Sunday, October 17, 2010
Back from Afognak with Elk
Yesterday we got back to Kodiak from Afognak on the Alpha Centuri with 2 elk on board. A successful trip! While there we found 2 different herds of elk and saw elk on 6 of the 7 days we were hunting. But something seemed to go wrong every time we stalked an elk and it was not until the last day that we harvested our 2 cows and carried them back to the boat. Compared to hunts past it was a relatively easy elk haul - about a mile and a half with a 1/4 mile 400 vertical climb at the start and then a 1800 foot drop down to the beach. We got the elk back to the boat just as the light failed and did not have to use headlamps - a welcome change from years past!
Since we did not get our elk until the last day we did a LOT of hiking. I don't think we have ever covered more country in search of elk. We split into 2 parties to cover more country and camped in the high country between bays so we could glass for elk at dawn. We learned that elk herds round up every morning at 10:30 AM sharp and with a lot of whistling move off in a line to bed down. So you got to be looking for them before 10:30 AM. We also saw more bears than ever before - at least 3 or 4 EVERY day. And Justin and I had a very hairy experience when we surprised a sow with 3 cubs in the trees and she charged us - I am ashamed to admit I hid behind Justin as we backpedaled with the snarling, jaw-snapping bear approaching. All and All an exciting and successful trip! Patrick