Here are snippets from some of our favorite stories of 2018:
JANUARY: FOR THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE
“There is so much honor and excitement pulling on the Team USA uniform. It is so much more than I ever dreamed. I love how suddenly, you become teammates with your entire country.” -Alaska transplant, outdoorswoman and PyeongChang Winter Olympian cross-country skier Sadie Bjornsen.
FEBRUARY: BE CAREFUL IN ALASKA
“Would I trade these experiences for not? No, I wouldn’t, they are part of who I am and if not for them I wouldn’t have learned the things I needed to know in order to survive here in the Arctic. I still don’t know everything and even if I did you never know what lies around the next corner or through the trees or down the river.” -correspondent Paul Atkins on Arctic mishaps in the field.
MARCH: WATERFOWLING NIRVANA
“But it was the undulating strings of black brant – flock after flock spread across miles of water – that we all yearned to see. And see it we did. Thousands of brant were observed on every hunt, which meant that filling limits was not difficult.” -Field to Fire columnist Scott Haugen on hunting Izembek Lagoon.
APRIL: SHEDDING CLOTHES FOR THE CAUSE
“Emotionally, I think I was definitely up to the challenge, just because I have these good survival skills already. And to be able to take them on the show and be able to use them, that was very cool.” -Anchorage resident and Army National Guard veteran LeAnn Duncan on appearing on Discovery Channel’s survival show Naked and Afraid.
MAY: STEELHEAD ANGLERS ARE A RARE BREED
“In reality, there are no rules set in stone when it comes to steelheading; just some general guidelines that are a good starting point. Until people discover a way to communicate with the fish, opinions will be purely based on speculation, which gives anglers the chance to participate in some spirited debates.” -Writer Tony Ensalaco on his fishing passion for steelies.
JUNE: HAVE A PASSION FOR SALMON
“She took off downstream and I had to follow, but after a brave struggle, she beached herself at my feet. She then began to writhe and roll with tremendous power, fouling my leader and bending my fly into a useless piece of wire.” -Excerpt from David Zoby’s book, Fish Like You Mean It.
JULY: FAMILY TIME MATTERS
“Getting your kids outside and experiencing the great outdoors with what Alaska has to offer, no matter where you live in the state, is priceless. Time flies, so do it now and as much as possible, because before you know it they’ll be out the door to college or a career and doing their own thing.” -Atkins on the sentimental takeaways from a fishing trip with his son Eli
AUGUST: TAKE FLIGHT IN ALASKA
“We now spend every nice day in the air since we bought an almost identical Cessna 172 from a friend of ours. My landings are near perfect and the Kenai Peninsula’s collection of short, gravel runways make for an excellent introduction into bush flying.” -Correspondent Krystin McClure on learning to fly along with her husband, Bixler.
SEPTEMBER: KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE
“Trust is at the core of the hunting buddy. Trust first that the buddy is in shape enough mentally and physically to execute the hunt. I know that the dudes I hunt with can keep it together because they have proven to take it seriously.” -Jeff Lund on the importance of who you’re hunting with.
OCTOBER: THIS STATE IS TRULY THE WILD
“I’ve always said that what Alaska offers is, there are a million ways to live and a million ways to die, and they’re all in Alaska.” -Country music singer Gary Morris, who’s fished and hunted in the Last Frontier often.
NOVEMBER: BEARS CAN SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU
“Once more I mustered what saliva my suddenly parched mouth possessed and with every last bit of breath belted out, “Grizzly!” This time my cry rang out like a beacon and froze both men and bear in their tracks – no more than 30 yards apart.” -Idaho sportsman Larry Hatter on a terrifying bear encounter while hunting caribou on the North Slope.
DECEMBER: LAND WORTH PROTECTING
“We love these places for the opportunities they provide us. But I think what’s really important to remember is that what we have in Alaska is very unique, not only in the U.S. but globally.” -Kenai National National Wildlife Refuge manager Andy Loranger on the importance of protected public land and what they offer.