Tag Archives: Alaska Bowhunting Supply

A Lion Will Do

9 Jul

Originally published on the Sitka Gear Insight blog: https://www.sitkagear.com/insight/a-lion-will-do

 

This past hunting season was pretty rough. Just to put it bluntly. At one point during the opening weekend of the September Elk season…I wanted to call it quits. I took the first shot opportunity that I had on a spike bull and ended up with a high-single lung hit. It gave me a blood trail that a blind man could follow and then ended in a bed of frothy, pink blood…but no bull. After two days of searching with everything that I had, I came up empty…and that’s how I felt. I went through the motions for almost a week before I finally started to get it together. The month of September came and went and I moved on to focus my efforts on filling my deer tag.

Looking on in disbelief at a blood-filled bed at the end of a heavy blood trail...but no elk to be found.

Looking on in disbelief at a blood-filled bed at the end of a heavy blood trail…but no elk to be found.

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The Mountain Got It’s Own Ways

26 Sep
I made camp where my legs gave out on me. It just happened to be on a narrow saddle that was the only way over the mountain and onto the nearby ridge system.

I made camp where my legs gave out on me. It just happened to be on a narrow saddle that was the only way over the mountain and onto the nearby ridge system.

For some reason Will Greer’s line to Robert Redford in “Jeremiah Johnson” springs to mind, when I think of this past opening weekend’s bivy hunt. “You can’t cheat the mountain Pilgrim. Mountain’s got it’s own ways”. It seems just spot-on appropriate.

I began scouting the higher elevations just as soon as the snow receded enough to give me access and quickly found an area that held plenty of promise and had me excited. Towards the end of July, I began climbing higher and higher up the mountain and was surprised to find plenty of Elk, Mule Deer and Bear sign. The sight of a small Elk herd lolling in an Alpine bowl one afternoon, had my hopes high and fantasies of chasing bugling bulls above the tree line brimmed in my heart.

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Laying it all on the line

13 Sep
A moment of complete exhaustion, during the last physical trial of the Train To Hunt Challenge: Pack on burpees.

A moment of complete exhaustion, during the last physical trial of the Train To Hunt Challenge: Pack on burpees.

Every year I look forward to new adventures and new challenges; but I often find myself living inside my comfort zone. Nothing irks me more than living vicariously through other’s achievements or feeling inspired by what someone else has overcome; only to sit idly by…wistfully.

According to Newton’s first law of motion; it’s the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion. And when overcoming the inertia of our routine seems too difficult, or impossible; what do we do? We have to mix it up, we have to push forward…and push hard.

I started off this year with my heart and mind committed that I would make this season better than the last and in doing so; I would need to mix it up and step outside of my comfort zone a bit. I needed a goal that deviated from the same old “scout more, shoot my more bow more, train more” gibberish that everyone mutters at the start of each year. To do this I had to think bigger and commit to something that would be difficult…and why not announce it to everyone, while also reaching out for sponsors, for some added  accountability?

As soon as I heard of this “premier adventure race for bowhunters” called the Train To Hunt Challenge, AKA the”Search For The Fittest Bowhunter In The West”…I immediatly made up my mind that I was in. It was announced late last year and with snow still covering the ground; I went into training mode full-bore. Since I had been hunting more and more with my Recurve and had every intention of starting the season with it in hand…I had to ask myself; why wouldn’t I compete with anything other than what I would be using in the mountains? This would put me at a disadvantage; as far as being competitive goes…but this was more of a competition with myself, more than anything else. The course had been set and no alterations would be made…at least that’s what I thought.

One of many training sessions. This was just after the snow melted; I trained rain or shine and as many days a week that my schedule would allow. This day it was pouring down rain. My wife had to snap a pic; thinking that I was crazy as she watched me shoot an arrow, sprint to the target and back and shoot again, all while it rained cats and dogs. You only get out of things what you put into it...and it was my intention to "go big".

