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How Alaskans Celebrate July 4

Scott Hamman puts on a show every Fourth of July around the Kenai's Cook Inlet. (SCOTT HAMMAN)

Scott Hamman puts on a show every Fourth of July around the Kenai’s Cook Inlet. (SCOTT HAMMAN)

 

Happy Independence Day, everyone! As we celebrate our nation’s birthday for the 239th time today, be safe with your fireworks, don’t drink and drive and take some time to embrace the struggles of the Founding Fathers to forge a nation out of a ragtag bunch of once British colonists fighting a world power across the Atlantic.

Our Steve Meyer filed this report that’s appearing in the July issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:

By Steve Meyer

There are simply not many things that cannot be accomplished when one has an adequate amount of explosives. At least that was what we all thought when in days past, there was always a case of dynamite and several hundred feet of det cord stashed in the shed.

Yep, it hasn’t been all that long ago when you could get those things pretty much when you wanted. And it hasn’t been that long since a get together on the Fourth of July would include them.

Reminiscing from past Fourth of July holidays, blowing stuff up on a small scale was what it was all about. Oh sure, where it actually got dark the fireworks were okay and running around the yard in the dark with a sparkler lit up was sort of fun. It was a lot more fun when you had a compadre willing to sword fight with them.

But mostly it was the firecrackers. Perhaps that should be qualified with “for young boys” it was the firecrackers. With firecrackers there were innumerable things that could be blown up such as ant hills, dirt clods, pop bottles; basically if it looked disposable or otherwise something that wouldn’t draw the ire of parents, it got blown up. A rite of passage was having a firecracker go off in your hand. The little ones, called “Lady Fingers” if memory serves correctly, were fairly anemic and you could get use to and even enjoy them going off in your hand. Granted, they hurt, but there is that pain/pleasure thing.

The bigger ones, “Black Cats” is what I remember, that were about an inch-and-a-half long weren’t so much fun. All sorts of bad stuff could happen with one of those detonating in your closed hand. The fun part with those was grouping them together and trying to get them to go off simultaneously and blow up something really big, like falling a small tree or if you were lucky the swollen stomach of a long dead animal.

The fallout from those episodes didn’t make you popular with your mom, but dad usually thought it was pretty funny – no doubt from previous experience as a youngster.

 

Christine Cunningham prepares to fire a cannonball into Cook Inlet on the Fourth of July. (STEVE MEYER)

Christine Cunningham prepares to fire a cannonball into Cook Inlet on the Fourth of July. (STEVE MEYER)

Of course, as time has passed and folks seem to have less responsibility, a fair amount of disasters with fireworks occurred. Given that largely it seems we have become a nation that is willing to trade freedom for “safety and security,” the Fourth of July doesn’t seem to garner the celebration of why our country even exists anymore. Many places and more specifically, many places in Alaska, fireworks are prohibited.

Alaska being one of the last strongholds of personal freedom has a more specific reason for prohibiting fireworks than just wanting to take away the fun. Forest fires. With many forested areas of the state inundated with beetle-killed spruce trees the potential for easy ignition of wildfires is a clear and present danger. While there are still some places where fireworks can be used in Alaska, it seems folks here have taken a greater responsibility and generally are pretty careful with their use.

For Alaskans, fireworks are largely now a winter function when fire danger is minimal and it actually is dark enough to see them. Municipal entities around the state put on fireworks displays around Christmas and New Year’s Eve and some, Seward being one example, does have a Fourth of July fireworks display late in the day after the Mount Marathon run. The display is set off over Resurrection Bay, where there is no fire danger.

Alaskans being generally rather patriotic and a bit different breed than most can be rather inventive in ways to celebrate in the absence of fireworks. The proliferation of legal owned automatic weapons is never more evident than the evening of the Fourth. The staccato bursts of M16s, AK-47s, Uzis, Browning automatic rifles, Thompsons and even the occasional M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun can be heard across the landscape. For those bent that direction the sound of automatic weapons is inspirational and pulse throbbing. And for some, that just doesn’t quite do it.

