Deer on the beach

Sara is having hip surgery on Thurs, so I’ve been trying to get out deer hunting since I returned from Prudhoe as it might be awhile before I can go again.  The weather here has been pouring rain and wind.  I finally took off on Monday about mid-day to hunt Tue and maybe Wed.

It rained all day and till about midnight on Monday.  Tue was nice, with a higher ceiling, some blue sky and no rain or wind.  I drank my coffee, cleaned the dishes, and headed out of the cabin.  When I got to my spot on Admiralty, I anchored the boat off shore.  Once in the woods, I thought I’d better try my deer call before I headed up the hill.  My call was a home made job with a flagging tape reed.  When I first tried, the call was garbled, so I adjusted the tension on the reed.  I tried several tensions until I got a tone that would work.  I shouldered my pack, took about 10 steps, and saw a flash of white.  I’d called in a deer while practicing.

I saw the deer go on the opposite side of the small creek that drains some beaver ponds, but didn’t see it go up the hill.  I noticed from the wind direction it shouldn’t have winded me, so I softly called, and tried changing positions from side to side and squatting to see if I could see if the deer had just run a few bounds then held to see what I was.

As I was scanning the small flat between the creek and the start of the hill, I locked on to the deer standing stone still, broadside, looking at me.  I dropped to one knee for a prone shot.  I cranked up the scope from 3 to 9.  I was having a hard time holding on him, but uncharacteristically told myself to calm down, breath slowly, and just get a good bead on him, since the deer didn’t look like it was going anywhere.  I got my breath, a steady enough aim, and knocked it down for good with one shot.

As I might be coming back this same way on my way out, I thought I’d better take the deer out by the beach to dress it since I’d have a better view if a bear showed up later. I dressed the deer, pulled back in the skiff, put the deer in with the belly down to drain, re-set the skiff, then back up the hill.

I didn’t see any more deer that day. I did find sign of a large buck at the base of the ridge – a 2 foot rub on a large alder that still showed the saw dust. Would like to see that deer some time.

When I got out of the woods, I debated whether to go home or back to the cabin and come in tomorrow. The weather was nice, and I thought Sara would have less to worry about if I came in yesterday, so that’s what I did.

I pawned the heart off on Ranger Dug, who is in from Bethel. Ron told me to save the liver for our mechanic, which I also did. Lungs will go for trapping bait.

Might be my only deer this year, so glad to get out and a good story to go with it.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK  99801