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Old November 18, 2012, 02:03 AM   #1
Chowder
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Join Date: July 3, 2012
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First time Hunter

After living in Alaska for 3 years I finally got myself motivated to to go hunting. I have been wanting to try my hand at hunting since I was a kid growing up in the city but was always either too busy or didn't have someone to show me the ropes and was worried to go out on my own. I had the day off from work, the hunting regulations book and a map so I said enough waiting ill do it myself. I took my recently restored Marlin model 81DL with factory peep sights and went out for some small game. I spent last week tweaking the rifle to make sure it was reliable and practiced enough to shoot out the bulls eye at 25 yards so I was very happy with the rifle.

My main goal was rabbit and thanks to searching a lot of older threads on TFL I think i had a decent strategy down. I found areas of fallen trees and brush and would walk a little bit then pause and look around all the low lying areas and slowly work my way along in that fashion. I did this for about an hour when I had my first encounter. I went to step over a fallen tree and a hare (I think it was a hare and not a snowshoe) Sprinted out from almost under my feet. My first reaction as a city slicker for the first 27 years of my life was to have a small heart attack not knowing what the heck just started making noise unto my feet haha. I saw the hare sprint about 20 yards ahead and I made my way around where I could get a view of it again behind a tree. I had his head and top part of its shoulders in view so I aimed and pulled the trigger... nothing, Safety on... Noob alert. I switched the safety off made a bit to much noise and he was off like a... well like a rabbit, never to be seen again .

Shortly after, I was rather disappointed in myself and a bit tired from getting through some thick brush, and I hear a clumsy sounding flapping above my head. I look up and a ruffed grouse flies right over my head about 20 yards and plops down on a stump. I had a branch at chest height in front of me for the perfect rifle rest. I held my front sight right at the base of its neck. This time I switched off the safety, was a bit more patient and squeezed the trigger. The grouse flopped to the ground flapped for about 3 seconds then stopped. I hit it dead center in the neck almost taking its head off.

I didn't get the rabbit I was hoping for but I cant describe how stoked I was to get something on my first trip. Even though it was just a rather lazy looking bird, it was a rush pulling the trigger and knowing that rifle that's 3 times my age with no fancy optics put the bullet exactly where I wanted, when I needed it too. Not to mention the immense sense of peace in the woods when I am trying to blend in to my surroundings.

Well I have rambled about my first trip enough so here is a pic of my first kill .



I have not posted a whole lot on this forum but I have read and learned quite a bit from everyone on here so I would like to thank everyone for all the great information and motivating hunting stories for getting me my first successful hunt.
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Old November 18, 2012, 04:03 AM   #2
alex0535
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If your going for rabbit, its made easier with a bit of help.

You have one person ready to shoot while the other goes trampling through the brush. That way the person in all the brush doesn't have to worry about tripping over stuff with a loaded gun in their hands and they can point one out if they see it. The person standing nearby can get the rabbit when it runs away from the other person.

If you have never field dressed anything before, don't know how grouse is to eat or if you dressed it. Birds are not the easiest thing to get ready for the kitchen. If you get a rabbit, they are one of the easiest animals to skin that you could shoot. Litterally the sort of easy that doesn't require a knife. pull around the bullet wound so that the skin pulls away from muscle, they come out of their skin pretty easy. Your alaskan rabbits might be a bit more hardcore than our cottontails though.
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:03 AM   #3
12GaugeShuggoth
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Quote:
My first reaction as a city slicker for the first 27 years of my life was to have a small heart attack not knowing what the heck just started making noise unto my feet haha.
This gave me a big smile, and is one of my favorite things about hunting. Sounds like you had a good time, it's never too late to start. Make sure you eat what you kill
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:09 AM   #4
Art Eatman
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One thing you can do to make yourself a better hunter is to spend time in the boonies, just looking. Don't need a gun. Camera, maybe. Maybe a book to read.

Early morning, from just before daylight until not too long after sunup. Late afternoon, the last couple of hours before dark. Just find some comfortable spot to sit and just watch the world. (Carry a pad on which to sit so your fanny doesn't learn about rocks and twigs.)

