Backcountry

Chest holster re-strapping V1.0. 

Thought I’d post an update. Been wearing the new holster I got a couple months ago off and on for some work, and short hikes.


Have some setup issues.

They have it, as set for left hand draw,
Holster sits basically horizontal, grip left, muzzle right.

Shoulder strap run from top of holster (by hammer) up over RIGHT shoulder, down across back, under Left arm to bottom of holster(behind grip/by trigger).

The the chest strap runs around you, through a loop on the back of the holster.

Holster free floats on the chest strap, held up by shoulder strap.

When you go to draw, to keep holster from sliding left, you have to grip with the off side hand. 

Also while walking/working, it naturally drifts left, rotating the shoulder stap on your torso, sliding on chest strap, till under the left arm. (To where you cant grip the gun to draw without sliding it back to center chest with the off side hand.)

Because of shoulder strap placement/tension it can’t slide to the right.

Basically, the tension is backwards.

While hiking with it like this, every time I repositioned it (about every 150 yards!) I thought about strap direction and buckle placement, being pretty sure I could reverse it to the left shoulder, but still be left hand draw.

It actually was as simple as I thought. (Amazing)

I now have the shoulder strap run from top of holster(by hammer) over my LEFT shoulder, across back, under Right arm.

Now it gets different.. that bottom right end of the shoulder strap I connect to the end of the CHEST strap.

Chest strap goes Left, and Down through the loop on the back of the holster, then BACK to the Right, and around my back, to the Left bottom of the holster. 

So the pull to the left is now resisted by the tail of the shoulder strap, and the chest tension. If it slides, it will be down to the right. So even if it does move, it could go a ways before I couldn’t draw.

Muzzle end is also held by the chest strap. And because the chest strap and shoulder straps tension each other, once set, it can’t really drift very far either way.

So far as I can tell anyway. Will walk a couple miles with it and see.

Still needs work, but it’s better!


It even ended up with the tension right so the lower end of the shoulder strap is lower away from my arm and arm pit, more comfortable and crowds my arm less when moving. On the other side it tended to pinch and pull at my underarm. 

The only problems I see, are if it does move around, the gun/holster is semi fixed in line with it all, and it tensions through one end of it… As it moves one strap will tighten as the other loosens. So it’s going to chinch/tighten around me in one place or the other, and be crushing… 

And there is the other problem. With this set so it works, the chest strap is pretty tight… and rather crushingly uncomfortable already. 

I know I should be able to set this up so the weight and tension is all on the shoulder strap, and the chest strap can just center/position the gun on me and hold it semi loosesly..

What I’d like to try is;
The chest strap run from muzzle end of the holster, or the loop on the back, but a fixed atachment, not slidding, and around to the lower left corner of the holster as I gave it now. And the shoulder strap as I have it now for top of holster run over my left shoulder. 

But then attached to the center back of the chest strap.

Either floating or fixed at that joint. I think fixed would get the effect I want.

Will have to play with it some more, and see… need to find the 2 or 3 Big safety pins I have so I can pin this up how I want it before I cut/sew/ add/modify anything.

But as it is, it’s a lot better!

Pics to follow in another post if I can find someone to take them while I’m wearing it..

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Categories: Alaska-Life, ATVing, Backcountry, Customized, EDC, Field gear, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Guns, Holsters, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Theory/Thoughts | 1 Comment

For warm dry knees! 

Got a new item recently. Well, 3 items actually. 

After my moose hunting trip this fall, a sleeping pad I’d borrowed to take was misplaced. Wasn’t in my gear, and when the boat was unpacked, it wasn’t found. We figured it blew out of the boat on the long drive back, and hoped someone found it on that winding mountain road– If I lose something, I at least hope someone gets some use fromy it, that it’s not wasted.

And I’d just obviously get a new one for the guy I borrowed it from. 

I did go buy a new one. 
Couple weeks went by before I got to take stuff back to him. 

In that time, my buddy cleaned Everything out of the boat. 

He found the padd, said literally it was stuffed so far up under the front deck a hurricane wouldn’t have budged it! 

None the worse for wear, I returned that pad to my friend, intending to return the new one, get my much needed $45 back. I did think about trying to still give my friend the new one, but he wouldn’t have accepted it if the old one wasn’t lost.. 

After using the first padd in an emergency, sleeping on it on Cold front deck on the boat on the river one night, I was sold on it, figured I’d get myself one like it before next season. 

Just didn’t really want to spend the money now… Didn’t get around to trying to return it till after the return period had ended. Oops.