One of many training sessions. This was just after the snow melted; I trained rain or shine and as many days a week that my schedule would allow. This day it was pouring down rain. My wife had to snap a pic; thinking that I was crazy as she watched me shoot an arrow, sprint to the target and back to shoot again, all while it rained cats and dogs. You only get out of things what you put into it…and it was my intention to “go big”.

With every workout; I felt my strength and endurance growing and with that, my confidence in my stickbow shooting grew as well. A moment dawned upon me; could I possibly do this? Could I possibly stand a chance of going beyond just competing…when the dust settled, could I actually be standing tall as the victor? At that point is when things went horribly off course.

One of the many logs that I had to clear by hand this day. By the time that I got to the log that would end up knocking the "eff" out me; I was pretty exhausted and obviously was not thinking clearly. Hopefully I learned my lesson and will always assume that any downed tree is under tension!

One of the many logs that I had to clear by hand this day. By the time that I got to the log that would end up knocking the “eff” out me; I was pretty exhausted and obviously was not thinking clearly. Hopefully I learned my lesson and will always assume that any downed tree is under tension!

The first setback came in the form of a concussion sustained from having an ax handle and my own fist being driven into my face. This happened while clearing a road into an area where my hunting partner had drawn a spring bear tag. I was very fortunate that I walked away with only a concussion, a broken tooth and a slightly mangled right hand. But this would set my training back an entire month and I was almost devastated.

Even though I couldn’t exercise much beyond a short, light walk during the time my brain was healing from my concussion; it was only a couple of weeks before my hand healed enough to allow me to shoot my bow again. I was ecstatic about this and began to shoot my bow daily from that point on.

A view from a rainy day in the spring bear stand. My nephew was to arrow a nice, 300# bear from a different location this afternoon. I had the pleasure of dragging his bear out for him. His expression when he first caught a glimpse of what he had shot; was well worth the effort...even if it was supposed to have been MY bear!

A view from a rainy day in the spring bear stand. My nephew was to arrow a nice, 300# bear from a different location this afternoon. I had the pleasure of dragging his bear out for him. His expression when he first caught a glimpse of what he had shot; was well worth the effort…even if it was supposed to have been MY bear!

Before long I was back into the swing of things and almost to the fitness level as I was before my accident…and then the second set back occurred. After spending a week with my wife on the island of Kauai; I returned and promptly tore my hamstring…only three weeks before the competition. It almost seemed that I just wasn’t supposed to reach my goals this year and that I just wasn’t supposed to be competing in any “bowhunter specific adventure race”. I wanted to scream out loud my frustration; but still was determined to be at the competition and do what I could. A week later found me in a treestand and waiting on a bear that never showed it’s self; but I had the privilege of packing out my Nephew’s first Black Bear instead. Somehow my hamstring kept it’s self together, as I lugged the 6′ 3″, 300 lb bear out of the woods. My nephew’s grin and enthusiasm matched the size of the bear that he had pin-wheeled…and that was more than enough for me.

I had so much anxious energy before the competition; I had a very hard time dealing with it. If I would have had to wait much longer for my heat...I might have blew a gasket!

I had so much anxious energy before the competition; I had a very hard time dealing with it. If I would have had to wait much longer for my heat…I might have blew a gasket!

The morning of the competition had my hamstring feeling a little tender and the butterflies in my stomach had me feeling very anxious. I gave it everything that I had and ended up finishing dead last in my division. Even though the competitive side in me wasn’t happy with my performance that day; deep down a warm feeling of satisfaction welled within me. Sometimes just being able to stay the course and finish; means more than the end result.

Crossing the finish line and completing a goal that pushed me past my comfort zone and made me reach deep within myself to complete.

Crossing the finish line and completing a goal that pushed me past my comfort zone and made me reach deep within myself to complete.

A quick note to thank some key people who provided some crucial help that enabled me to compete in this event.

I want to first thank Tim Endsley, of Bad Medicine Archery for his endless generosity. Without him, I truly would not have been able to even enter the competition!

