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WH Journal #6434268
01/19/19 11:06 PM
01/19/19 11:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
I have had so much fun reading journals from guys like Bushman and AK Howler - super interesting, informative, and a heck of a lot more entertaining than watching TV.

Decided to start my own. Hope you guys enjoy...

I'm just currently working on starting my own small bit of trapping here on the Peninsula. It won't be any kind of "line" (more like finding a "niche" or a couple of random spots) - at least for this year, but it will be a start. It would be "like a dream" to catch a first wolf, or wolverine - two species I have never caught before. They would go great with my "collection" - which I will show you later.

So - in the process of gathering bait. Scouting spots. Getting my boat up, and operational. Possibly looking for a snow machine. Getting traps and gear in order. I'm getting poised to place bait. Could use a little fresh snow as the hard crust isn't exactly conducive for tracks. The good thing is, it's about hard enough to support my incredible bulk!


Last edited by Wolverine Hunter; 03/10/19 05:48 AM.
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434299
01/19/19 11:47 PM
01/19/19 11:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

I will start with this fun memory from my last trapping season in Minnesota a few years ago. I was doing a nuisance beaver job for a couple who were getting lots of beaver damaging the trees in their yard at night. I learned about the opportunity from a friend of a friend. I called, and they asked me to come right over. They showed me their property lines. At the base of their lot was this huge beaver lodge - that had been there a long time. I had a few hours before dark, and I hit it full force with #330 Conibear. During the night, there was a big snowstorm. The critters really moved, and the next morning - my traps were full. I don't know how many beaver were in that hut, but I caught 6 beaver and 3 otter the first night. I may have caught more, but that was all the traps I had time to put in. I reset everything, and the next morning, I had five more beaver and another otter. The couple then called the trapping to a halt. They had agreed to pay me $50 per beaver, but didn't expect me to catch that many, that fast. Personally, when I laid eyes on that hut - I knew there were a lot of beaver in there, and I was fairly drooling at the prospect. I think the couple was also sorry to see the otter go. I was not targeting them, but there wasn't much I could do as the family moved in, and were all over the hut and the entrances. The one that didn't get caught the first night, came back the second night.
The "grandpa and grandma" beavers of the hut were 63# and 56# respectively. I also caught numerous two year olds, and surprisingly, no kits. The photo is a favorite trapping photo of mine. The hut with the deep, clingy snow, the gear, and the first four catches was really picturesque. To top it off, I had two nephews who are "apprenticing" with me, and they shared the set and the catch with me.

Last edited by Wolverine Hunter; 03/10/19 05:49 AM.
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434346
01/20/19 12:29 AM
01/20/19 12:29 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

The "nephews" on that same day, with one of the grandparents. They aren't really my nephews - they are sons of a best friend from high school. But they call me "Uncle Tim" and I call them whatever comes to mind at the time. These two have been tromping in the woods with me since their mother would let them. Seems like many, many years. They will grow up to be trappers, and we will keep this important tradition alive!

Teased this giant beaver into a small bank location about a hundred yards from the main lodge. Used castor from a mature beaver from a different colony, mixed with glycerine, and made into a puree. Put that upwind of the big hut, with a few fresh cuttings. Sucked that big momma right in!

Last edited by Wolverine Hunter; 01/20/19 12:31 AM.
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434369
01/20/19 01:24 AM
01/20/19 01:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

The first thing I really "got into" here was bear hunting. It was the easiest thing to do, for a nonresident hunter waiting to become a resident. I've harvested quite a few blackies over the years - but all were average sized bears, on the beach, until this one. When I started really glassing this particularly big bruin that was up in the alpine, and typically doing the same thing, in the same area, every day. This hunt was quite the saga - more than I really want to write right now, but the whole thing took me two days, alone, to climb up, stalk, harvest the bear, break it down, and get it back down to my boat. The hide now adorns my banister. The skull is being bleached for display. And, I just ate bear chili with cornbread. YUM!


