After two years of hunting in Alaska I had taken two sheep, two goats, two caribou, a moose and a black bear. Not bad for a beginner. All I needed now was a grizzly or a brown bear. When I received my assignment to Alaska the only animal I knew I wanted to hunt was the grizzly. I had read in various books and magazines that the grizzly was mean and caution was paramount while hunting in Alaska because those bad boys were out to get you. However, after two years of hunting in numerous areas I hadn’t even seen one. In talking to many hunters, taxidermists and biologists I decided that I would rather have a big 8’ to 10’ brown bear than a mean 6’ to 8’ grizzly.
This story would not happen in today’s world and I for sure would not have had to walk out. The Satellite phone has changed everything about what could be an emergency. I worked for four different guides in 1983 and none had radio or telephone communications. All of these guides are still in business today and wouldn’t even think about not having a Satellite phone. Most have multiple phones. Single sideband radios were the only option back then. Many times the signals were not very good and in some areas no signal at all.
After my being involved in this particular incident, Brent and I made sure that we had some type of communication for AAA Alaska Outfitters. We purchased a portable single sideband radio from Surveyors Exchange in Anchorage. Like I said, some days the signals were so bad you couldn’t use it but that usually didn’t last but a day or so. It was better than nothing!
As soon as Satellite phones came out we purchased one. It weighed 28 pounds and cost $4,200. They charged us $2 a minute but it was a great feeling when I landed my cub at camp and could call Karen to let her know that I had made it. If you ever stop by Surveyors Exchange in Anchorage ask Antonio to show you that big phone. He still has it there. I personally think Surveyors Exchange is one of the best places to rent or buy a Satellite phone in Anchorage.
Hope you enjoy my first guiding experience.