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Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure.

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Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure.
Dani's pictures from Churchill inspired me to make a trip to look for bears I've been talking about for years. Rumor has it that there are a couple of places were big grizzlies come to get late run salmon in November. I have a tag and the season is still on so I decided to go with the intent to take pictures and if a bruiser showed himself I'd consider shooting him. Here's few pics.

On the way out of town I was scouting for bison and elk for another day and saw two wolves moving along the edge of the trees, so I shot the bigger one of the two. Since my dog is 85lbs, I estimate this guy to be 100lbs, which is not the biggest wolf ever, but a real interesting color for sure. Residents are allowed to shoot 7 each per year, and especially in the elk herd core hunters are encouraged to shoot wolves. I've seen a few over the years but never shot one before. Not sure what I'm going to do with this hide.

I stopped in a friend's place for the night and we skinned it out right away.




The next day I was up before dawn and headed down the Haines Highway. I must have been the first vehicle down that section as the grouse were plentiful where the highways guys had sanded.




There is a culvert under the road that is a good spot to see spawning salmon in the summer so I stopped and saw bear tracks right away. Bear tracks are really easy to follow in snow. I followed them for a while to the Native fish camp. The people were long gone.



This is a rubbing tree. Bears mark territory in a couple of ways. Some trees get clawed and bit, others get rubbed on. There were three different bears in the area according to the tracks, and all converged on this one tree to mark it. That's the bears trail leading to the lake.



Close up.


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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Zombie fish.





I poked around in that spot for an hour but never did see any bears, so I headed a different direction that took me past a hill where the sheep get together this time of year for sex and sports. Their rut is just beginning and all the young punks were there bugging ewes, but no mature rams so no classic full speed ahead head butting. Maybe in one more week? When they really get all horned up and fight you can hear the smack from a long way off. It sounds like a shotgun in the distance.




A ewe and lamb. They sure do get fuzzy in the winter.



Two sheep beds overlooking a river plain. You can totally smell them when you find a spot like this, and they smell just like farm sheep.


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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Beautiful pictures and sounds like it was still an awesome day!
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
The second bear spot on the Kluane River. From here I could see lots of eagles hanging around back channels feeding on dead salmon and decided to get a closer look.



Sure enough, a fresh track.



I followed the track as far as I could before he went across a channel too deep for me. With binos I could see where he'd sat and ate fish but could not find that bear. The day was getting late and I had a long way to go so I pulled the pin and said goodbye to the bears.

Its a ways between stops on the Alaska Highway, and you know its a good place to eat if people drive tractors all the way there.






Along Kluane (kloo-onee) Lake.



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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Today was nice and sunny and one of the CO's told me of a decent grizzly he saw hanging around bison gut piles up an old road, so off we went.



My friend and I saw a few birds along the way.



Spruce hens are not the wariest bird in the world.



This time of year, with the snow cover, its essential that the grouse find an exposed gravel source for their gizzards. You can see that this spot was heavily used.



We went to where the CO had last seen that bear (6 days ago), but couldn't pick up a track so that's it for bear hunting 2013 I'm afraid. I passed up 6 bears this spring and three this fall so I don't feel too bad at all. I had wanted to not harvest one until the end of the season so that's the way it goes.



Thanks,

Mike
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
great pics. my favorite is the second bear spot photo, the girls like the wolf photo.
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Great story Mike.
Thanks for taking the time to share your hunts.

Capt. John
SEATRACKS Outdoor Adventures
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Thanks for all those pictures, Mike. A beautiful time of the year. I love that Kluane Lake country. I remember seeing my first dall sheep there when I was heading for Anchorage, AK back in 1966. I think you had a fantastic year. Keep warm.
Al
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Mike,
Thanks for sharing those photos. I think this looks like a good place for a cabin, provided it comes with a big stack of firewood. :>) :>)




Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA. ,,,,,, "As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats." Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Very cool
______________________________________________
It's all about the doin'


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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Holly Molly!!!!!!!!!!!
Sportfishing spring thru fall and gunnig Sea Duck, Puddlers, Divers and Geese all season long. Call me at 1-631-668-5741 http://www.windyducks.com
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
You put a few miles on that drive, great write-up! I was enchanted by the color of Kluane Lake, I had wanted to catch a laker out of that lake in the worse way. Ever fish it?
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Just another routine day in the life of Yukon Mike :-) Yaaa; a day that many of us would gladly share. I've fished that lake and had breakfast at that ? resort. A $5.00 bowel of oatmeal with a big pad of butter in the middle on the way to Anchorage. Great memories.Thanks for a great post Mike!
wis boz

Last edited by:

wis boz: Nov 10, 2013, 9:29 AM
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Great photos. And nice wolf. I would love to shoot one of those.
I would love a pelt..
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Jay, a good way to get a good deal on a wolf pelt, or any fur, is to contact a Trappers Association directly. Collectors often are looking for fur that the garment industry isn't interested in. Like this wolf is considered off color because most wolf fur is used for trim so the really pale ones do best at the auctions. I often go into the depot here near Christmas and sometimes there are some really good deals on unusual colored stuff.