In that time period I’d been also looking at small foam pads, after seeing someone at BCUSA carrying a sitting pad in their day bag. Found something I never knew anyone made; kneeling pads! Some for camping, some for gardening, work etc. 

My dad used to cut sections from the old 1/4″ closed cell foam sleep pads for kneeling to work, but I’d never seen anything sold for that. 

I’d started carrying chunks of cardboard in my truck box for roadside, job site etc kneeling, sitting, laying etc on cold or wet ground. Realized I should have had a foam one like dad used to make in the truck years ago, just never thought of it! 


You can see where this is headed, right? 

Since I have it, but don’t need the padd for sleeping till next summer, and can pick up another one then if I need it (I actually use a Klymit V-luxe air pad the most); In the mean time I can save myself the cost of keeler pads. 

I’d also found another great use for that pad on the hunting trip, as a chair pad. Took my folding canvas camp chair along, and it was great. But as id found before, sitting too long in one of those in cool wet weather, especially with a breeze can freeze your back and butt; its just cold canvas your sitting on, stays cool and bleeds heat fast.. I laid the pad in the chair and with a light sleeping bag over my legs was very comfy for early and late river vigils waiting for bulwinkle. :)

I did this last week a few days before ice fishing… I use the same chair for that activity, and sitting in that chair even with winter gear on can royally freeze your ass in a wind on a lake @ 10F or colder… 

So 30 seconds laying the new one in a chair to measure length needed for seat and back, then another 30 seconds with a pocket knife, cutting along the thin fold line. One chair pad made! 

Then what was left I cut into two equal sections, also cutting on the folds. Go two kneeling/sitting pads, one for my hunting/camping/hiking gear, and one for the truck. 

It was so warm last week for ice fishing I didn’t bother to take the big chair pad along, just took a small one. Never needed it, it was so warm, and the fishing was so good I spent a lot of time standing anyway. 

Anyway, it was still in the cab of my truck last night, got home late, 40F out (!) light wind, clear sky, stars out and Lots of northern lights. 

I killed the yard lights, grabbed the pad and sat on the tailgate of my truck to watch the show. 40F ambient is great, but a metal tailgate will still be 0F or colder after a week if that and freeze yer ass off! But with the pad I was dry and toasty. Size was good too, enough to sit on comfortably, but not huge to store. 

Gonna need two more pads now… One to keep as a sleep pad, and another to make more kneelers, for other uses/places/vehicles. 

It is/was a Therm-a-rest Z-Lite pad BTW. 

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Thermarest does make a sitting pad, shorter than the sleep pads, and cheaper at $15. Same design, same materials. It would have been too small for the chair pad I wanted, but I might get a couple of those for making more kneelers. Think I can get two of this size kneeler from one of those. 2 for about $15 ain’t bad!

As it is now, two sit/kneel pads and a chair pad that could be used as a short sleep pad isn’t bad at all for $45! 🙂 

Categories: Backcountry, Camping gear, Custom, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Ice Fishing, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Preparedness, Truck gear | 1 Comment

Field Holster; chest carry. 

I’d decided that I need a new holster for my .357. (Vintage Ruger Security Six, 4″). Field holster I guess you’d say… I don’t concealed carry often anymore, just open carry for hunting/hiking. 


Until recently I’ve done belt carry, have a great pancake holster from Simply Rugged that works phenominally. 

But I can’t do belt carry anymore;
Problem #1, it kills my screwed up hips, and #2 at current weight loss level/clothing sizing, keeping my pants up is impossible with the weight of a gun…Hell, it’s hard enough without the gun. Lol. (belt tight enough to hold it all up, cuts into back/hips too much, back to problem #1)

I’ve tried regular shoulder holsters. No go. Got a leather Galco “miami classic” style for a full size auto, have had it a decade, worn it a total of maybe ten times. 

Borrowed a buddies Uncle Mikes vertical nylon job for hunting last month. Wore it once. Rode ok once adjusted, but where it was secure and somewhat comfortable, I couldn’t reach the gun to draw it! 

I’ve had nylon ones twice in the past before. Got a great vintage Bianchi leather job that a good friend gave me, but it’s too big for this gun(actually hoping to convert it to chest or bandoleer carry for my .41 mag Blackhawk ). 

Anyway, I can Never get any slight semblance of comfortable, or secure, at the same time, and never an easy draw either way… 

Add to that the layers of straps you get with the holster, a backpack, and a rifle sling while out and about in the woods… Just no. There’s too much of the world sitting on my shoulders anyway, don’t need to add more! ;)

I’ve thought about a bandoleer setup, but that ends up on the hip cross draw… hard to reach (yes, I still have a bit of a spare tire to reach around, and add a heavy jacket, forget it!) and in a place that would interfere with backpacks, pack frames, and I think a slung rifle.. 