Fireworks are easier to watch in Alaska in the darker days around Christmas and New Year's Eve. (STEVE MEYER)

Fireworks are easier to watch in Alaska in the darker days around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. (STEVE MEYER)

In the American tradition of “bigger is better;” what could one do that is legal and yet better to celebrate our country’s founding?  For our friend Scott Hamann, a larger than life supporter of American freedoms, not the least being the Second Amendment, who’s work and generosity in the field are legendary, it was easy; artillery!  The ownership of modern artillery is somewhat problematic, the shooting of same even more so but black powder artillery is legal and so Scott obtained a replica Civil War cannon and parked it in his front yard, which overlooks Cook Inlet, the perfect place to lob artillery shells without endangering anyone.

Each firing of the canon requires a pound of black powder and a projectile that Scott makes himself, weighing three pounds. Observing the process is a step back in time and appears pretty much exactly like the old photos from Civil War encounters. The dumping of the powder in the bore, tamping it down, seating the ball with the ramrod and capping the firing mechanism are absolutely authentic and in itself a commemoration of our country’s storied history. In the wake of the smoke from the shot and the whistle of the canon ball over the water the carnage of distant battlefields are felt to the core of the soul.

A magnificent tribute to the men and women who have fought and won the freedoms we enjoy. It seems our freedoms are dwindling away but they don’t have to. It all comes down to “want to” and folks like Scott are an inspiration to where we come from and why we must preserve our way of life at any cost.

Happy Birthday to America.

 

 

 

Off the Grid in the Alaska Wilderness

A rare find awaits!

What a rare find!!! This property is totally surrounded by public land, plus you have the Wild and Scenic Talachulitna River right at your foot steps. There is literally no private property on the upper reaches of the Talachulitna River. And there are only just a few parcels at the mid river location.

This property is about a days float from the famous Judd Lake. If you are a fisherman, you probably have heard of the world wide reputation this river has for producing some of the finest angling you can find:

Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char and of course, the “Mighty” King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Reds, Pinks and Dog Salmon.

prop 1This parcel can only be reached by ski plane or snowmobile in the winter or by floating the river. “A very skilled Super Cub pilot may be able to land in the back of the property.” Many people ask for that one and only parcel, off the grid in the Alaska wilderness, so here you have it; a great parcel with a fantastic view of glacier capped mountains, the “Best” fishing and total solitude.

The small, old “Trapper Cabin” from the ancient past is still usable (no value assigned to cabin) and may just be perfect shelter while you build your own log cabin. The Price for the “VERY” rare find is only: $99,900.

Seller prefers cash
Remote Properties, LLC
Your Remote & Recreation Real Estate Broker – Specialist
http://www.remoteproperties.com

907-277-4608

Kachemak Bay’s Feeder Salmon Frenzy

 

Meyer king salmon 6

Photos by Steve Meyer 

The following story appears in the June issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:

By Steve Meyer 

Four minutes into the troll, my rod slammed down, releasing the 14-pound downrigger ball and signifying that the fight was on.

The fish made one decent run and came to hand in the bobbing seas typical of lower Cook Inlet. Shane Blakely, of Driftwood Charters and the captain of the day, looked at my fish with a bit of a jaundiced eye and asked, “Do you want to keep it?”

By king salmon standards the fish would impress no one, and clearly there were much bigger fish to be caught. “Hell, yeah, I want to keep it” was my not so subtle response.

Meyer king salmon 2

AT HOME IN HOMER

Months before, my partner, Christine Cunningham, had told me that Ruth and Louis Cusack and Emily and Matt Shock wanted to book a trip to fish for feeder kings out of Homer. Groaning to myself I thought, “Great, another day of mindless trolling for fish with someone who doesn’t know how to catch them.” So I replied, “I’ll go only if we book with Shane.”

You see, we had been feeder king fishing on numerous occasions with several different boats and captains and, frankly, it sucked. True, the scenery in lower Cook Inlet is magnificent and, depending on weather, always a bit different. But after about four hours of listening to the throb of the engines cruising at 2½ mph, the scenery ceases to be all that interesting, and could we please catch a damn fish now?

We had come to know Shane by way of a duck hunting buddy when Shane towed our boat across Kachemak Bay for sea duck hunting in December a couple years ago. Shane hunted with us for a while and then said he probably should go catch a couple kings and would be back for the return across the bay. Yeah, sure, whatever, we thought – until he came back an hour later with two very nice feeder kings.

The next week, the process was repeated, eliminating the chances it was a fluke. Since then, we have sort of kept track of Shane; inevitably, no matter the time of year, he was knocking them out.