Sometimes watch a woods trail. Sometimes sit where you can watch along a stream of some sort, or a pond. Sometimes sit where you can watch an open area, watching along its edges.

Boonies walking is not like city sidewalks. Flick a glance ahead to check the path and then look around while you take two or three steps. Maybe a very brief pause while you again glance ahead before the next two or three steps. You don't make a disturbing rhythm nor make a lot of noise. Critters don't march nor are they very noisy.

My patience quotient is not really good for just sitting, which is why I take a book with me. I've trained myself to not get absorbed in it. Read a few lines and then look around. That way, I spend a lot more time looking than reading, but I can sit motionless for lengthy periods.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:04 AM   #5
alex0535
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Have you thought about going after caribou? I know that its a big jump from a grouse, but I would want to take a caribou. I hear that the meat is very tasty, and that you can take 100 or more lbs of meat from a single animal. Nothing better than locally harvested, free range organic meat.
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Old November 18, 2012, 04:16 PM   #6
Chowder
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Quote:
You have one person ready to shoot while the other goes trampling through the brush. That way the person in all the brush doesn't have to worry about tripping over stuff with a loaded gun in their hands and they can point one out if they see it. The person standing nearby can get the rabbit when it runs away from the other person.

If you have never field dressed anything before, don't know how grouse is to eat or if you dressed it.
I have thought about bringing another person and ideally that is what I will do. Unfortunately with my ever changing work schedule having the same days off as my friends is rare. But when the opportunity arises that is how I will be doing it.

I talked to a few more experienced hunters and was told to step on the wings and pull up the feet to dress the bird. I used that method and the wings and breast were left at my feat and everything else came off with the legs. I clipped the wings and was pretty much done I was surprised at how easy it was. Thanks for the tips for dressing the rabbit I will definitely try it that way when I get one.

Quote:
This gave me a big smile, and is one of my favorite things about hunting. Sounds like you had a good time, it's never too late to start. Make sure you eat what you kill
It will be eaten tonight .

Quote:
Boonies walking is not like city sidewalks. Flick a glance ahead to check the path and then look around while you take two or three steps. Maybe a very brief pause while you again glance ahead before the next two or three steps. You don't make a disturbing rhythm nor make a lot of noise. Critters don't march nor are they very noisy.
You are absolutely correct about the noise. I never knew how loud I was until I was trying to be quiet. I was even getting a little annoyed at how loud my Gortex jacket was when I moved slightly.

Quote:
My patience quotient is not really good for just sitting, which is why I take a book with me. I've trained myself to not get absorbed in it. Read a few lines and then look around. That way, I spend a lot more time looking than reading, but I can sit motionless for lengthy periods.
That sounds like a great idea. I have a tendency to get very engrossed in books but a crossword puzzle or something like that would be a great way to pass time while minding my surroundings.

Quote:
Have you thought about going after caribou? I know that its a big jump from a grouse, but I would want to take a caribou. I hear that the meat is very tasty, and that you can take 100 or more lbs of meat from a single animal. Nothing better than locally harvested, free range organic meat.
Caribou is my goal this year. I had some caribou burgers and summer sausage earlier in the year and it was delicious. I have thought about moose also but caribou seems like a better goal because a moose would just be too much meat for me haha.
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Old November 18, 2012, 05:55 PM   #7
big al hunter
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Congratulations on your first kill ! I can't count the number of times I have been startled by a grouse or rabbit popping out from under my feet, and I have spent many days afield every year for 20+ years. That oh **** feeling doesn't go away. Its part of the excitement for me. I look forward to hearing about more of your hunts keep us posted.
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Old November 18, 2012, 07:53 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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Wool clothing is about the quietest. No "weep, weep" when brushing past small limbs or weeds. And, even when wet, it holds warmth--where cotton does not.
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:12 PM   #9
kraigwy
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Caribou is my goal this year. I had some caribou burgers and summer sausage earlier in the year and it was delicious. I have thought about moose also but caribou seems like a better goal because a moose would just be too much meat for me haha.
As a brand new hunter I would highly recommend AGAINST tackling moose or caribou on your own.