So, my last ditch idea is to attempt to try a chest rig… 

They’re actually extremely popular up here in AK for bear country fishing, and some hunting. 

Yes it hangs on shoulder straps, at least one..but the weight sits on the chest, not under the armpits. And it should pull on the back more than straight down on the shoulders.. I think. I’m thinking it will be more secure feeling and more accessible. And probably more comfortable, leave me some range of arm movement without under arm binding. (Hopefully!)  

So, a couple weeks digging around, and some fantastic suggestions from friends on a forum, and I made a choice. 

I ordered a holster last week. I’d seen these before, and looked at them off and on, but wasn’t sure.

But I decided for the cost –About $40– I couldn’t really go wrong.. If nothing else I could modify the snot out of it. ;)

But really, I decided I needed something low cost to try, to see if chest carry was even the answer, without dropping $70 to $150 depending. Expensive risk, if it turned out chest carry wasn’t my thing.

So, the make is Skyball Mountain Holsters. Amazingly, made in USA. Only places I can find them are Facebook and Ebay, apparently it’s a small business, no dedicated website.

I dug around and found out that the current Ruger GP100 is super close in size to a Security Six, so I ordered the one for a 4″ barrel GP100.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/262234099076

It fits the gun perfectly! 
(Being a open non formed holster, it actually fits All of my mid frame ~4″ hand guns almost perfectly!)

These are built a little different than the average chest harness. The average seems to be an around the body horizontal strap, then the holster sits on that or straps down to it. Then the shoulder strap goes over and attaches to the horizontal strap on your back.

This one is the horizontal strap, and then the shoulder strap goes around from the holster, and BACK TO the holster…

It works. But it adds another strap crossing under your arm, and for me it’s a bit uncomfortable crossing that high under my arm. (I’ve a bit of fat there and it presses in anoyingly)

But even having said that, this thing is SUPER comfortable!! 

I threw it on with the 357 over a light hoodie a few nights ago, and went out and split a days worth of firewood. 45 minutes swinging a splitting maul, lifting, moving logs, etc. and I only had to reposition it a few times. That’s pretty upper body active, more so than any average time I’d normally be wearing a gun.


My only little problem is the way it sits, all the tension is pulling to the left side… The straps don’t hold it to the right if it’s pulled left. But it’s a left hand draw. So it drifts left during draw. Grabbing it with the right hand durring draw fixes it obviously. But I might not always have that hand free, so it needs a hold down strap on the right.

There is a loop on the barrel end of the holster (probably for a hold down), so adding a short cord, I’m thinking shock cord for a little movement, should be easy, run down to my belt.

One other thing, not really a problem, is the chest strap, on me, is extended almost all the way out. Not a design flaw, I’m just a big guy. So I’ll have to get an extension strap for wearing it over a heavy coat. It’s all 1″ strap, and all ends are held with SRBs, so it’ll be easy/cheap to add/remove as needed. The shoulder strap on the other hand, oddly has like another 10″ of outward adjustment, it’ll be fine.

Overall, I really like it. It works, and is verry comfortable. 


As to mods, I’m trying to find the site I saw a T shaped side release buckle on recently… 

It was simple the male or female side of the buckle, but the strap side had the slots on it at a 90 to the buckle… So you can slide it to any place on a strap and have the buckle T off. It was for camping/hiking packs, like to add a sternum strap or similar. Just can’t find it again! 

Anyway, was thinking one of those or similar on the around the chest strap, put it in the back, and clip the shoulder strap into it, doing away with the under arm strap. 

I’ll wear it/use it a while as is and if I don’t get used to that strap there, I’ll look into moddling it. But for now it’s fine!

Fat guy in a holster;

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My view;

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And the bonus, I can pick and chose what I want to carry;

4-5/8″ Blackhawk;

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Ruger MK2;

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Beretta Stamped SAA;
(3.5″ barrel us a little short in there, but I think it’ll balance ok/hang ok)

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Browning BDM 9mm;
(Which is great for now since this is my usual winter woods carry gun. No bears then so I don’t need the .357 etc.)

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:)

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Backcountry, Clothes, GetOutdoors, Guns, Hunting, Life-Philosophy, New Gear, Outdoors, Woods tools

Grousing around, Oct 2017

Grouse hunting… 
My first time out.