Meyer king salmon 4

WATER FIT FOR KINGS

The feeder king fishery in Kachemak Bay (often referred to as winter kings, or blackmouth in the Pacific Northwest) was at one time primarily a winter event, with the Homer Winter King derby in March being the highlight. But the kings that come from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are there year-round.

They feed and then leave when they are ready to make their spawning run.

Some of the kings caught in Kachemak are hatchery fish, as evidenced by their lack of an adipose fin. Some have tags (Shane caught some hundred or so of these last year) that can be sent in to various government agencies, which will return information about the fish. On our trip we caught several hatchery fish and two with tags.

A question that comes to mind is what effect our targeting these fish has on the other end where they spawn; it seems like none. The runs these fish come from continue to increase, as do the numbers of feeder kings in Kachemak Bay. Of course, there are no hard and fast scientific numbers to support that, as no studies of the population in Kachemak Bay have been done. That is simply from observations of anglers who have fished them for a long time, and if anyone knows, it is them.

So with that in mind, we had no qualms about keeping them. One thing that has kept these kings targeted primarily in late winter and early spring is that anglers are not required to record them on the license until April 1. In years past, when kings were rather prolific and fishermen didn’t want to waste the precious slots available on a small king, it was understandable. Now that one is lucky to catch any returning king of any size, these smaller fish are gaining attention throughout the season.

Meyer king salmon 5

SALMON FOR ALL

With the first fish barely in the fish box, it was Ruth’s turn, as her rod slammed down and she quickly had it to hand. “Throw that little guy back,” Ruth said. Ruth and Louis are consummate game and fish cooks and generously share with others, including the local homeless shelter in Anchorage, and they look for fish that will feed a family, not just themselves. “When the tide turns, the fish will get bigger,” said Shane, who is the most unobtrusive captain one could imagine.

They did. Looking for the secret formula for catching these kings, it quickly became evident there was no “secret.” Using the standard set-up for trolling – a small bait herring that had been toughened with salt brine – there seemed to be no magic involved. During the course of the day there were other boats near our boat, and each time a fish would come to hand the radio would announce some good-natured ribbing about catching all the fish.

As the sun rose over the Southeastern peaks, the fish continued to snatch the preferred herring presented, and all on board had fought at least one of these dime-bright spirited kings back to the boat.

Even the best of times on the water have lulls in the action. Being prepared to enjoy yourself during the breaks in action is critical to having a good day that will include around 12 hours on the water. There were no worries when you were with this group.

The midmorning entrée included Ruth’s delicious salmon dip, mountain goat summer sausage, waterfowl pepperoni and various Cajun concoctions that Louis dreams up, which never disappoint. Well-fed anglers are happy anglers.

PROS OUTWEIGH CONS

Saltwater fishing always comes accompanied with weather – good, bad, and sometimes ugly. No matter how good the weather is, there are always ground swells that may get to those who are prone to succumb to seasickness. Preparing for the worst is a constant in Alaska. Raingear, warm layers of clothing, rubber boots, a knit cap of some sort and wool gloves or ones that equally stay warm when wet should be the bare minimum. Typically, charter boats have some sort of heated cabin, but if you are going to catch a fish sooner or later, you have to get out in the elements.

There are never any guarantees in fishing, but it is a near mortal certainty that you’ll be coming home with fish, assuming you keep them with the intent to eat. The fish will be filleted and placed in plastic bags for you.

To preserve the fish in the best possible way until they are processed, you’ll want to have a decent-sized cooler for the trip from the dock to where will be processed.

You don’t want to have the good fortune of a really nice summer day and have to throw your fish in the back of a hot vehicle. Your charter operator can direct you to local fish processors who will often accommodate vacationers and those in a time crunch.

Nearing the end of the day, we had a boatload of kings, small halibut and some other odds and ends in the fish box. I still hadn’t figured out what Shane does that makes him so successful, but we had brought some 20-odd kings to hand during the course of the day, a remarkable achievement by anyone’s measure in the feeder king arena.

Matt was the holdout of the group; he had one king and was saving his remaining tag for a chance at a bigger fish. Shane took us to a spot just off the Homer Spit, where our lovely deckhand would fillet the fish while Matt continued to troll for his big kings.

Patience rewards, it seems, as Matt finally hooked the king he was hoping for and finished off the day in the best possible way. ASJ

 

Editor’s note: For more information on Shane Blakely’s Driftwood Charters, call (907) 235-8019 or go to driftwoodcharters.com.