I would like to thank the folks from Alaska Bowhunting Supply and Grizzly Stik arrows; for providing me with the absolute, hands-down, best arrow shafts that I’ve ever had the privilege to shoot. Grizzly Stiks “fly like darts and hit like a Mack truck!”

Also; I would like to thank South cox, of Stalker Stickbows for building the finest, custom recurve that I’ve ever laid hands to. My Wolverine FXT definitely delivers the goods!

Last but not least; a huge thanks to my best friend and hunting partner Darin, for running with me and documenting the event. I can’t wait to put all of his footage together!

Writing my competitor number on each of my arrows. A big thanks to Tim Endsley of Bad Medicine Archery for sponsoring me for this event!

Writing my competitor number on each of my arrows. A big thanks to Tim Endsley of Bad Medicine Archery for sponsoring me for this event!

My Grizzly Stik Momentum EFOC's, dressed up with some blingin' custom arrow wraps from Bad Medicine Archery.

My Grizzly Stik Momentum EFOC’s, dressed up with some blingin’ custom arrow wraps from Bad Medicine Archery.

This must have been pee #60 before I competed in my heat. I didn't have any caffeine that morning...so it must have been nerves.

This must have been pee #60 before I competed in my heat. I didn’t have any caffeine that morning…so it must have been nerves.

Warming up with some dips.

Warming up with some dips.

Event jersey

The first physical challenge: over your pack burpees.

The first physical challenge: over your pack burpees.

The one and only target that I missed during the comp; would basically put the nail in the coffin of my placing. If you missed a target; you had to do double of that physical challenge. This was the worst possible target that I could have missed; because Backpack Getups were the only physical challenge that I struggled with.

The one and only target that I missed during the comp; would basically put the nail in the coffin of my placing. If you missed a target; you had to do double of that physical challenge. This was the worst possible target that I could have missed; because Backpack Getups were the only physical challenge that I struggled with.

More backpack-getup agony

More backpack-getup agony

100 yard "shuttle run", with a 70# sandbag. One of the easier challenges.

100 yard “shuttle run”, with a 70# sandbag. One of the easier challenges.

Catching my breath and getting ready to thump a target.

Catching my breath and getting ready to thump a target.

Just after loosing the second to last arrow of the competition.

Just after loosing the second to last arrow of the competition.

Catching my breath during the last physical challenge: pack on burpees.

Catching my breath during the last physical challenge: pack on burpees.

Heading to the last target. I remember this target vividly; it was an Elk and I was pretty gassed. I remember letting the arrow fly...wondering if I had even picked a spot...and then being relieved to see that I had scored a neck hit.

Heading to the last target. I remember this target vividly; it was an Elk and I was pretty gassed. I remember letting the arrow fly…wondering if I had even picked a spot…and then being relieved to see that I had scored a neck hit.

Since I wanted to finish strong and not re-injure my hamstring ; I chose to walk at times. This was right before the last target.

Since I wanted to finish strong and not re-injure my hamstring ; I chose to walk at times. This was right before the last target.

Taking aim on the last target and then it was a 400+ Meter sprint to the finish.

Taking aim on the last target and then it was a 400+ Meter sprint to the finish.

This was immediately after I crossed the finish line. A lot of things were going through my head at this moment. One of which was being glad that my hamstring held up; but the competitor within me was grumbling over my finish time of 36:00.

This was immediately after I crossed the finish line. A lot of things were going through my head at this moment. One of which was being glad that my hamstring held up; but the competitor within me was grumbling over my finish time of 36:00.

Sweaty, dirty and thirsty.

Sweaty, dirty and thirsty.

Even though I didn't finish as competitively as I had originally hoped; I felt deeply satisfied to have finished what I had started.

Even though I didn’t finish as competitively as I had originally hoped; I felt deeply satisfied to have finished what I had started.