A friend and I have been trying to get out to do this together for about 2 years now, finally got to go. 

Ended up with his teen son along, and got two other friends to go, one that has a fancy German hunting dog.

We even put it off a week, last minute plans from last Monday so to make sure one guy could go… Turned out great, we got a few inches of snow in the week, make the birds more visible on the ground!

I borrowed a buddies 12ga auto shotgun to take since I don’t have one.

2.5 hour drive south to a 70 acre private property plot we have access to(Church bible camp) just north of Mt. Denali, and the foot hills of the Alaska Range.

 2.5wonderful hours hiking around in clear  5F weather, fantastic company and country… 4,000 grouse tracks everywhere. Millions of rabbit tracks.
Some fox and lynx tracks.

We’d talked about other game, and unfortunately lynx is closed until Dec 1st, but fox is open, and rabbit, and I was hoping to see a rabbit.   

And I wouldn’t have argues with getting a fox pelt either to be honest!

 Hiked 2.5 to 3 miles in flat country trails, open forest and fairly thick brush/black spruce country.

$$$ fancy hunting dog tracking all over the place. Really cool to see that, finally. (Friend has been trying to get me out to see the dog for almost 2 years now.)

Never saw an (game)animal.
No, take that back… we saw one camp robber. Lol.

Now, it was mid day by the time we got down there after we worked out some issues, drive was slow because of hairy roads in places…

We honestly figure the birds were all up in the trees roosting by the time we got out there, and once a spruce grouse is in a spruce tree it’s invisible.

But it was a fantastic trip regardless of not shooting anything! Really was fun just getting good out and enjoying God’s creation with some friends.

I didn’t actually take the shotgun after all. Talking to my friend that I’d planned this with,  he didn’t have one either, so he and his son would be with .22 rifles.  

I remembered that last year when we started talking about going, I bought a new Skinner sight for my Dad’s(now mine) Browning SA-22.

 Figured it was a great brush gun, it’s super small, light, and short,  points fast, be a dream to carry. It’s also a take down gun, for easy packing.

Also knew we’d be in Super dense cover at tines, and that 12ga is Loooonnnggg. Be a bitch to swing in the brush..

So I took the .22.
And it did pack and carry marvelously!  Do need to get a sling mouth set on it to make it a little easier, in thrvthick stuff (bith hands free)and a dedicated short pack case for it.

One other friend was supposed to have a single shot .410 along, but couldnt find it, so he had a 12 ga. pump.  Figured the other guy would gave a 12ga. But he chose to just wrangle his do for us.  But we did end up with one shotgun in the mix, for any fast flight shots.

The country;

The group minus me and the dog;

Two friends;

Same two friends in this shot, if you can find them… even the relatively open forest was hard visibility beyond 20 feet!

Tracks;

The .22;

Something cool (I think) I started doing with another tube fed gun, a Ruger MKII magazine makes a great speed loader. Just push the rounds off one at a time. Easier than a hand full of loose ammo. 

Cutlery that I took for cleaning animals;

The red Mora fixed blade I bought that morning… Had to take one guy to grab a hunting license before we went.

I was walking around the sporting goods store while he got it, killing time,
and was amazed to see real Mora knives for sale with the fishing gear!  Never seen them locally before, just online.  Even stranger, it’s in a small home town shop (one of a kind,  not a chain store).  Even though I do have a couple already, I couldn’t pass it up for $9.99 😉 

Anyway, still a great day without the birds, and the season is open all winter. Thinking I’ll start taking a .22 along with ice fishing trips etc. Never know what you might see! 

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Guns, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors, Sentimental, Wildlife, Winter

Moose,  2017.

So, the moose story. 

finally. (Some of you have been asking for this post for a week) 🙂

The morning of the day of the wolf adventure above, we’d gone up one ridge before day light (Fun.)  I couldn’t so the last climb to the very top, about 60 yards of what at that time I deemed “death slope”. 

This area is a little U shaped valley along a ridge, sitting between prongs, or points off the ridge. Ridge and river sit paralell, prongs point at the river, so open top of the U faces the river.  It’s about 0.4 miles from river to the bottom center of the U, 0.35 miles from one point to the other across the U.   Not a big area. 

From river to about .25 miles in, it used to be boreal tundra spruce… 90% no bigger than 8″ in diameter. Several years ago it burned. So it’s now a mess of 3″ Dia 8′ tall new birch, alder, and willow, with its floor covered in down, dead spruce… High stepping nightmare to hike in. But it’s dry and flat. 