 

Patriot Act: Get ASJ for one year at $17.76

An Alaskan celebrating Fourth of July. (SCOTT HAMMAN)
An Alaskan celebration of the Fourth of July. (SCOTT HAMMAN)

Our Steve Meyer is writing a story for our upcoming July edition of Alaska Sporting Journal about celebrating Fourth of July in Alaska. To get this story and others that depict the excitement and breathtaking outdoors scene in the Last Frontier, subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal for the patriotic price of $17.76 for 12 action-packed issues. The Founding Fathers approve of this price!

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Click here for more details.

Alaskan, Canadian Native Leaders Meet In Toronto

The Stikine River's large salmon run would be at risk if the proposed Canadian mine suffers an accident. (SAM BEEBE/WIKIMEDIA)

The Stikine River’s large salmon run would be at risk if the proposed Canadian mine suffers an accident. (SAM BEEBE/WIKIMEDIA)

Seabridge Gold, the Canadian mining company proposing a mine in British Columbia that could threaten wild salmon runs in both B.C. and Southeast Alaska, will be greeted by native leaders this week when it hosts its annual company meeting in Toronto this week.

From the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group:

British Columbia and Alaska indigenous leaders today are calling upon Seabridge Gold’s leadership and investors to prevent more disasters like Mount Polley. Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA)(NYSE:SA) is a junior mining company proposing what would be North America’s largest open pit mine near British Columbia’s northwest border with Alaska. The mine is located under an active glacier, as well as upstream from major salmon fishing waters and the Misty Fjords National Monument, a popular tourist destination.

“In the wake of the worst environmental disaster in Canadian history, Seabridge is still planning to use risky, discredited technology to store its mine waste.” said Annita McPhee of the Tahltan Nation. “We don’t need any more Mount Polleys. The Mount Polley disaster changes everything.”

Seabridge is facing increasing opposition to the proposed KSM mine sited at the headwaters of a key salmon fishery upon which indigenous peoples on both sides of the border rely on for subsistence. Seabridge proposes risky plans to:

  • Use outdated mine waste storage methods discredited by the Mount Polley disaster investigation.
  • Mine under an active glacier.
  • Manage and treat an unprecedented amounts of mine water, possibly forever (up to 20.8 billion gallons per year) that could still result in water pollution at the Alaska border – 24 km or 19 miles from the mine.

“We’ve come to Toronto to ask Seabridge whether it will publicly support an International Joint commission review,” said Frederick Olsen Jr., representing the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group, a coalition of thirteen southeast Alaska Tribes. He continued, “We’re deeply concerned about the unprecedented downstream risks to our people, who rely on the health of our rivers for their livelihoods. As with the Pebble Mine, the long-term risks outweigh the rewards.”

The State of Alaska and Alaska’s congressional delegation are calling for bilateral discussions and Alaska Tribes and the capital City of Juneau have requested a full International Joint Commission review to address transboundary water pollution issues.

US-based Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada and are also attending Seabridge’s shareholders meeting to support the call for an International Joint Commission review of the KSM mine proposal.

Earlier in June, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forecast a prolonged period of low metals prices, raising questions about the feasibility of large multi-billion mine projects to attract financing. A risk report on the proposed KSM mine, released last week, found that water treatment at the mine would constitute significant financial and operational risks, and the financial surety for the post-closure water treatment alone — not including reclamation of the mine site — would likely cost US$1 billion.

‘Hollywood Hunter’s’ Alaska Adventure

The following story appears in the June issue of Alaska Sporting Journal (photos courtesy of Freddy Harteis/The Hollywood Hunter)

 

Hollywood Hunter 4

By Chris Cocoles

Freddy Harteis, big game hunter with central Pennsylvania roots, couldn’t be more of a fish out of water than in his home base of Los Angeles, which is, as his hunting show states, “a place that isn’t too kind to hunters … Hollywood may not like what he does, but they will respect him.”

Harteis was more in his element when he filmed an episode of his Sportsman Channel TV show hunting bears in Southwest Alaska. But the California lifestyle is what Harteis chose after marrying Jeannie Mai, a Golden State native, makeup artist, fashion expert and cohost of a talk show targeted towards young women, The Real. The couple has settled in with the (mostly) gun-abhorring Los Angelinos.

