra photos to take a look at:

I continued vertically dancing my spoon as I took in the vastness of the sound. The miles of ice-covered water had me feeling like I was fishing for needle in a haystack; and then it happened. It was a definite forceful strike from something below the ice attempting to eat my lure, but I failed to set the hook.                                                   
I yelled with excitement, “I just had a bite!” My volume was probably loud enough to be heard by all the residents 2 miles away in Kotzebue. Anticipation in full throttle, Spiderman senses tingling, I increased focus on my jigging pattern to persuade another bite, and this time I actually set the hook. I imagined myself as the fish, watching the action of the large spoon, took the lure like an offer that could not be refused.
Then it happened again, wham! My instinctive reactions took over pulling up and setting the hook just after feeling the tip of the rod react to the lure getting smashed. With heavy resistance felt and line rolling off the reel I knew it was a positive hook set.  
My adrenaline kicking in now, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Fish On!” in the direction of Chris. The fish took out about 10 yards of line after the initial hook set. As Chris made his way over to me, I reeled down on the fish. My rod flexing as I put pressure on what felt like a decent sheefish, I continued to reel up line and feel strong head shakes. The fish seemed to be easily controlled as I guided the head towards the ice opening to breach the surface. Not a huge by sheefish standards, but a respectable 34-incher, and not too shabby for icing my first one ever. After a couple grin and grip photos and exchanging high-fives, it was back to fishing.
Fishing the rest of the day was slow by any standard. It seemed we needed a new location. I was just about ready to suggest a change when I heard Chris shout, “Fish on!” Looking over to where he was standing and seeing his rod doubled over, I quickly reeled up to go over and see what he had on.                                                                                                                       

Upon walking up and taking a knee beside his hole, I began eagerly watching the opening, jaw wide open, my eyes straining trying to look into the waiter’s shadowy glare. I was attempting to get a glimpse of what was below. His reel sang a chorus as several yards of line was quickly ripped out against the drag. His rod was wildly bent from massive shakes and resistance. With the look of euphoric shock on his face and music coming off the reel I realized he must have one enormous sheefish on the other end of his line.                               
Excitement filled the air, as we began asking ourselves out loud, “Is this fish going to be a 50-incher?” Expectations grew in both of us as the tug of war fight subsided and the fish was coaxed closer to the surface. However, after approximately 10 minutes of unsuccessful attempts guiding the fish up the hole, we both succumbed to the notion that this fish was simply going to be too big for the opening in the ice. Our enthusiasm was totally deflated when the hook was slipped and he reeled it up, his rig void of any signs of a victory. 

 

 

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Photos courtesy of Dennis Musgrave.

Look this and other Alaska adventure stories every month in Alaska Sporting Journal. To subscribe now and get a full year for just $19.95, click here.

Going To The Birds On The Kenai

By Chris Cocoles on Oct. 25

Our DIY man in Alaska, Steve Meyer, wrote a nice piece for hunters (and dog lovers) for our November issue on chasing ptarmigan on the Kenai Mountains of Southcentral Alaska.  It’s a really interesting story in that Steve details how rocky and slippery the terrain can be in that time of year (mid-September) that affected both he and can affect his hunting dog, Winchester. Here’s a sneak peak from the story:

The snow was packed in and yet to melt from the previous winter, and it had a very slippery glaze. We were skirting the edges when Winchester, some 400 yards across the other side, came to another solid point.  Working down to the snow bed to cross, my partner stayed up on more stable ground and had a front row seat when my feet went out from under me. I started sliding down the chute and I tried to dig my heels in to no avail.
My velocity was such that I knew it was going to be bad when I smashed into the large boulders I was headed for. With the 28 cradled in my arms I hit a large rock, my knees unlocked to absorb the impact and I flew chest first into the rock with the 28 smashing my upper lip and nose.
When I hit, a bird flew up from behind the rock and I sat upright and took a shot that I shouldn’t have and cleanly missed. I looked up with blood running down my face to see my hunting partner laughing.  She thought I had done it on purpose.

As someone who has proven to be clumsy on icy ground (that’s a story for another day, but one I’m not proud of telling anyway!), I can relate to Steve taking a tumble. But trooper that he is, Steve was able to laugh it off. Kudos, buddy! Here a few extra pictures from Steve’s report. You can see by the shot of Christine, Steve’s hunting partner in crime, how tricky it must be to navigate the area where these upland birds hide. The ptarmigan are able to blend into the snow very difficult.

9-30-12 whitetails 006 Winchester holding for the flush Winchester 10-10-12 089

To see Steve’s full adventure, get yourself a subscription to Alaska Sporting Journal. At our special fall rate of just $19.95 for 12 issues, it’s a bargain and a convenient holiday gift for your favorite hunter or angler. Click here for details.

Kayaks On Cochrane

By Chris Cocoles on Oct. 23

One of my favorite stories we’re running for our November issue of Alaska Sporting Journal is Mark Veary’s report of his DIY kayaking journey to Cochrane Bay in Prince William Sound with friends Pam and Dave. I’ve always wanted a kayak and to paddle  – over mostly calm and not so dangerous waters – my way and tote a fishing rod. Not sure if Mark will inspire me to go through with it someday. But I daydreamed a lot about the possibilities. Anyway, Mark’s story should be a fun read. Here are a few of the great photos Mark sent us that didn’t get into the finished product for your enjoyment.

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Subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal today to read more Alaskan adventures like Mark’s. Click here for details of our fall deal: Get 12 issues for ASJ for just $19.95.