At that .25 mile mark is a line, and small grove of larger older spruce forest.  It goes maybe 50 yards in depth. Behind it, the rest of the flat into the bottom of the ridge, of the U is moss covered tundra. Moss a good 1.5′ to 4′ deep in places, wet, spongy. And permafrost grown spruce, all about head height and 2″ in dia..   Thankfully that area isn’t muskeg tussoks, but the moss isn’t any picnic to hike in. 

From the right hand watch spot, on the first ridge point we climbed, from about half way up, looking across the U at an angle, to the next point, and the base of the 2nd point. 

So, anyway. 

That first day, they’d gone up the first ridge mid afternoon, to scout. Didn’t see any moose. That evening at dusk they went up again, and I hunted watching a sand bar along the river, couple hundred yards from camp. I didn’t see anything but a Huge beaver. 

All they saw was two other hunters on the next point, that hiked in from the river!

That next morning, (wolf day), we all went up before daylight,  and watched. That pic there ^^ is from my vantage point later in the morning. They were a bit higher than me furthet up on my right. 

We would have gone over and up the second point at that time, but figured the other two guys would be back that morning. They never showed.

Around 9 am, they saw a moose,  good sized one, a loooonnnnggg ways out on the burn flat past the second point, about 700 yards,  headed our way. 

I never saw him that day. You have to know what your looking for at that range, it’s amazing the one guy saw it to begin with,  but he has eagle eyes for that stuff… saw it at first with bare eyes, No Glass!! 

Anyway, about 10, they decended into the U and crossed the valley behind the trees, in the mossy mess, to the other point, and climbed it.   By 11, the moose had bedded down, off that point a few hundred yards out.   

I headed back to camp (mid way between points, on the river). They went off the other side of that second point and into the valley there, and scouted around, back to camp, around 1 pm. 

If we’d known that morning that the other two guys weren’t coming back, we’d have gone up that second ridge then, and could have shot that bull that morning, he came well within range before bedding. As it was, he bedded before we got anyone on that ridge.

Fast lunch, then we napped to 3pm, early dinner, then hiked in and climbed the second left hand point around 4pm.  I could only get up about 50 yards, and it was from this point I took this pic shown in the wolf post;

center U trees on left, big trees on right are on the far bank of the river, looking toward camp, other point on the left/center… 

3 hour watch, around 730pm was when he shot the wolf, and I went down to help. 

The big bull never showed again that evening.  Around 8 after we got back to camp with the wolf, our 3rd guy that had stayed up top(Ole eagle eyes) saw another pair of bulls headed in along the same line the other had taken into the area, these two a good 900 yards out. Younger smaller bulls, spike forks both of them, a medium sized one and a smaller one trailing him by a ways. 

Too far out, too late to worry about, but maybe the next day they’d range in better. 

Late dinner that night after he came down around 9, then we were up till 12am,while he skinned out that wolf. In the dark, in the cold, in the rain (sleet, almost snow actually ).  

Next morning about 530, up and breakfast, and they headed back up the steep 2nd point. Wanted to be there when that first big bull started moving around. 

I’d had too much mountain goating around, and general hiking the first couple days, was starting to blow out a muscle in my right thigh… Figured if I was going to be of any use helping to butcher,  and pack out meat if we got one, I needed to stick to the flat land and stop trying to climb ridges. 

I stayed in camp till around 8, then went and tried to hike to the sand bar I’d been watching,  long the river. That was Fun. Had to head into a stand of old growth spruce along the river, some 4′ in diameter at the base. And more dead falls. But unlike in the burn area, these were 10″ in Dia and bigger. And the area had a drainage ditch/street bed. 

At 9:10 I’d managed 100 yards from camp, and decided the heck with it, started to head back. (The very fresh bright purple bear scat in places added to the ease of that decision 😉 , although we’d been seeing that scat,  most of it fresh within the week, purple (blueberry) or red (cranberry) all over the valley.  )

915am, 3 shots off the ridge above me. 

Headed for camp a little faster. 

About 10, my buddy got into camp. Eagle eyes had gone to start gutting it. 😀 

They were up there watching, nothing moving in the flat, when suddenly he saw movement out of the brush at the base of the ridge below them… That big bull had skirted the base of the slope, too close to the ridge to be seen till he got out 100 yards or so!  Walked right by under them. 

He also went right by the spot I’d sat the evening before, within about 50 to 70 yards!!  If I’d have been up there he would have crossed below me, in perfect range, at a slow walk, broadside! 

