Howard Delo

We’re halfway through the summer fishing season with the closure of king season tomorrow and I haven’t gone once! I hope the improving trend we’re seeing this year continues into future years. I enjoy king salmon fishing, but not when the population numbers are down. In those years, we need all the broodstock we can get!

So, what have I been up to if I haven’t been fishing? I’m working on post-earthquake organization and clean-up in the house. My biggest “problem” so far is remembering where I put stuff when I first started cleaning up. Take scotch tape for example. I know exactly where it lived in my office before the quake. Now I can’t find it for love nor money!

The good thing about this confusion is that, when looking for one item, I’m finding other stuff I don’t remember even having. It’s almost like Christmas in July!

More inside

I mentioned a while back that my hunting partner, Gnarly Dan, and I had applied for a permit for the Talkeetna Mountains caribou hunt and that we were drawn. We’re starting to get organized for going in late August.

I was chasing buying a satellite phone at one point, but the reality is than renting is a much cheaper option for this hunt. I need to call and make a reservation to rent a phone. We’re also looking at using a recommended air taxi to put us and our camp in the area. That phone call is in the works as well.

We will have made our first trip to the shooting range by the time you read this. I’m bringing two rifles hunting, and so is Gnarly. With the tentative dates we’ve decided on, we can potentially take caribou, moose, black bear, brown bear, and Dall’s sheep – all of which are available in the area we will be hunting.

Gnarly is bringing a new, custom, Marlin 45-70 lever-action and a 30-06 bolt action rifle, in case shot opportunities are beyond around 150-yards. I’m planning to bring two bolt-action rifles, one in 7-08 and the second my tried and true custom 7x57. Both are stainless with synthetic stocks just in case the weather goes south on us.

My 7x57 firearm was my go-to rifle the last several years I hunted deer on Afognak Island. I have a good hunting load for it, and I know what it can do. The 7-08 is a newer factory gun I haven’t used before.

We’ll be focused on caribou initially because of the drawing permits. Second priority will be moose, then probably black bear and sheep. Brown bear is my last priority, but I’ll shoot one if necessary. We’re figuring on maybe a little bird hunting too, primarily as camp meat, unless we both luck out and harvest our animals early in the hunt. We’re both opportunistic hunters so, while I’ve lined out a priority list, we’ll take whatever offers a good opportunity.

We’re getting into the part of the hunt I enjoy almost as much as the actual hunt itself – planning! We’ll be discussing what gear to bring, who has what and who’s stuff we’ll use.

Since we’re both a little older, we’re looking at this as possibly the last time we’ll be able to make a trip like this – a fly-in, backpack hunt. We’re planning on having a nice, comfortable base camp, working from it for day trips. Gnarly was able to borrow a nice canvas wall tent complete with a wood stove heater. Since it always seems to rain during hunting season, we’re looking at having a warm, dry place to return to each evening.

Much of the time will be spent spotting for game from a good vantage point. We both have good spotting scopes and binoculars. The plan is to formulate a stalk if an animal is spotted from our observation point. Despite my ankle and knee, I can walk fairly well, but I’m slow compared to most. Gnarly has a few replacement parts as well, so the geezer brigade lumbers on!

Gnarly is a great camp cook and I can wash a mean dish and we both can work on collecting firewood. Gnarly is a retired pastor, so we always end up having interesting conversations about the Bible and life in general. He has a great sense of humor and we tend to laugh a lot. Meshing with your hunting partner’s personality and having similar interests and life views are some of the more critical things necessary to enjoy a hunt!

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