I'm very proud to be a member of the Bad Medicine Archery Pro Staff. Live your brand! #noregrets

I’m very proud to be a member of the Bad Medicine Archery Pro Staff. Live your brand! #noregrets

Not the placing I had hoped for! Since I was the very first person to compete with a Traditional bow; I was showed a certain amount of respect...even though I placed dead last. To me; it was just competing with the gear that I would be using when it really mattered. And of course I thought that besides the limitations of my injury; I could have at least made a better showing with my shooting. But I guess that never being satisfied is the only we can continue to improve ourselves.

Not the placing I had hoped for! Since I was the very first person to compete with a Traditional bow; I was showed a certain amount of respect…even though I placed dead last. To me; it was just competing with the gear that I would be using when it really mattered. And of course I thought that besides the limitations of my injury; I could have at least made a better showing with my shooting. But I guess that never being satisfied is the only way we can continue to improve ourselves.

Warming up before the 3D shoot; which was the second day of the competition.

Warming up before the 3D shoot; which was the second day of the competition.

I had the privilege of shooting with a few of the top placers in this competition. Not only were the outstanding athletes; but they were a great bunch of people as well. Thanks guys; I had a great time!

I had the privilege of shooting with a few of the top placers in this competition. Not only were they outstanding athletes; but they were a great bunch of people as well. Thanks guys; I had a great time!

Bearing down

If you look closely; you can see my orange fletching streaking towards the target.

If you look closely; you can see my orange fletching streaking towards the target.

Pick a spot

The Pecking Order

11 Jul
This has got to be the most bling-bling, deadly setup that I've ever shot: Wolverine FXT built by South Cox of Stalker Stickbows, GrizzlyStik Momentum EFOC's from Alaska Bowhunting Supply and the classy-sick and twisted custom arrow wraps by MR. Tim Endsley from Bad Medicine Archery. Now it's just shoot, shoot, train, shoot and train until September gets here!

This has got to be the most bling-bling, deadly setup that I’ve ever shot: Wolverine FXT built by South Cox of Stalker Stickbows, GrizzlyStik Momentum EFOC’s from Alaska Bowhunting Supply and the classy-sick and twisted custom arrow wraps by MR. Tim Endsley from Bad Medicine Archery. Now it’s just shoot, shoot, train, shoot and train until September gets here!

It’s just a prudent practice to establish a “pecking order” any time you get a new set of arrows. Regardless of how high-tech or high-speed a certain arrow shaft is; there will always be slight variances that will account for accuracy. Sometimes it’s just a matter of how they are fletched, how the inserts are installed, or a number of other variables that can dictate how consistent a particular shaft will fly. Well…leave it to me to always do things backwards or in the incorrect sequence…I’ve had these arrow shafts for at least two months, carried them in the spring Bear woods, have competed with them in the Train To Hunt Challenge… and I am now just getting around to doing this!
One of the better groupings of the night. The proof is in the pudding with these GrizzlyStik Momentum EFOC shafts! Every time that I was able to get a shot off with perfect focus and form...they flew right were they were supposed to!  I've been sold on Alaska Bowhunting Supply products for several years....but dangit if I've never seen this kind of performance! I just love these shafts and can't say enough good things about them.

One of the better groupings of the night. The proof is in the pudding with these GrizzlyStik Momentum EFOC shafts! Every time that I was able to get a shot off with perfect focus and form…they flew right were they were supposed to!
I’ve been sold on Alaska Bowhunting Supply products for several years….but dangit if I’ve never seen this kind of performance! I just love these shafts and can’t say enough good things about them.

Tonight I shot groups from 15 yards and focused as hard as possible on correct form and a proper release. I just wanted to give these bad boys every chance in the world to prove what they were capable of. If I thought that I had a bad release (which is easy to do while shooting with fingers and with Trad equipment), I just pulled that particular arrow and shot again. Every time I would hit my mark (or close to it), I would give that arrow shaft a dot with a marker and write the shaft’s assigned number next to the hole it made in the cardboard. If a shaft acquired four dots; it was “promoted” and pulled out of the rotation. The theory is that if a shaft earns four dots (hits the mark consistently four times), it earns it’s self a first string position in my quiver and is tipped with a broadhead. But the truth of the matter, is that basically every one of these shafts qualified.
Earning dots.

