number 2 for 2011

Took a long lost friend Charlie with me hunting on Fri. Charlie was the best man at our wedding and moved to Juneau years ago, but until I returned to work for the state, I rarely saw him as he lived on the other side of town.

The trip started out poorly. I have few outboard issues, really. But Charlie seems to be with me whenever they arise. The outboard started right up, and we idled out to let it warm up. We accelerated for maybe a minute, and the engine sputtered an shut down. I could tell from the fuel bulb that there was a fuel problem. It looked like the water/fuel separator filter was clogged and maybe water in the fuel line as it felt like slush in the squeeze bulb.

We were not far from shore, but the wind was making a chop. I started the kicker outboard, which started on the second or third pull, but it, too soon died. I ended up taking off the line to the kicker, which had no filter, and put it on the big outboard, after first cutting off the fuel connection to the kicker line and putting on the connector to the big motor.

This solved the problem, and we continued on as I knew I just bought the fuel in the fuel cans. This may or may not have been smart, as there may have been water right from the pump, but the motor did not give us any more issues, as it turned out.

It was pretty windy in Stephens Passage, but it was the first snow on the ground. We could sneak down the back of the island in reasonable seas. I told Charlie when we got to the middle part of the island, either we’d be able to anchor or we wouldn’t, depending on if it was too rough or not. When we got down there, we found one spot that was in the lee of the wind. We dropped the gear, and I took the boat offshore, dropped the anchor, and tied one end of a roll of line to the anchor, and would tie the other end to a tree above tide line so we could just pull in the anchor when we got done hunting. I paddled back to the beach, and we got our guns and gear ready. We saw a big aluminum boat come by and he ended up going by us, did not find anywhere to anchor, and he turned back. We were lucky we were the first one to this, the only good anchorage for the day.

We headed up in the new snow and soon saw tracks – the deer had moved towards the beach as expected, to get out of the wind and out of deeper snow higher up, with access to kelp to eat on the beach. We moved and called, moved and called. I decided to let Charlie call, so I moved infront of him about 30 yards. I could barely hear his 2 series of calls because of the wind and his soft call. After a short time, I let loose with my louder call. I looked back and saw what I like to see- my partner aiming his gun. A boom, and then a follow up shot. Charlie didn’t move like he’d missed, so I knew we had a deer.

It was a large doe. We dressed the deer, put in the GPS coordinate, hung it to cool, and kept hunting. Interestingly, Matt got a deer at about the same elevation, on the other side of a large creek, from where we got this one. We continued climbing but saw no sign, so side-hilled, came down and back to Charlie’s deer. We didn’t see anymore.

We cut off the lower limbs and head, and tied the carcass whole to my Bull Pac, which has turned out to be a great pack. I was able to carry the deer quite easily once I was standing erect, and we made it down to the beach and back home without incident. It was great to spend the day with a long time friend and even better he got a deer.

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

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