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Alaska

Alaska Road Rules

When you spend a week in a motor home flyfishing in Alaska on a tight budget, you learn the rules of the road in a hurry.

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The Ghost of Sheep River

The sight of a Dall sheep ram is enough to haunt a hunter. Find out just how grueling, seemingly impossible, and rewarding a sheep hunt can be.

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  • May 12, 2013

    Bush Planes: Accessing Alaska

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    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    No trip to Alaska is complete without at least one ride in a vintage bush plane. Even today, these Super Cubs, Taylorcrafts, Beavers, and Otters DeHavillands play a vital role in transportation, freight, and even serve as a lifeline to countless rural Alaskans.

    There are numerous rogue pilots in the state flying less-than-certified airplanes. However, the vast majority of licensed aircraft companies offer immaculately maintained planes with some of the most experienced bush pilots in the world. You will find a plethora of these pilots and vintage wilderness aircraft just 10 miles from my home at the Talkeetna airport. Check out Talkeetna Air Taxi’s web site and the live web cam of the Alaska Range here. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 11, 2013

    Building Cabins Off The Grid

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    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    If you’re a second or third generation Alaskan, you most likely have a family cabin tucked away somewhere in the wilderness. Many are homesteads settled during the 60s through the early 80s, or the land was simply purchased and a family built a structure over time.

    Cabins can be anywhere, on lakes, rivers, or just sitting on a hill with a view of the mountains. It’s romantic to think of a floatplane pulling up to a majestic log building with a view of glacier. And although they do exist, it’s more likely you'll access the 16 x 20 foot post building by snow machine (no Alaskan would call it a snow mobile) 10 miles from a main road. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 10, 2013

    Video: Eagles Descend on Fish-Filled Pickup in Alaska

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    By David Maccar

    Only in Alaska. Police had to be called to a Safeway parking lot last week when a flock of eagles descended and feasted on garbage bags of fish product stashed in the bed of a pickup truck.

    "One of our officers went over there and there were 40 eagles sitting on, in, and around several vehicles in the area," said Public Safety Director Jamie Sunderland. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 10, 2013

    Loaded For Bear: Choosing a Shotgun and Shell Combo for Alaska

    By Phil Bourjaily

    You can argue—and many do—that pepper spray is a more effective bear stopper than any gun. We’ll leave that aside for now, because this blog is not called “The Spray Nut.” Instead, we’ll assume you have already debated guns vs. pepper spray and opted for a gun. (Or you may decide to carry both.)

    Not surprisingly, I would tell you to take a shotgun over a handgun. Shotgun slugs have about three times the muzzle energy of a .44 magnum and make much bigger holes. Unless you are a practiced handgunner, a .44 magnum is a difficult gun to shoot straight—even at a very big target. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 10, 2013

    The Edge of Darkness

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    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    As I write this installment of Living in Alaska, it is May 9 and here above latitude 62, the sunlight will be a generous 17.5 hours. The sun will rise at 5:13 a.m. and set at 10:39 p.m. What you may not realize is that there is plenty of added bonus light because of the extraordinarily slow sunrise and sunsets. Referred to by the government as Civil Twilight, first light actually begins at 4:02 a.m. and ends at 11:51 p.m. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 10, 2013

    Fish Alaska for a Buck: Trade a Guide for a Whitetail Hunting Trip

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    By Scott Bestul

    No, not “buck” as in a dollar. You can’t do much of anything in Alaska for a dollar. But you might be able to save a whole bunch of money chasing trout, salmon, or halibut if you have access to some good whitetail hunting. I know because I’ve done it, and if you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend Greg Brush, owner of EZ Limit Guide Service in Soldotna, AK. That’s him in the photos.

    Greg and I met on a bowhunt a few years back, and that’s when I learned he’s nuts about whitetails, which are damned rare near his home. So every fall he travels somewhere in the Lower 48 to chase deer. And to save money, he tries to swap a guided fishing trip in Alaska for a whitetail hunt. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 10, 2013

    5 Memorable Alaskan Meals

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    By David Draper

    As an outdoorsman from The Outside (that is, the Lower 48), I’ve been blessed to have visited Alaska about a dozen times. Admittedly, more than half of those occasions were work trips scheduled in early March when there isn’t a lot for an uninitiated outdoorsman to do. Those times my coworkers and I would retreat to a good dive bar (generally Darwin’s Theory in downtown Anchorage) filled with friendly locals and spend our off hours listening to their stories of lives spent in the Last Frontier.