Last edited by Wolverine Hunter; 03/10/19 05:52 AM.
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434370
01/20/19 01:31 AM
01/20/19 01:31 AM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
Posco Offline
trapper
Posco  Offline
trapper

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
Great pic. I had never had bear stay that stationary.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434378
01/20/19 02:09 AM
01/20/19 02:09 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
Posco- lots of alpine berries. More than a herd of bears could eat in that one spot. Maybe more berries per square inch than I have ever seen anytime, anywhere. This one would waddle up out of the alders and turn on the vacuum. He would spend all day, and hardly move. His hind quarters and guts were so big, he was nearly dragging on the ground. He would lay down and eat. Fall asleep there too, I think. I work on the water, and have lots of time to observe. This went on for a couple weeks. I needed a day off, with the right kind of wind and weather. It all came together rather nicely. In the photo, the hind quarters look so big - the skull looks small - but, biologist says over ten years old, and the biggest skull he measured in many years.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434652
01/20/19 11:17 AM
01/20/19 11:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,242
juneau, alaska
A
alaska viking Online content
"Made it two years not being censored"
alaska viking  Online Content
"Made it two years not being censored"
A

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,242
juneau, alaska
Good stories, WH. Welcome to Tman.


Occasional Wolverine Pincher

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434821
01/20/19 02:19 PM
01/20/19 02:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

I did quite a bit of research. It would appear that certain areas in Alaska could really use a good trapping supply house - and yet, were are they? I find places with a little of this, and a little of that (Cabelas or Kachemak Gear Shed)- but not a one-stop-shop. I talked to several guys on T-man - and they are ordering supplies from the lower 48, or making their own. Shipping becomes crazy expensive - but if they can ship from the lower 48 - why not from AK? Anyway - the solution for me was - a good bunch of my traps migrated with me from MN up to AK after a visit for the Christmas holiday. For future reverence, if you want to keep it under 50 pounds, you get a suitcase this size, and put in 8 Belisle #330, a few odds and ends, and there you go! TSA gets to see something they don't get to see every day (those bored sons of B's need variety I say), and I have instant seasoned traps to work with. Everybody should be happy!

Last edited by Wolverine Hunter; 03/10/19 05:54 AM.
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434900
01/20/19 03:40 PM
01/20/19 03:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
Posco Offline
trapper
Posco  Offline
trapper

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
330s as overhead luggage? That's hardcore.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434951
01/20/19 04:38 PM
01/20/19 04:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 470
AK
F
FL cracker in AK Offline
trapper
FL cracker in AK  Offline
trapper
F

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 470
AK
Behind Boondocks gun shop in Eagle River, there is a trapping store. If it is locked, the guy who runs it is probably in Boondocks helping sale guns. Just go in Boondocks and ask for him.


Psalm 34:6
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6434954
01/20/19 04:39 PM
01/20/19 04:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 470
AK
F
FL cracker in AK Offline
trapper
FL cracker in AK  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 470
AK
I always stop in when I fly to the road system to get supplies.


Psalm 34:6
Re: WH Journal [Re: FL cracker in AK] #6435001
01/20/19 05:48 PM
01/20/19 05:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
Thanks for the heads up. I don't get up that way much, but do occasionally. Will have to check it out and see what they have if I need something in a pinch.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6436168
01/21/19 06:16 PM
01/21/19 06:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

Life "on the edge" of wilderness. I know, its not way up north - but it IS wilderness, it's what I've got, for now, and I'm happy with it. This is the view off our deck.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6436182
01/21/19 06:25 PM
01/21/19 06:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
Yesterday afternoon, I got out for a very chilly ride on my ATV. I followed snow machines that had gone on before me, packed things down, and "paved my way." If I got off the track, the snow was deep, and I got stuck a couple of times - especially at higher altitudes. It took some muscling things around to get out, but I was able. Wound up putting about 35 miles on the ATV in just a few hours. Some areas had better rabbit sign than others. The crust made it really difficult to decipher predator tracks - but I know I saw coyote and lynx tracks. Lots and lots of moose sign. On the way home, I came across a herd of at least a dozen moose wintering amongst the willows. Several were younger bulls - and it appeared to be primarily a "bachelor group." There was one big old bull who had HUGE pedicels, but no antlers, and the pedicels weren't bloody. But it still made me want to go shed hunting. A very chilly me didn't stop for pics. I was bent on a hot shower, and my phone battery was toast anyway - from the cold. But here's a cool moose shot from a walk the other night - when my wife and I took our three "knuckleheads" for a run down on the beach.

Got a dusting of snow this am. Perhaps more at higher altitudes. Sort of excited for Wednesday - my next chance to scout for at least a half day, and maybe decipher some fresh tracks, and species.