Earning dots.

My final verdict…was that gosh darn if every single one of these shafts didn’t fly true…as long as I did my part! I’m so excited to be shooting these Momentum EFOC’s this season; I’ve just never shot an arrow shaft quite like them.
So there you have it; figure out which particular arrow shaft works with your setup, assign a pecking order and keep punching targets until September rolls around. At that point if you’ve done your part; you can be rest assured that when Mr. Big (or Misses Backstraps  ) steps out in front of your arrow…you won’t be going home empty handed!
I wonder who these arrows belong to? Oh...yeah, that's right!

I wonder who these arrows belong to? Oh…yeah, that’s right!

Cashing in on white Gold.

13 Feb

The woods give way to winter's heavy blanket. This is a prime opportunity to be out and observe a whole different side of the mountains.

The woods give way to winter’s heavy blanket. This is a prime opportunity to be out and observe a whole different side of the mountains.

“When the temperature drops, a white coat enfolds.

The mountain grows silent, cept’ for crackling ice entow.

A soft descent, whether the North Winds will blow.

Heavens wide open; to release winter’s White Gold.”

It wasn’t that long ago; that any warm feelings I held toward winter, were very one-sided. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest; I viewed the winter months as a long endurance of cold weather and fighting treacherous road conditions. To me the months of white were only enjoyable if a chair lift ride to the top of the mountain was involved and immediately followed by some high speed s-turns; with either sticks or a board strapped to my feet.

At some point I had an epiphany which helped to change my views and broaden my scope. I know that I always appreciated how the coat of white brought a different kind of beauty to the landscape…but it was shallow in depth. I really think that I can credit bowhunting for changing the way I view a lot of things about this time of year.

Nothng quite compares to a day spent afield during a sunny day during the months of white.

Nothing quite compares to a day spent afield during a sunny day during the months of white.

I’ll never forget my first season spent with a bow in my hands. It seems like an eternity ago…but I can remember it like it was yesterday. By my second weekend of being out in the deer woods; a fresh coat of snow that was two feet deep, covered my little valley. It was exciting to see the signs of my quarry’s passing; seem to float up from the ground and reveal it’s self to me. It was a whole new world from the week prior…the woods seemed silent; yet filled with new sounds. The soft falling of snow filled the air like quiet static; the metallic tinkling of ice crystals bouncing off of my clothing. The soft squish and woosh of my boots; as I still hunted along the trail. The veil had been lifted from my eyes and a new awareness was being revealed to me…there no longer was just an endurance of cold and a quick descent. This was something new and something that I’ve learned to savor.

The first snow of the season is definitely a very special thing to hunters and something I greatly look forward to. It’s a time that the animals all change their patterns and become more “pattern-able”. While for some it may not be too drastic…it means a new way of life for others. They all become more trackable; with their hooves and paws leaving their story within the layers of snow. You can often tell the time of their passing down to the minute and tell exactly their attitude or how they are feeling; just by observing the amount of snow in a track, or by the drag marks they leave behind.

Here Moose, Elk and Deer tracks cross each other on a beautiful sunny day.

Here Moose, Elk and Deer tracks cross each other on a beautiful sunny day.

I used to view the deep snow as a limitation…that was before I discovered snow shoes. To me the deep snow opens up new avenues of travel that may have not been possible; maybe even the week prior. Just pick a line and go! It’s usually that simple. Push deep and follow that herd of elk. Strap your camp to your back and access that area with un-plowed roads. They may have been lined with hunting camps during the weeks of September…but remain empty and unpressured through the late seasons. Do the ungulate populations a favor and take a trapping class. Take advantage of the predator’s need for extra calories during the cold months and help thin out their numbers by appealing to their winter-appetites. This time of year holds plenty of new possibilities; you just have to be open and embrace them.