As it was, he heard my friends, gave a lot at them up the ridge, and broke into a trot toward the center U trees.. 

They fired two shots that missed him as he turned, and then God blessed my buddy on the 3rd shot, as the bull got to about 350 yards out, into the mossy area, he shot for the spine downhill, bull facing almost square away from him.  Missed the spine, but the shot went into the rib cage. 

Little later dressing him out, the shot broke 3 ribs going in on the left side, made hamburger of its liver, through that lung, destroyed the aorta,  and passed into the off side shoulder or brisked.  Hydrostatic show made jelly of the other lung, and blood shot some brisket,  neck. 

The bull took a few steps, about 20′ if that, and dropped in his tracks.  

When oppenened up,  the body cavity was Full of blood, and there was no blood in the meat as we butchered it.. The shot destroyed the aorta, but missed the heart, and under a run, and adrenaline,  the bull heart kept going and pumped himself dry, bled out Fast, and dropped. 

The only problem was, the side of that tree line that he ran to. Lol. 

So packing him out was 50 or 60 yards of mossy muck, 50 yards of (active use!)bear trail through the timber,  and 200, 250 yards of the burn area. FUN. 

But at just a little over 1/4 mile, it really wasn’t that bad.  But I now fully understand an old saying here; NEVER shot a moose further than 100 yards from a motorized vehicle. 😉 

The most entertaining was getting the head and hide out. Skinning went so fast with three guys, them two cutting and my pulling the hide, that he decided he wanted it in one piece, to keep. The fact that it’s a chocolate brown and deep black, I can’t blame him, it’s gorgeous!  

And the 4×5 52″ rack, he wanted for a full European mount (antlers on skull). 

So, hide folded around two 10′ poles laid shoulder width apart, poles on shoulders, and carry it out. Oi.  I did about a 40 yard stretch of that in the burn area. As the guy in back. Learned how easy it really is to hike in that otherwise;  you can see your footing. As the rail gut carrying the hide, you see hide, not the ground. Oi! 

The head we hung from one pole, and carried the same way.   Uhuh. Better visibility, but man… Not fun. I did 60 yards or so of that in the burn area too.  They’d carried the head out of the mossy swamp without the pole, antlers laid on their shoulders… I didn’t see it, but wish I had!! 😉 

Took us all that first day to butcher it all, bone out the quarters, and skin it, and pack out about 1/4 of it. Took all day the next day to pack out the rest of the meat, the head, and hide. 

Going into this I was worried that my back and hips wouldn’t take the packing. They said that’s fine, it’s a group effort for all of it, I wouldn’t have to pack meat if I couldn’t/didn’t want to. 

I figured I was gonna feel real guilty doing that and planned to do as much as I could, as safe as I could. After the amount of work I put in skinning and butchering, and only actually cutting for 5 minutes,  I understood. It really is a group effort, and takes a lot of work for an animal this size. 

I wouldn’t have felt guilty not packing meat. 

But I did.  Some of that was entertaining,  we only had one pack frame. So you grab a meat bag, 30 to 40 lbs of meat,  sling it over one shoulder, and hike. Ugh. 

I did one trip with the pack frame, 55 or 65 pounds of meat..  That was easier since it balanced in one place on your back, and you had your hands free in the brush… But damn that was heavy. 

Moose down;

Me, Brian, the shooter, and Bullwinkle;

(I’m the fat one in plaid, Not the fat one with antlers!) 

Funny thing about that shot… he’s holding the other guys bolt action rifle, not his gun he used… lol. (He used his AR, in .308! Weird to be hunting with a black rifle, for me, but it works!)

Butchering(warning, slightly graphic);

Brian and Robert getting ready to haul the hide in the mossy area;

Them hauling the head in the burn area;

This next pic is pretty graphic, but I’m proud of it, so I’m posting it.   Shows what the carcass you leave Should look like… ALL meat harvested. Law requires all usable meat be taken, but a lot of guys leave a great deal… We did the legal, and ethical thing and stripped everything. 

All we left was a gut pile, a pile of feet, and that carcass. 

Anyway, great experience,  wonderful time with a good friend,  and a new friend (one of these guys I’d never met till the morning we headed out!) Wouldn’t trade any of it for the world! 

And, he called Friday night, went in to pick up my share of the meat from the processing place yesterday. (more expensive,  but I didn’t have time or the space to butcher and grind that much meat. Costing me abut $1/lb, not bad really), I got 200(!) pounds of meat, plus some tenderloin and heart that didn’t go to the processor. 🙂 😀 😀

We pulled a little over 600 lbs of meat total off the animal. 