His series, the cleverly titled Hollywood Hunter, chronicles his global adventures of chasing big game and depicts his conservation views. He assures the audience that just about all the meat from his harvested animals gets distributed to those in need.

“It’s not so much hunting, but the conservation behind it or the good behind it,” Harteis says of his fish-out-water existence in famously anti-hunting Hollywood.

He’s become a voice for hunting and conservation in his adopted hometown.

“L.A. is all about going organic. But most of them believe when you walk into a grocery store meat just comes from a grocery store … Believe it or not, a few generations ago everyone did what we are doing. So get off your high horse and accept the reality that this is the world we’ve come from.”

He fit right in when he went to Alaska and filled tags for black and brown bears.

“You hear a lot of places around the country and the world that they say are ‘God’s country.’ Well, I believe (Alaska’s) the ultimate,” says Harteis, who has hunted in Africa and throughout North America. “Just the freedom of wide-open space – and you have some of the biggest mountains in the world there. You see the eagles flying so free everywhere. And so much wildlife beyond belief – I couldn’t believe how many animals we saw in five days of hunting. Just an incredible place.”

Hollywood Hunter 1

AN ALASKA HUNT has always been on Harteis’ bucket list. He grew up in Harrisburg, Pa. His father, businessman Fred Harteis, was a also a hunter who made three bear pilgrimages to Alaska, finally harvesting a brown bear on his last trip (Fred passed away in June 2013). Freddy listened intently.

“He told me many, many stories about the terrain, the intensity, the wide-open wilderness. And really, specifically, he told me about brown bears,” Harteis says. “As I saw him go up to Alaska and hunt Kodiak Island and many other places, he would come back unsuccessful, yet so thrilled and excited to be out there in the middle of it.”

What really stuck out for an adrenaline-chaser like the younger Harteis was Dad’s tales of charging bears racing through the brush and how to stay safe in such a frantic scenario. The thought of such a visual – dangerous and all – was mesmerizing, so Hollywood’s hunter was obsessed with making it to Alaska.

An old high school buddy from Pennsylvania, Dave Kiser, moved to Alaska in 2005. He and his wife, Joni Kiser, own Full Curl Archery in Anchorage (907-344-2697;fullcurlarchery.com).

“They started talking to me about coming up there. As we started discussing the idea, I got more and more excited because, No. 1, I could connect with old-time friends; and No. 2, I knew I would be in good hands,” Harteis says.

The trio hunted with two guides in a secret location about an hour’s flight from Anchorage. Nonresidents were allowed to hunt brown bears in that zone for the first time, so it was a completely new experience for the guides, for Harteis and for the crew shooting footage for his show.

And given the setting and the unpredictable nature of bears in Alaska, it was a humbling experience.

“I think if we’re honest with ourselves, there is always fear and in the back of our minds the what-ifs?” Harteis says. “But as I prepare for trips that are very intense and dangerous, I try to prepare in a fashion that becomes instinct – to be able to shoot on instinct and think on instinct. To do the things so repetitively before I get there, the odds are in our favor to do the right things. But it’s healthy and good to have a little fear, because it’s a respect; fear keeps you on your toes.”

Hollywood Hunter

FRED HARTEIS TAUGHT Freddy a lot about hunting, dating back to their roots in rural Pennsylvania. The area around Harrisburg is full of outdoors enthusiasts, and as a boy Freddy carried a BB gun around the property and hunted plenty of deer and birds with his dad. The two made their first big trip to British Columbia when Freddy was 12, and after he graduated from Pennsylvania’s Clarion University, father and son went on a safari hunt to Africa. Harteis knew he wanted to be a professional hunter even with his business degree in hand and after starting his own networking business in Colorado.

When he met his future wife and eventually moved with Jeannie to Southern California, in 2007, it was time for a change.

“I realized if I was going to live in the city as a country boy who’s not belonging, then I was going to have to get back to doing something that I was passionate about,” Harteis says.

“One of the greatest things I’ve been taught is to chase my passion and not my pension. I thought this was the chance to build something and stand out in a culture and a city that doesn’t get it, and I’m tired of it not getting it. And I didn’t care if they were with me or not, but they’re going to have to respect the fact that I was going to stand out, which was kind of the vision for Hollywood Hunter.”

The show has taken him to various points on the map, and he spends whatever free time he can at Harteis Ranch (harteisranch.com), a lush forested Colorado property that hosts big game hunts for bull elk and mule deer.