Somehow I am constantly taken aback; how the white-coated ridglines and mountain tops seem to stand out in HD clarity and bring the lines of topography into clear focus. Everything seems to pop out at you; seeming larger and much closer. I see things much clearer these days and yearn to test mother nature on all her fronts. A tear of sadness almost forms at the corner of my eye…when the warm air currents of March sweep in…and take my White Gold away for the next seven months.

Alaska DIY: nothing comes easy

18 Sep

This was a day Darin and I were down in the doldrums. At this point; it was hard to keep our heads in the game and keep looking ahead.

Actual journal excerpt from Day 5:

“Aug 31st-day 5 of hunting.

Today has been pretty much a bust. I really have no idea what time it is; nor am I really sure of the exact date…time has had no real meaning, or has it been of much consequence on this trip.”

I have been back from my Alaskan adventure exactly one week and still have not quite settled back into my normal, everyday groove. In fact it was several days before my body realized that it wasn’t in the Arctic anymore. As we headed farther South and the temperature rose; my “thermostat” seemed to rebel on me. It was set to deal with temps between twenty and fifty degrees, with icy wind chills. And my internal clock was used to days that started with a five a.m. sunrise and ended with a sunset close to midnight. Ah…the “land of the midnight sun”!

Since it will take some time to wrap my mind around my recent experience, enough to re-tell it; I figure a rough overview is in order. So much happened on this trip…I really don’t even know where to begin! There were a few days that seemed an entire adventure unto themselves and seemed to last far past any twenty four hour period.

Journal excerpt: Aug 24. “As we got closer to Alaska; the cloud cover was like thick snow (or mashed potatoes). Every once in awhile a mountain top would poke through the clouds; like a rocky island.”

Some of the highlights included two different stalk attempts on Grizzly Bears, being “lost” out on the tundra for seven hours; during thick fog and freezing rain, which didn’t allow Darin and I to get back to camp until around eleven o’clock at night. A couple very memorable stalk attempts on two magnum caliber bulls; one of which was completely caught on film. Awaiting in ambush along the Sag river for a herd of Caribou to commit to crossing. Having someone siphon gas from Brandon’s truck and attempt to siphon from ours. We saw quite a few animals that I was very excited to see; including Musk Ox, Red Foxes, a silver Hoary Marmot, Wolves, Ptarmigan, Dall sheep and obviously Caribou (one of my favorite animals) and Grizzly bears.

All in all; this was one crazy adventure and definitely a “true Alaskan experience”!

Brandon waiting in ambush; hoping this 7 footer would veer closer in our direction. She is at 89 yards in this pic.

Darin pondering our situation during our seven hour stint of being “lost” out on the tundra and being really glad he spent all that money on his Stormfront pieces by Sitka Gear

Stay tuned!

29 Days: Alaska, here we come!

25 Jul

I crave the remote and wild places. It’s something that burns in my blood and creates a wistful feeling that haunts me throughout my days. This picture was taken while on a spring Bear hunt in North Idaho early this year.

It’s been a dream of mine…for as long as I can remember. It seems that everything “North” curdles and surges in my blood. My body and soul CRAVE the remote and rugged country as much as they do food and water. sustenance for the primeval DNA that is buried deep in my genetic makeup; I have been waiting to satiate this appetite for far too long. This wait became too much to bear…I had to do something before it was too late!

Planning a trip to the North country has always seemed like a very daunting and almost insurmountable task. So finally I just sat down and figured out what it would take to get it done and then just started crunching numbers, pecking away at the details and taking steps to make it happen. The planning started mid last year and then finally started to seem to solidify, as the early December snow started to coat my hometown mountains.