After what I’m giving away to friends, and folks I know that had a bad year, that need it more than we do, I’ll end with more than enough for us, will easily last us till next season, at more than two moose meals a week.  

 At this point, I know of 7 families that will be eating from this harvest, and I’m sure the other two guys are giving more away.. GOD IS GOOD!!!

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Guns, Hunting, Journal, Life-Philosophy, Outdoors, Wildlife

White Fang, is that you?

A real thrill I got on this trip, was a little hike into the brush… 

Last Monday(18th) afternoon we were setup sitting on a ridge, waiting to spot a bull they’d seen earlier in the day. And I do mean ridge… only about 100 yards straight up it base to top, but its rise was about 60° or 65° (my best guess) or steeper… strewn with downed trees(previous forest fire burn area), and 3 or 4 years of new growth birch/alder no bigger than your wrist… 

Going up was interesting. 

Coming down was quite honestly downright suicidal. 

I couldn’t make it all the way up, I got about 40 or 50 yards, just high enough to get me above the flat land tree tops to a good valley view…

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They went to the top, and about 1/3 of the way around the hill to my right, better view to the river and further out. 
Hour or so later, just about the time I getcomfortable that I’m not falling off the hill 😉 4 shots from up top.

 Up I get, rifle ready, skoot around the hill a bit, see a big flash of white go down in the brush and small spruce trees about 400 yards out.. I figured it was the white light refection off of an antler palm. 

15 minutes later one buddy goes down past me 30 feet off… I follow. He stops, tells me “no moose” in a wisper. 

Huh. 

He then says “wolf”
“Wanna come along?”

Hell yeah!
Good excuse to get the hell off this suicidal slope before I have to do it at dusk! 😉

Turns out they had watched this lone wolf come in from up country, couple miles out. It was moving slow, looked off… like injured or sick. 

They decided we really didn’t need him in the area, danger to us, and to the game we were stalking, so he took it. Pretty good hitting a moving wolf at 350 ish yards! 

It hadn’t dropped dead though, and kept moving a bit till it stopped…

So, here I am using tracking a wounded predator in the brush, as an excuse to get off a steep hill… lol. Ok, maybe not my smartest move ever. ;)

But I had to go… just one of those cool things you can say you’ve done, ya know? 


If you survive it.. lol. 

Didn’t want him going out to do that alone either..

And it was thrilling, if not a touch frightening. Great experience.

One guy on the ridge, us in the valley, two course corrections waved from the ridge, didn’t take long to find it. Still breathing, back hips broke from the shot. Took two more well placed .308s to kill it. Tough little guy!

Turned out to be a bit scrawny, and when gutted, it’s stomach was Literally empty. 

Good thing I went too, if just to help get it the 1/4 mile back to camp. That wolf had to weigh pretty close to what my buddy does… no way for us to tandem carry it in that brush, he slung it across his shoulders and did it himself, rifle slung around his neck. 

Took us 15 min ish, in a dead straight line, or as close as possible, no stops… he couldn’t or he’d never get going again. 

Pretty good hije for me too, I ended up with my pack on my back as I started, but also with his pack on my chest... Ugh. I don’t recommend that kind of high stepping dense brush, downed tree, mossy ground hiking with weight on your chest. About killed my lungs! Don’t know how he did it with 150lbs of K9 on his shoulders.

Later upon skinning, we found massive trauma to its neck, and shoulders, and one front leg. Puncture wounds in its neck and shoulder, like you’d expect from a fight with other k9s. Wounds only a couple days old if that.

Figure he had a fight in the pack, and lost, got drove out. Smaller animal, probably young. Not acustomed to hunting alone he wasn’t eating, and recovering from wounds, why he moved so slow coming in. 

Honestly I think we did him a favor. Winter is only a couple weeks out up there, if that long.. those wounds, and as thin as he was, I really don’t think he’d have survived the winter. 


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Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Hunting, No-pain-no-gain, Outdoors, Wildlife

Cheap Sunglasses

So, a little gear report from last week’s hunting trip.

More of a gear casualty report than a performance report. The item in question has worked great for about three years, up until we crushed them last Saturday(16th) night.

My most recent, and favorite sunglasses. Dragon Cinch, that I got from user FACE in the 2014 EDCF secret santa. 

REALLY amazing they’ve lasted this long with me already, actually! 