Arriving in Alaska and embarking on a similar brown bear to his father’s adventure was an experience dripping with nostalgia. And the stories he’d heard were about to come in handy.

“One thing that (Fred) said rung in my head every day I was in Alaska: ‘One grizzly, one bear; one wounded grizzly, 10 bears.’ It was just the idea of being extra cautious,” says Harteis, who has tried to push the envelope when it comes to the hunts that appear on his program.

This excursion, hunting with guides who were more experienced chasing black bears and opting to use bows rather than high-powered rifles, was sure to test everyone’s skills and nerves.

“We knew it would be a challenge,” Harteis says. “We knew it would be intense; and we knew we would be up against elements that we’d never experienced.”

Hollywood Hunter 5

THE EPISODE PROFILING the hunt will air in the third week of July, and it was highlighted by what everyone who hunts or fishes tends to experience: expecting the unexpected.

Without spoiling too much, the black bear portion of the trip was particularly harrowing for Harteis, who injured his knee in a confrontation with a black bear that was more aggressive than anticipated. The pain has lingered to the point where Harteis will probably eventually go under the knife to fix the problem.

“I realized I let my guard down too much; I’ve hunted black bears a lot and have always thought they’re pretty docile and you can chase them away,” he says. “To see the one time that did not happen, I didn’t respect the intensity of a black bear and what it could be in its personality. So definitely the black bear encounter was one of the most memorable pieces of that hunt.”

It’s safe to say the overall experience and brush with the bruin – watch the episode when it airs for more details – “will probably save my life in the future, as I run into black bears,” Harteis says with a laugh.

Another lasting memory he’ll have is his persistence. The long hours of daylight allowed for long stretches waiting for bears to come within range of his bow. Toward the end of the hunt, someone wasn’t ready to go back yet with the brown bear tag remaining unfilled.

“At midnight, we had sat there for 12 hours, and my cameraman, ‘Thunderpants,’ and the guides were getting anxious,” Harteis says. “So I called him off and said, ‘Hey, boys, go ahead and leave the gun. I’ll stay and I’ll be here until tomorrow noon. Pick me up, because the floatplane is coming in at 1. My deal is, I can’t kill that bear if I’m not out here. So I need to maximize that opportunity,” he says. “They said, ‘You know what? You’re crazy, but we’ll stay.’ And about a half-hour later, that (brown) bear was standing beneath our tree.”

At that point in the trip, Harteis was tired, ailing from his knee injury, wondering if, like Dad, his elusive brown bear harvest wasn’t destined to happen on his first trip to Alaska.

More than once during his journeys around the globe, Harteis has been called obsessed with the sport he loves. Perhaps that’s the secret to his success.

“It almost gets personal to where I have to figure this out. It’s one of those things where you want it so bad and when your mind’s telling you no, you find it and stay anyway. It’s kind of in my DNA and one of those things that I grew up with,” he says.

“I didn’t realize as a hunter how it would have come full-circle and be a big part of why I do succeed in the field.”

With the clock ticking and his knee aching Harteis was in his tree stand, waiting for the brown bear it took Fred so much patience to finally put down; so Freddy turned spiritual.

“I said a little prayer to my dad and said, ‘Dad, if you could send a brown bear … I don’t need to kill it; just prove to me you’re listening.”

Fred Harteis would have been proud of Freddy’s big brown he bagged, despite some distressing moments.

“It definitely goes down as one of the top hunts that I’ll forever cherish,” he says. “And that’s because Alaska is so unique to its own. When you go to Alaska it’s not only views and not only wildlife; it’s just wild. It’s so free and untamed and uncharted. You just feel so small and so insignificant against such a massive wilderness.”

 

Harteis and his wife, talk show host Jeannie Mai

Harteis and his wife, talk show host Jeannie Mai

THERE ARE MYRIAD lands on earth Freddy Harteis hopes to hunt on someday. For a future episode of Hollywood Hunter that will be filmed later this year, he’ll head to South Africa to pursue lions. On the 2016 docket is water buffalo safari to Australia.

He wants to go back to Alaska and bring Jeannie along to share the Last Frontier with his wife. But any to-do list will be difficult to top this Alaska bear adventure, if for no other reason than it fulfilled Harteis’ dream of matching what it took Fred so long to accomplish: the conquest of a
brown bear.