Mike
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Not yet. It is a beautiful lake isn't it? In 20 years that's only the second time I've ever been near Kluane Lake and my first trip to Burwash. I actually turned around at the Donjek River, but that's a pretty long drive.

Mike
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Yeah Mike,
I used to go on a Montana hunt every year, (for 10 yrs). One year we stopped at a place that specialized in stuff like that. I think the name of the place was "Antler Art" located in Livingston, Mt.. (But I'm not so sure? I Need to look it up), the shop owner had a wolf pelt and he wanted $600 for it. And it was slightly damaged. I wasn't sure if that price was because he knew I was from NY? Lol.
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
That is a very interesting trip.
Nice wolf. I'm hoping for one like that now that wolves as legal game here in SD. No we don't really have any but they are legal now. :)

Tim
-----------------------------------------------------------------
"Ah Nuts!"

http://snipehunterfishart.blogspot.com/
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to

In Reply To
Not yet. It is a beautiful lake isn't it? In 20 years that's only the second time I've ever been near Kluane Lake and my first trip to Burwash. I actually turned around at the Donjek River, but that's a pretty long drive.

Mike



Get that lake dialed in for trolling and send me an invite once you have the big slobs in there figgured out :). Lakers have a special spot in my heart, but I've never fished where there were real honest to goodness slobs to catch. I will one day.
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Mike that looks like a great trip you made. Glad you got out and shared the pictures with us. That's a very pretty wolf you've got there too. Have you decided what to do with his hide yet? Do you eat the meat? I've heard coyote is good. Or can be. I know mountain lion is delicious.

Is there a difference in tanning hides by different animal or are they all pretty much the same process?

Gorgeous country you've got there. Would love to make it up your way to visit sometime. But great pictures you posted and looks like a fun trip.

Dani
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Hi Dani,

For now he's rolled up in the freezer while I try and decide what to do with him. Top dollar for a wolf like that would be in the $500 - 600 range, but only if someone wanted it for a mount or rug. I don't need a wolf rug, but I might prepare the hide for that, drape it over my favorite chair, and go look for a bigger/better one. When the hunters come up in the fall, there's always a few guys looking for a wolf hide to take back with them.

I took the back straps off the carcass with the intent of giving them a try. I just got off the phone with our wolf biologist and sounds like if I follow regular food safe handling techniques I'll be good to go. I'm not sure I've ever eaten a dog type critter before, but I agree with you, cats are pretty good. I've had mountain lion and lynx and found them quite tasty. Not that I'd want 100lbs of wolf sausage but it seems like a shame to not even try it when I got to do the meat handling myself. When I've gotten meat from a trapper I always wonder if they were careful about the meat handling when their main interest is in the fur.

Tanning is tanning, the difference is in the thickness of the hide and what kid of finished leather you want. Thick skinned critters need extra care to make them soft, whereas thin skinned things are easier.

You are always invited to come up for an adventure sometime.

Mike
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
I'll be very interested to hear how you think the wolf meat tastes. Even what recipe you used, in case I ever decide I need to get a coyote.

Enjoy the wolf skin draped across your chair....it's a pretty one.
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to

In Reply To
I poked around in that spot for an hour but never did see any bears, so I headed a different direction that took me past a hill where the sheep get together this time of year for sex and sports. Their rut is just beginning and all the young punks were there bugging ewes, but no mature rams so no classic full speed ahead head butting. Maybe in one more week? When they really get all horned up and fight you can hear the smack from a long way off. It sounds like a shotgun in the distance.

Mike, I am pretty sure that ram looking back at you is full curl. His tips appear to point up and flare just a little. But then what do I know. After my first sheep hunt this summer spent second guessing every ram I saw, I can fully understand why people pass up lots of rams until they see one that is obvious. Getting close to finishing writing that story. For the wolf hide, have you considered making pillows? A lady up here will take a tanned hide from a hunter and make throw pillows for the couch. Most of her work is with caribou, but she has made some wolf and bear pillows. No word on how often peoples dogs eat those pillows. With all our rain this fall - more to come on top of the snow and ice we now have - I never found the motivation to go looking for a black bear.



"Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much......It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf." -- Walter Lippmann
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Thanks for the photo journey.
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Mike, Thanks for sharing your part of the country. It sure is fun to see. In Minn we now can shoot wolves but the wolf huggers are trying their best to make sure there is a wolf in every yard eating pets. Really appreciate your pictures and story.
"There is nothing- absolutly nothing half as much worth doing as messing about in boats or with boats. In or out of 'em, doesn't matter." Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

Shiny side up,
Wicker T, Booker T & Charlie Brown
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Re: Took a little road trip. No ducks for sure. In reply to
Beautiful pictures great job.