We had an issue with the boat on Saturday evening, suddenly taking on water, so Brian dropped us to just off idle, headed to thensure back where the trouble was, and had me drive. (Turned out a heat exchanger line that pumps river water into the cooler to cool the engine coolant had come off… we were literally pumping water into the boat! Fun. ) 

So, for a few miles of driving I took my shades off as we turned around out of the sun headed back toward the dock… Laid them on the drivers dash. 

Later when he took over, I forgot them there, and to not have anything loose on the dash at speed, he pocketed them thinking they were his. 

I didn’t need them anymore, it was partly overcast and dusk the rest of that day… 

That night we wedged the boat on a sandbar at sundown… in a shallow unreadable section of river. Got it off the sand but couldn’t go anywhere in the dark. 

Slept on the boat that night, tied off to a mud bank. Sleeping pad, bag, and tarp strung over head. (THAT was interesting. I ended up on the river side of the forward deck, a 2″ rail the only thing between me and rolling into the river. Amazingly I got a few hours sleep. Good test of my sleeping bag, there was ice on our gear in the boat the next morning… I was comfortable in my 20° bag, and it was at least down to freezing. )

Anyway, next morning we got going, moving good, into the sun… cant find my glasses. 

Hmm. 

He digs out his shades… but they’re not his. They’re mine. And he slept in his jacket. 

Yup. 

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I dug around and found his in the passenger console, so we didn’t hit anything, and atleast the guy driving could see to navigate… 

I did wear mine the rest of the day, and then again the full day on the river coming home a week later. Found that worn under my headband/hat, that one ear piece wasenough, and the spring hing tension and frame flex held the other side in place fine. Little close to me on that broKen side, fog up fast not in the wind, but it worked, so I didn’t complain!

No fault to anyone in their getting crushed, just one of those things that happens, especially when things get tossed around in an emergency(after all, the boat was sinking! when we both took our glasses off and they got mixed up).

So, first things first after getting home, looked at the brand/model/numbers. Go googling, figure they are so nice I’ll just get another pair. 

No wonder they were so nice, and survived so long with me…New price, $180. 

So much for my usual preference of cheap sunglasses (for this very reason- cheap to replace when they get broke or lost… and it’s a cool song 😉 

Serriously, people pay this for shades? Really? They’re nice, but… I dunno about $200 nice! 

Sorry, just surprised to find out I’ve been wearing fairly expensive shades, I guess.

Ok, so I found some for as low as $75. Not sure I can justify that either. Maybe. Not now anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I like good gear, andheaven knows I have expensive tastes… 
But.. for sunglasses…

Time will tell I guess. 

So anyway, I think I can fix them, a little super glue, and if I can find the packet of blackSugru (that ironically I got in the 2015 EDCFsecret santa!) they should be fine for a while.  ðŸ™‚

Categories: Adventures, Backcountry, Damages, EDC, EDC/MT use, GetOutdoors, Good Times, Hunting, No-pain-no-gain, Sunglasses

Duck, duck, goose?

On the way up the river last Sunday(17th) heading out to moose camp, we kept flushing pairs of ducks on the river, that would fly ahead of us for a ways.

We finally stopped and got out the shotgun that was brought for just that.

A buddy dropped the duck, two shots at 40 or 50 feet from the boat, moving, behind it flying up river, broke both wings, but didn’t kill it.

Duck ended up under some overhanging weeds/grass along the bank… after 3 misses and 4 feed jams I put a round dead center through its neck @ 25 or 30 feet… Was aiming for its head, got its neck. Not fabulous, but pretty damn good I think for a hiding, moving, camouflaged duck, from a bobbing, drifting boat!! :D

Need to give that Ruger MKII a good cleaning again, and play with the mags… It’s been stove piping on fed rounds or just not closing on a round, or not stripping rounds from the mag, off and on for a while.

I *think* the problem is the mag springs are weakened from being loaded 24/7/365 for the last decade… Because, half the time when I clear it, the next round is down a space in the mag, not pushed up to top..

Dad had that .22 for probably close to 20 years, only ever for plinking. I’ve had it for 6 years, carried it for grouse while big game hunting two seasons, and have intended it for hiking carry for small game all year…

First time it’s ever been fired at game, and first kill for it.

Technically, that’s My fist kill of anything besides fish…

No pics of the duck, but here is the goose he winged a couple miles later. It dropped/died clean, no .22 required.

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Not the exact spot, but a similar stretch of the river to where they were taken.

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And both cooking, made a great first days camp dinner!! My first ever wild goose, and wild duck. Evenbetter when I got to help harvest the dinner!

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Really was super tasty! Especially after the mishaps and adventure we had getting there… but that’s a story for another post. ;)

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Guns, Hunting

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