Hunting Alaskan bears for the first time won’t soon leave the memory banks.

“One thing I learned from this hunt that I have not learned from any other hunt is that if you pay attention to other people’s stories,” Harteis says, surely thinking back to Fred’s tales of disappointment before finally metaphorically sipping from a Stanley Cup-like trophy brown bear victory.

“You take your life experiences alongside of others. You can walk into situations of hunting animals that you’d never hunted, and figure it out yourself. To see it all kind of work when things were not working, that’s rewarding.” ASJ

Editor’s note: New episodes of Hollywood Hunter will air later this summer on the Sportsman Channel on Sundays at 7 p.m. Pacific, Mondays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 12 a.m. Check out hollywoodhunter.com and follow Freddy Harteis on Twitter (@FreddyHarteis) and at Facebook.com/hollywoodhunter1.

 

Little Kid, Big Halibut!

A 10-year-old Boise girl hooked the halibut of a lifetime while fishing in Alaska last weekend.

And with a little help from “every hand on the ship” during the hour-long battle, Lily Cornish was able to bring her 333-pound, 84-inch barndoor of a halibut back to Ketchikan.

“It was the first bait down, then my pole was tugging,” she told a TV station in her hometown. “I started reeling it in and then my dad helped me. And then a big fish came out.”

LILY HORNISH AND HER FAMILY

LILY HORNISH AND HER DAD, BILL, BROTHER CARSON AND MOTHER ERIN CARVER AND THE WHALE OF A HALIBUT. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Her parents describe Lily as an avid angler.

“We flew to and from Alaska on Alaska Airlines for the weekend to fish,” mom Erin Carver emailed to Northwest Sportsman. “Lily loves to fish and couldn’t wait to fish in Alaska.”

The giant was caught while the family was fishing with Oasis Alaska Charters.

It was weighed on the Clover Pass Resort scale, which reportedly only goes up to 250 pounds, but using Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculations for an 84-incher, Lily’s halibut went just a hair under 333 pounds and provided 243 pounds of meat.

WITH ONE BIG FILLETING JOB AHEAD OF HER, LILY DIVES INTO THE MONSTER HALIBUT SHE HOOKED IN MID-JUNE.  (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

WITH ONE BIG FILLETING JOB AHEAD OF HER, LILY DIVES INTO THE MONSTER HALIBUT SHE HOOKED IN MID-JUNE. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Lampreys Falling From The Sky In Fairbanks?

Photo courtesy of ADFG Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of ADFG Facebook page.

In a moment that fans of SyFy Channel’s strangely successful franchise, Sharknado, will surely celebrate, weird creatures appear to be falling out of the sky in Fairbanks. So are these lampreys signs of the beginning of the end? The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a rational explanation:

From ADFG’s Facebook page:

This past week the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), in Fairbanks, received calls about arctic lamprey found in strange locations. The local Value Village store found a live lamprey in their parking lot and placed it in a bucket of water. Another resident called and said he found one on his lawn! 4 lamprey were found on land so far. How is this happening? 

The answer is probably gulls. Gulls are picking them out of the Chena River with their bills and then dropping the squirming critters while in flight.

Phew. Crisis averted. Sharknado 3 is heading straight to cable TV later this year.

BOG Upholds Spotting Ban For Sheep

Photo by Tom Reale

Photo by Tom Reale

 

This news is a couple days old, but sheep hunters who relied on aerial spotting will not have that luxury, the Alaska Board of Game confirmed.

From the Alaska Dispatch:

At a town hall meeting with the board earlier this year, Mike Meekin, owner of Meekin’s Air Service in Sutton, emphasized the importance of giving state biologists the chance to figure out what’s causing sheep populations to decline.

“It seems to me this is about sheep, not so much allocation. We just don’t have the sheep,” Meekin said. “I’ve been in valleys (where) 40 years ago, guys, there was 100 ewes and lambs. Now there’s nothing.”

 Rough Fish and Game estimates show the Dall sheep population dropped from almost 57,000 in 1990 to about 45,000 in 2010. Biologists blame declines in part on warmer weather dumping wet snow on coastal mountains, covering forage, setting up the potential for icing or avalanches and forcing sheep to struggle for food on normally windblown mountain ridges. Many hunters say predation is a problem.

Of about 90 comments received before this week’s special meeting, about 20 favored the ban and most of the rest opposed it, Probasco said before the vote.