November 06, 2012
A Box of Alaska’s Bounty: Blacktails and Crab
By David Draper
I spent the last week anchored off the southwest coast of Alaska’s Kodiak Island aboard the 50-foot Sundy. Our group of media and manufacturers was there to hunt the island’s blacktail deer and test out some great gear from Browning, Cabela’s, Camp Chef, Columbia, and Winchester. But Alaska, being the bountiful state it is, offers so much more and, as you can see from this photo of the treasure chest I brought home, we took full advantage.
On day one, we and our companion boat, the 43-foot Arctic Endeavor, dropped crab pots before steaming a couple hours south to a bay we were hoping would be full of blacktails. While everyone did see deer there, only I managed to connect with a buck before rising seas drove us to more protected waters. Over the course of the next several days, most of our group managed to tag at least one deer and we ended up with an equal mix of bucks and does, all of which got butchered on the Sundy’s back deck, processed, and packaged.
A few of the group spent some time halibut fishing, and I’m glad they did as that added to our bounty—as did the pots full of tanner crab we pulled the next to last day of the trip. What we didn’t eat fresh that night on the boat went into the onboard freezer. (And trust me, we tried to eat it all as you can see from thepicture of the Doug Jeanneret from the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance tucking into a second, or maybe third, helping).
On the day after the scheduled last day of our trip (we got weathered in for about 24 hours due to high winds), we got the call that the bush planes were on their way from Kodiak, which started a mad scramble to get everything out of the freezer and into waxed boxes for the trip home. The process wasn’t quite the calm assembly line we had planned, but it got done and we made it to the gravel air strip, just as the first plane was landing. Two days later, the box and I (and a duffel of smelly hunting clothes), finally made it home, where I’m planning to have many friends over for a surf and turf dinner of Alaskan proportions.