If you have been following my blog, you know that the first animal that I harvested in Alaska was a mountain goat. After that I was hooked on hunting the rugged but gorgeous mountains of Alaska for both goat and sheep. I went on more goat than sheep hunts and before I started guiding, my friends and I had taken a total of 28 goats all in the Kenai Mountains.
In the fall of ’83, I worked for Rich Guthrie both in the Brooks Range guiding sheep, moose and caribou hunters and on the Alaska Peninsula guiding both caribou and brown bear hunters. When I was in the Brooks, Rich asked me how much experience I had with small boats. I told him that small boats were about all that I had experience with. I told him about using Folboats and a couple of small inflatables in rivers, lakes and even the ocean. He said that was great because he had bought a 15’ Grumman Freighter square stern canoe that he needed to get from Cold Bay to the Joshua Green River.
I have added a new photo page to the blog titled AAA Outfitters Guides and Packers to highlight the many outstanding guides and packers that worked for us over the years. They are mainly the ones before my retirement. Also, AAA’s marketing video is back on the blog so if you haven’t watched it you may find it interesting. Hope you enjoy the story, video and photos of our staff.
When Brent and I formed AAA Alaskan Outfitters we had more combined sheep hunting experience than any other guide operation in Alaska. Pair that with our newly acquired Wrangell Mountain sheep area and we had just the right recipe for success. During our first season Brent and I were 100% successful guiding six sheep hunters with the first two hunters taking a 40 ¼” and a 39 incher. We had an overall average of 38”. Over the next twenty-one years we harvested 106 rams with an average horn length of 37”. Fourteen of those rams were over 40” and another thirteen over 39” which was just a little over 25% of our rams. There was no other guide operation in Alaska with a record like that. I doubt if anyone nowadays could take an average of 5 rams and have a 37” average horn length.
While I was partner with AAA Alaskan Outfitters, I am grateful to say that we never had any accidents or illnesses that kept us from fulfilling our responsibilities of being physically in the field while we had clients under contract. Being in the field when you have clients under contract is a State requirement. We were responsible for supervising all of our guides, both Assistant and Registered. I was always concerned about something like that happening.
The Alaska Peninsula had a large population of big bull moose during the late 60’s and early 70’s. I had been told by an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist that that country was marginal moose habitat so the population was very cyclical. I always wanted to go moose hunting in that country because of the big moose but felt it was just too expensive to get the moose meat back to Anchorage. Plus, I enjoyed caribou hunting way more than moose so my buddies and I always chose hunting them. We had three or four successful caribou hunts before I rotated to the Lower 48 the summer of ’74. That fall a couple of airmen who had worked for me went on a moose hunt on the Peninsula. They had a great hunt taking two moose over 65 inches.
As hunters we all have our favorite spots where we have taken some of our biggest or best trophies. Some just call it their secret spot while others may call it “the honey hole” or by some other name. Guides have their favorites also and in AAA’s early days our “honey hole” for big brown bears was Barney Creek, a small alder filled valley with a southern exposure in our Cold Bay area. The valley was almost four miles long but we never killed or stalked a bear in the last mile of it. We did take quite a few bears on the north entrance to the valley. It was mainly a breeding or hook-up valley. We only hunted it in the spring and during eight springs, we harvested eleven bears over 9’ with seven of those over 10’ and one 11 footer. We also know of a King Cove resident who took his brother to this valley and they harvested two bears over 10’during that same time period. Now that’s what I call a “honey hole.”
Back when I was an Alaskan resident hunter I always wondered how guides thought they owned all of the land especially in most of the areas I hunted and particularly on the Alaska Peninsula. When I became a guide I found out that they actually didn’t own any land except maybe the land their base camp was on.
This is my last story for 2018. It has been a great year and I want to thank all of my subscribers for their support and to remind them if they enjoy the site please share with your friends. This coming year I will only be writing one story per month. Thanks again. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Around this time every year hundreds of thousands of hunters take to the woods in pursuit of a trophy whitetail buck. Some hunters travel many miles for their hunt while others hunt in their backyard. Whitetail deer are the most abundant and most hunted hoofed animals in North America. Big bucks are very smart which makes them a very challenging adversary. I have limited experience but have been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to take a couple of trophy bucks. Hope you enjoy.
I have always loved caribou hunting. Those magnificent trophy bulls are some of the most regal looking antlered animals I have ever seen, each having their own unique set of antlers. Before I started guiding I had already honed my skills on judging trophy caribou, a must for a hunting guide.