    Since then, those tales, told over stiff drinks, inspired several trips of my own, and I’ve now hunted or fished Alaska five different times—from the Kenai to the Noatak to Montague and Kodiak. It seems like I’m always somewhere between reminiscing/recovering from my last trip and planning the next. Through all these adventures, I’ve managed to have more than a few memorable meals. Here are my five favorites, in rough order of overall epic-ness: [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 9, 2013

    Hunting in Alaska: Which Rifle to Bring?

    By David E. Petzal

    The question is not so much what you’ll be hunting as, will you be in bear country? I have hunted caribou in Alaska with a .270, .270 WSM, and 7mm Weatherby Magnum, and all three did fine. Except that, on the hunt where I had the 7mm, I was checked out by a young boar grizzly, who seemed to find the guide, my friend, and me mildly disappointing and wandered away. If he had been a mature boar grizzly, I might have wished for a much bigger rifle.

    I’ve known, personally, two guides who had to kill bears (one a brown, the other a grizzly) who were trying to do the same to them. One guide did the job himself with a .416 wildcat. The other guide had a .44 Magnum revolver, and the attack took place very suddenly over the disputed carcass of a caribou. The guide told me that if his client had not stood his ground and shot very quickly and very accurately with a .338, he might not be there to tell me the story. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 9, 2013

    The Alaska Salmon Bind

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    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    Few experiences can equal the first time you view a river filled with giant crimson salmon. The arresting image is simply what Alaska is all about.

    Salmon are an inextricable link to Alaskan culture and, even today, to the survival to its people. Alaskan residents are the only non-Native Americans allowed to subsistence-fish during a salmon run. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 8, 2013

    Bears: The Alaskan Fact of Life

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    There is no telling how many bears walk within a mile of my home. I readily find both black and grizzly sign nearby. Grizzlies seem to want to shy away from the house, although blacks are far more curious.

    Two summers ago, at around 9 p.m., I heard a single round discharged from what sounded like a large-caliber gun. My retriever barked once, looked up at me to see if we were going somewhere, and went back to sleep. That sounded close, I thought. Fifteen minutes later, a neighbor knocked on my door. He introduced himself and said, “I understand you’re a hunter. I don’t know what to do with this bear I just shot. Can you lend a hand?” [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 8, 2013

    Moose Mount Gets Place on Navy's Newest Warship

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    By CJ Lotz


    A 65-inch bull moose mount will adorn a space aboard the U.S. Navy's newest warship, the USS Anchorage.

    The 100-pound shoulder mount was donated by Anchorage resident Lex Patten, who shot the moose in 1990 on a hunt with his late father, Allen. "It was the last moose hunt I went on with my dad," he said. "[Dad] insisted on packing out the antlers, about a mile, and he did. He was 73 at the time." [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 8, 2013

    10 Reasons Why Alaska Should Top the Serious Fly Angler's "Bucket List"

    By Kirk Deeter

    I often get asked the following hypothetical question: "If you had one day to fish anywhere in the world, where would it be?"

    My answer is always the same: Alaska.

    Granted, I still have much that I want to explore. And I have been fortunate enough to experience and write about some amazing places, from the virgin jungles of Guyana and Bolivia, to the austral settings in Tierra del Fuego, to the tradition-laden rivers of Ireland, to the sun-drenched flats in the Bahamas and Central America. But Alaska remains my top choice, and here are my 10 reasons why: [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 8, 2013

    Recipe: Alaskan Crab-Stuffed Blacktail Backstrap

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    By David Draper

    Last fall, I was lucky enough to finally fulfill my dream of hunting Sitka blacktail deer on Kodiak Island. The trip was pure Alaska: rough-water beach landings, white-knuckle bush plane rides, brown bear encounters, whale sightings, and mountain vistas so magnificent I won’t even try to describe them here.

    And, of course, the food.

    You might think it would be hard to eat well on boat with a galley the size of a closet, but with the help of Camp Chef’s Steve McGrath, we dined mighty fine. It didn’t hurt we had access to some incredibly fresh protein, including blacktail deer and tanner crab plucked from the Gulf of Alaska just hours earlier. [ Read Full Post ]

  • May 7, 2013

    Slide Show: 48 Aerial Photos From The Last Frontier

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    By Tim Romano

    I've been to Alaska twice. Both times I was there for the fishing and to shoot photographs for work. Both times all I wanted to do was get back in the airplane or helicopter that was providing me transport and just keep flying. Don't get me wrong, the fishing was amazing, but there's nothing like flying a few hundred feet above the Alaskan wilderness in an fixed-wing aircraft with the windows down or a helicopter with the doors off. It's spectacular country that words and photos can't do justice. Here are 48 images that at least attempt to show you the last frontier from a bird's eye view. Enjoy.

    [ Read Full Post ]

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