[Linked Image]

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6436853
01/22/19 02:43 PM
01/22/19 02:43 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 22
Saskatchewan Canada
T
trappin moose Offline
trapper
trappin moose  Offline
trapper
T

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 22
Saskatchewan Canada
Nice pics WH. Keep us posted and congrats on getting out there!


Be excellent to eachother
Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6442295
01/27/19 05:39 PM
01/27/19 05:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
Yesterday was my first day of "recon" out in the boat. This is my rig, with the new lid... [Linked Image]

I went across with bait, some traps and tools and supplies, a can-do attitude, and a canoe. YES, a CANOE. You hard core Alaskans, go ahead and have your fun. I can take your ribbing. We folks with roots in the lower 48 have found lots of use for them - from exploring the boundary waters canoe wilderness in Northern Mn, to the Quetico Wilderness in Ontario, to waterfowl hunting rice beds and rivers, to the trapline. They are part of a "way of life" for us down there, just like your skiff is up here. Hey - what did our trapping forefathers use all across Canada and the lower 48, when it was first being discovered? It may not be ideal, but it serves a purpose. I use mine as a "dingy" for getting me back and forth to shore, when I am going to be on shore for awhile, and I need to moor my boat in deeper water. This would be for hiking, berry picking, and bear hunting in spring, summer and fall. Yesterday, I used mine for the first time in winter. As you will see, it was definitely ideal, but it was a kind of a "life saver." Nonetheless, it has me rethinking my future adventures. I'll take your input.

[Linked Image]

I arrived at low tide. Moored my boat in one foot of water at noon. High tide was 6:30. I planned to be back by 4:00 ish. I took the canoe and loaded my supplies into it. Then waded up a small river that flowed out of the mountains, pulling the canoe with a rope. When I got above the tideline, I ditched the canoe, and continued in on foot. The above is sort of what the surrounding country looks like. Thick willows, alder and devils club right along the river. Mature conifers on the flat leading to the side hill. Then the side hills roll, sometimes going straight up, sometimes bumpy - going up to mountains that are 2-3,000 feet, maybe a little more.

[Linked Image]

Right off the bat, I ran into wolf tracks. After hiking for the day, it looks like a pair of wolves came through two or three times. I saw old old, medium old, and fairly fresh. With no snow on the beach, I could find tracks in the areas that had loose sand and mud on the river bank, and in the braids and tidal backwaters. I had a few photos of tracks with my 50# Gordon Setters tracks right beside, for reference, but they won't load. I will have to find a way to reduce the size of the photo. Some photos work, and some don't. I'm not quite as savvy yet as JR or Bushman.

Further up, we ran into snow. Deep snow in the river flats. Not so bad in the mature forest, but it varied. Believe it or not, the crusted snow was hard enough to support my #230 pounds most of the time, but there was some breaking through at times, which was exhausting - up to mid-thigh. BTW you guys in the know - what are the big huge trees on the flats? They are conifer, and covered with hanging moss. The are at the heads of all the bays and mature forest on the other side. Varying sizes.

[Linked Image]

Pausing for a break on a frozen stream bed. Recon can be hard work. And overdressed - I was sweating a bit. My sidekick is Sam Elliott. Sammy for short. or "Sammy me boy." He's named after the actor. He was having a ball running around when I let him, but I was mostly careful. I didn't want him running into someones #330 unknowingly - so I kept him close. At one point, Sam got his long feathered tail caught up in a stem of devils club. I lost track of him, and looked back and there he was, stuck but good! I should have taken a picture but I didn't. He wasn't going anywhere. I wonder if that ever happens to wolves, coyotes, or fox?

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6442340
01/27/19 06:23 PM
01/27/19 06:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
Posco Offline
trapper
Posco  Offline
trapper

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,913
Maine, Aroostook
Originally Posted by Wolverine Hunter
[Linked Image]

Life "on the edge" of wilderness. I know, its not way up north - but it IS wilderness, it's what I've got, for now, and I'm happy with it. This is the view off our deck.


Nothing to be apologetic about, there are a lot worse places a guy can be.

