Southern Southeast Alaska deer hunt 2013

Down to the inlaws deer hunting in southern Southeast Alaska.  First day I got in we went on a hunt from the road, driving to an area and hiking into the higher country there.  Saw no deer.   On day 2, we went to my favorite place here.  I hunted alone up the hill, and went in further to the left and higher than I had before.  The area is sort of half clear cut and half uncut.  When I worked my way towards the uncut area and needed to cross a creek, I looked down into what was essentially a canyon.  Nearly sheer sides down and back up the other.   So, I kept climbing.  When I neared the crest, I’d been following along on what looked like fresh tracks, and then I bumped into what looked like a big doe. I could not call the deer back.  I kept going up the hill and found a place to cross that wasn’t so steep.  I climbed down to the creek, crossed, and was clawing my way up the other side when I look up and see a yearling deer, sort of splayed, looking directly at me in the trail I was on.  I looked to see if it had any antlers – which would have been just buttons – and it did not. Would have had to think twice about taking a small deer this far from the beach.   I side-hilled in some pretty open woods with lots of deadfalls.  Nice for hunting.  I set up on a good spot and started calling.  I saw a deer come up that might have been a small buck, but didn’t get a good look at it as it went behind a deadfall below me.  Looked like it was coming up the hill to me, but held up and came no further.  Already seen 3 deer so already a good day. I was supposed to get to the pick up spot at 2 pm, so started to work my way  down.  I knew there were some muskegs between me and the old logging road I’d take to the beach, and we’d taken deer there before.  It was a sunny day and I was not in a big hurry.  I sat in the first muskeg and called and ate lunch.  The muskeg was kind of one big muskeg with a few tree breaks here and there.  I continued down hill after lunch, and called again.  After about the 6th series of bleat calls I saw movement I instinctively knew was a deer in the ground cedar.  First I saw the movement, then the deer, which had had its nose to the ground, put his head up.  And it was a nice buck.  The rack continued moving about 20 yards away through the cedar until it came out into the grass.  The I clicked off the safety, and the deer stopped for a second.  A shot to the neck and it was a quick kill.  Then the fun ended. After dressing the deer, I tried to tie the deer whole to my pack, but after 100 yards, that was not gonna work.  The deer was a very large bodied-deer like the one in Afognak, so I untied the deer and got ready to butcher.  I cut up the deer and put it in my pack, leaving the hide with head behind.  When I shouldered the pack, it was not much lighter but the load was centered and I soldiered on down the hill.  I found I was only about 1/4 mile from the road, and it was a relief to get there, but still maybe a mile to the pick-up site. The old road had several gullies where creeks ran that had once had bridges, so these were a challenge, but not too bad.  I was already going to be 1.5 hours late for the original pick up, but when I called about 2pm to say I was going to be late, my sister in law told me her daughter’s boyfriend had left his cell phone up on the mountain they were hunting on and had gone back to get it. So the boat came for me just as I was walking down the creek and climbing over a couple deadfalls in the creek, right on time.   Turns out the boyfriend had an iphone, and my sister in law called here Apple expert, who used an app to find the phone with a satellite image.  Unbelievable.  I’m not much enthused about having a cell phone along other than for communication, but people like to be “connected”.  All the time.  I do to, but it’s not the same connection, I guess. I was wiped out that night and my brother in law said the kindest words he’s ever said to me – we’re gonna cut meat tomorrow to catch up so not hunt tomorrow.  Music to my ears.  The boyfriend and his buddy came in the day before I did, and had taken 3 deer.  So those deer plus 2 others the inlaws took the previous week were still in the shed hanging, and so we needed to cut meat to make room for more deer.  Since my deer was already quartered, I butchered it the rest of the way and packaged it. On day 4, we went to one of the most southerly places in the state where I’d never been before and never would go if I wasn’t so lucky to marry in to this family.  We hunted for deer along the beaches on the way there, then hunted the bay.  I was dropped off alone at a spot I picked out, where a spine went up from a point, up the mountain.  I figured I could hunt up the spine and come off on one side and back down.  The plan never got that far.  I walked in about 200 yards, and found a nice perch that was between 2 or 3 creeks.  After learning on Day 2 that deer were near the beach – plus seeing deer on the actual beach – I felt this was a great spot for bucks looking for does.  I called and called.  I saw a flash about 20 yards away up the trail to my left. First saw the head, then the rack.  Shot the deer at about 10 yards.  I had trouble finding him in my scope at first, and the shot was high in the neck, so I had to take a second shot while the deer was on the ground.  I then got to work to butcher the deer.  I thought there would be more deer around, so I went to reload and discovered I’d left my bullets on the boat.  I only had one shell left.  So, I field dressed the deer, put it up on a deadfall with the cavity open to cool, marked it with my GPS and put some flagging tape on a tree limb to mark it. I moved about 200 yards side hill, crossing 2 creeks.  I came to a great place that was the junction of 2 or 3 creeks again.  I just knew a would call in another deer, and knew it had to be a good shot – no rushed shots, no matter how big the deer, because if we had to track a wounded deer that I couldn’t kill because I was out of ammo, we’d have to spend the night because we were so far from town.  I called about 3 series, and a deer came up from one of the little creeks, right where I thought it should.  I saw it’s head, then rack, and it presented a perfect broadside shot.  One shot in the neck and that was it.  I dressed the deer, and drug it down the creek leading to the beach, then across the beach to my pick up spot.  From there it was the 200 yards back up to the first deer, and when I got it to the beach, I had 10 minutes to pickup time.  Of course, that turned into a half hour or 45 minute wait, but it was sunny and calm, so I cleaned up my gun, washed the hearts and liver in saltwater, and enjoyed the day.  I don’t like liver but a mechanic does, and we’ve been taking them to him for years.  I rarely need him, but when I have, he doesn’t forget.  I don’t think he hunts, and he is also originally from a country the US loves to hate, so that makes it even more satisfying. Today I was dropped not far from town in a place I’d not hunted before.  While I was getting the GPS location of the drop off site after the boat left, another boat came in intending to hunt where I was.  Since I knew they didn’t know I’d been dropped off I stood out on the beach until they finally saw me.  Turns out it was the man who got me my job on the north slope, and a close friend of my inlaws.  It was about a 15 minute hike gradually up hill, and the last 50 yards almost straight uphill, to a large muskeg.  I hunted on my way up, calling in a few spots, then called in a few spots in the huge muskeg.  I planned to hike down to lower ground and work my way back to my pick up spot when I realized that the muskeg was guarded by a cliff for most of it’s edge.  At one point, I tried climbing down and slipped and nearly poked my eyeball on a smaller dead tree stump.  I was able to shut my eye in the nick of time and so bruised the outside of my eyelid and cut my cheek below my eye but my vision and eyeball seem okay.  Never saw a deer all day.   My brother in law saw a doe and took a shot at one buck but missed.  His brother saw 3 does and no bucks.  I did hear a shot in the bay behind the muskeg I was in and turns out it was the guy who had to make a second choice for hunting when I was in his spot.  My brother in law saw him on the way to pick me up and said he got a big buck.  I texted my friend and said the spot he intended to go was a desert and he can thank me later. Off to friends for dinner tonight.  I butchered my deer already so I’m ready to go tomorrow and get back to work so I can rest.

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