I decided to pitch the idea to my best friend and hunting partner, not really sure of what he’d think. When I say “best friend”…I should explain that, Darin is more like a brother to me. We have been “best friends” ever since…well birth, basically. We have tackled  almost every major life obstacle together and I was elated when he picked up a bow and joined me in the woods six seasons ago. So when he seemed as excited as I was, the hunt was on and the planning had begun!

My Toelke Whip gets first crack at a Caribou, come next month! I’ll be shooting Grizzly Stiks (by Alasks Bowhunting Supply) tipped with the new 125 gr. broadheads from The Solid Broadhead Company.

At first this was going to be a DIY Caribou  hunt along the Dalton Highway; better known as “The Haul Road”. But then somehow it morphed and it was decided that it would be a “drop” hunt instead. We were to fly in with a outfit that had been highly recommended (70 North) and then just like it sounds…dropped! They would provide the major camp essentials: a tent, cots and kitchen etceteras. But we would provide everything else. It seemed like the perfect adventure; out in the middle of the wilds of Alaska…just us two against the “Land of the Midnight Sun” and stalking caribou with bows in hand!

We stuck to this plan for a while and it even went as far as corresponding with Mike, the owner/operator of 70 North and reserving a time slot. Just when the trigger was about to be pulled and money paid…reality smacked us good. Upon checking flight info; Darin noticed something very important that we had previously missed. This “small” detail; was that airfare doubles when you are flying all the way into Deadhorse, instead of stopping in Anchorage or Fairbanks. The cash register was already clanging out of control and my butt was in major pucker mode…becuase I was wondering if I would be able to come up with the funds to make this happen.

About that time; the Outdoor Photo Contest was going on here at the Back Trail. One of the winners, Brandon Lefebvre just happened to be a Fairbanks local. A couple of emails later; it became apparent  to me, that my dreams were far from being dashed! Brandon turned out to be a solid guy and offered to help us; if we wanted to make a go at the Haul Road hunt. Plans quickly began for us to meet Brandon in Fairbanks, rent a truck and camper, stock up and head North, hoping to cross paths with some migrating Caribou.  It turns out that Brandon owns a production company; SISU Productions and he was all over the idea of documenting this trip for us. This is another detail that I could have never dreamed of! Darin and I had already decided to “make a production” of the trip…we even went so far as to approach Vortex Optics and G5 with our plans; hoping that maybe they would see our dream in the same mind frame that we did and want to help us out with some gear.

Vortex was kind enough to loan us some key pieces of “glass” for this trip (thank you Scott Parks!). Of course I had to immediately get out and become aquainted with the Viper HD 20-60×80 spotter and Viper 10×42 HD binos!

I like to set goals that are outside of my comfort zone; to push myself harder than I might have pushed before. By approaching these two outdoor companies with our plans of documenting our trip and delivering content that “all could use”…well, this was setting the bar high enough. And  I knew this trip could only be epic and nothing less. I often have “grand visions”, but just don’t know how to make them come to fruition. And I’ve come to realize that to make things come to fruition; sometimes you have to think outside of the box and approach things  in a manner (or angle) that you would never consider approaching. These situations, where you limit yourself and therefore get stuck against the same walls…all come down to comfort zones and “angles”. In this case I am hitting angles and breaching almost every comfort zone I’ve ever set for myself.

Another key piece of my AK gear: My LWD built, Glock 20SF (10mm). This will serve as my “Bear Spray”. In the background you can see what gets second up at some Caribou; my Bowtech Destroyer 340.

So, it is only 29 days until I get to realize a dream and hunt Caribou in Alaska…in a manner that Fred Bear, Glenn St. Charles and many other of my archery heroes have done in years past. This is something that my father and I had talked about in the years before he passed away. Every season with a bow in my hand holds an emotional edge and is linked to my Father. Now I get to fulfill a dream that he had, long before he had ever planted the seed of the same dream into my head.

29 days until Alaska…29 days until the realization of a dream that’s more than one generation old. 29 days until that starved part of my soul gets to feed and drink in deep, of what it has been craving for far too long.

Stay tuned!