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6442343
01/27/19 06:25 PM
01/27/19 06:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
W
Wolverine Hunter Offline OP
trapper
Wolverine Hunter  Offline OP
trapper
W

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 218
Homer, Alaska, USA
[Linked Image]

Again, I have numerous photos of wolf tracks in the snow, of varying freshness, but this is the only one that will load up as is. I imagine I need to get into some software that will help me reduce the image size really quickly. Any recommendations guys?

This particular spot, I would put a foot hold for sure. Foot hold is my weakness. I am much more of a snare man. But I do know that these wolves had been down this exact trail at least three times in the past month. They put their foot in the exact same spot on each side of that branch. Good spot for a foothold? Help me out if you want. I don't even currently own any, but am researching types, staking down chains versus setting up drags. I lean toward drags. I don't want them destroying the spot. I also saw numerous "neck down" areas where I was fairly "frothing at the mouth" to hang some wolf snares. I have done this with success with coyotes in MN. We have wolves there, but we cannot trap them because the anti's have won in the courts. Alaskans, don't ever let that happen here. Anyway, do you think I am excited to set? There wasn't time to set. This was all about scouting. So I headed back to the beach.

If you're anything like me, you have learned through the school of hard knocks. This means you learned the do's and don'ts of mooring a boat. I won't lie, I've lost my boat a couple of times due to high winds and big currents. Today was one of those days. As the day progressed, I felt the wind coming up. It tends to do that, especially in the afternoon, and where there are glaciers nearby. Long thin bays with glaciers are especially prone - I have learned. Lake Tustemena is a great example. Anyway, I appeared on the beach, and saw my boat way the #### out there. Not where it was supposed to be. Apparently my new lid acted more like a sail. The anchor dragged across the flat until it went off into the deep water. Then the boat was free floating until it caught somewhere down wind. With a 2018 Suzuki 200 on the back, I wasn't particularly excited about my prospects downwind. Not to mention the boat hull. It became a race against time, but safety had to come first.

Sam was very tired and well behaved. I lay him down in the pulk in the middle of the canoe, on some spare clothing for comfort. I told him to stay, and he didn't move. The water was rough, even whitecapping at times. I knew to go the short route across the deep was to risk my life. If I capsized, I'd be dead. No service, and no-one out there. So I followed the shore for the 3+ miles my boat had drifted. I mean right on the shore. I wasn't too worried about capsizing - cuz I've canoed thousands of miles in my life, and in worse conditions than this - so I'm not going to live in fear. Just going to be cautious. The hardest part was when I got against the cliffs, and there was waves bouncing back against me. No fun. And I imagine if I capsized there, that would have been a lot LESS fun. I was kneeling in the middle of the canoe, on an artificial right knee. Artificial knees, if they have a mind of their own, don't like that. Those of you who have one, know just what I mean. What I really couldn't believe is that after that big walk, and being likely a little dehydrated - I wasn't getting cramps in my thighs and hamstrings - cuz kneeling in the middle for over an hour is rather AWKWARD. It was like the mere thought of this caused it to happen. That's psychology for ya. Both legs cramped at once - and there I was, against a ledge with the backwash coming out, rocking around, trying to straighten my leg to get some relief. Sam looked up at me. Cormorants flew off the ledge. I'm sure glad he stayed!

Past the ledge, I beached and got out and walked and crawled and climbed the past few hundred yards to the boat. I jumped in the canoe and paddled the short distance to the boat. Thankfully, it hung up in the rocks, and never bounced against the beach.

So we are back to Homer, safe and sound, and rethinking our anchoring system - and considering using my raft and 15 horse kicker instead. Stuff like this doesn't deter me. I'm gonna learn from it, and do better. That's the journey called life.

[Linked Image]

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6442429
01/27/19 07:44 PM
01/27/19 07:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,242
juneau, alaska
A
alaska viking Online content
"Made it two years not being censored"
alaska viking  Online Content
"Made it two years not being censored"
A

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,242
juneau, alaska
I would totally avoid the willow flats, and look for a place where the conifers are closer to the river. Better yet, the salt.


Occasional Wolverine Pincher

Re: WH Journal [Re: Wolverine Hunter] #6442759
01/28/19 12:55 AM
01/28/19 12:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,008
Interior Alaska
smalltimetrapper Offline
small greenhorn
smalltimetrapper  Offline
small greenhorn

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,008
Interior Alaska
Wow, exciting day, glad you got to your boat alright.

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