Page down a bit and read the other post about Caribou and Moose hunting in Alaska, read all the post.

I spent 22 years in Alaska leaving in '94. Its not like it use to be by a long shot. Both caribou and moose require getting off the beaten path. You don't want to do that without having someone more experienced with you.

If you want rabits, wait until there is fresh snow, then drive up to the Knick River Bridge. Walk the wooded area looking for fresh tracks. Follow the tracks and they'll take you to the rabits. Rabits should be white about now. Stay away from the rivers, the overflows will kill you.

The University of Alaska Anchorage use to have a survival class. Check that out. A couple hours a week. Remember Anchorage ISN'T Alaska.

Find a mentor.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:17 PM   #10
Chowder
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Quote:
As a brand new hunter I would highly recommend AGAINST tackling moose or caribou on your own.

Page down a bit and read the other post about Caribou and Moose hunting in Alaska, read all the post.

I spent 22 years in Alaska leaving in '94. Its not like it use to be by a long shot. Both caribou and moose require getting off the beaten path. You don't want to do that without having someone more experienced with you.
Hunting Caribou is my end goal and I plan on going with other people after I spend more time small game hunting, most likely next year. I am not too worried about getting off the beaten path, I am new to hunting but not to long kikes in rough terrain. But I agree with you safety in numbers is the best way of staying out of trouble and don't plan on going very far without others. I have learned quickly up here that being with others is the best bet weather smowmachining, 4 wheeling, or hiking. Overconfidence will kill very fast in alaska so I always try to be cautious.

Quote:
If you want rabits, wait until there is fresh snow, then drive up to the Knick River Bridge. Walk the wooded area looking for fresh tracks. Follow the tracks and they'll take you to the rabits. Rabits should be white about now. Stay away from the rivers, the overflows will kill you.
The knick river was the first spot I tried to go the other day. I have been hiking on the trails there a few times and thought it would be a great place. Everywhere I tried to get into the woods I found no trespassing signs or i thought I was too close to the hiking trails. Since you have a lot of hunting experience up here I will have to take a drive on a day I'm not planning on hunting and check out the area more closely. I think I was too impatient with finding the right spot and left the area worrying about losing daylight. I ended up near Eklutna lake. I would love to hear any other spots that might be good to check out and I don't mind getting up early to go for a bit of a drive, although I understand people don't like to give they're secret spots away haha.

Very good advice about the river, I have a very healthy dose of fear about rivers so thankfully that keeps me away from them. I went dip netting In the copper river and was getting made fun for tying myself to a tree and barely getting my shins in the water. I think the power of that river was a wake-up call that Alaska is like no where I have ever been before.

Quote:
The University of Alaska Anchorage use to have a survival class. Check that out. A couple hours a week. Remember Anchorage ISN'T Alaska.
I will have to check that out thanks. I have had SERE training but that was a long time ago and no such thing as too much education, especially when it comes to information that can save your life.

Quote:
Find a mentor.
Working on this one. Having a good teacher is the best tool one can have. I don't personally know many hunters so In the end I might save up and go on a guided hunt.
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Old November 18, 2012, 11:27 PM   #11
kraigwy
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Not sure I can help you much regarding areas around Anchorage. Most of my Arctic Trecks was on the Berring Sea, Nome area and north of Nome.

I did spend my first two years in Alaska living in a little 12 X 18 cabin in Lignite (3 miles north of Healy on the Nenana River). Fact is the first two winters I was laid off and fed my family mostly on rabbits and ptarmagin.

I think you're gonna have to go north a bit, up around Huston, or maybe around Turnagan Pass, but I heard that place is over run with snowgos.

Like I said, I left there in '94, things have change from what I've heard.
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:07 AM   #12
Chowder
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I think you're gonna have to go north a bit, up around Huston, or maybe around Turnagan Pass, but I heard that place is over run with snowgos.
Seems like everywhere is overrun with snowmobiles around here so it might be a little easier to get away from people up north.
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