Pine wine racks hope chests bookcases with giclee art
Cart 0

Stoney River Alaska Moose Hunt part 3, 1980

blog Charlie Bright Dennis Bright Fishing Harrison jewell Hunting Laird Chambers Moose hunting Stoney River Talkahuana River

Friday August 29, 1980
Dennis and I get up early and hunt behind camp. We arrive at the southern tip of the u shaped bog and watch and see nothing.
We later work on the boat motor, get it sort of cleaned up and head up river, dropping Laird and Dennis off to hunt and fish, while Harry and I head further up river. The engine is acting up again but we finally get it going and get further up about 2 miles and then head inland. We are on a finger of the “battleship bog”, when we hear and then see an Alaska Air Guides plane circle overhead and then lands about midpoint between our two groups. We foolishly think he has come in to take us up and help us spot some game and get to know the area a little better, which was something they said they would do (nothing illegal or anything – we were aware of the rules) but when we get down there to see him, he tells us he is too big of a rush and not enough fuel, and drops off the three hunters from San Francisco who are staying for two weeks.
We float on down the river to Dennis and Laird, then float on down some more, when Laird turns on his brain and remembers he left his binoculars on the beach, so with nothing better to do, we crank up the engine and go back up and get his bino’s.
Just before the confluence of the two rivers, we cranked up the engine and headed across in the dark. The engine started heating up before we were half way across and quit running about 50’ from the bank.
We grabbed for the oars and paddled like crazy as the Stoney is a fairly powerful river and we were on a curve which was tending to pull us to the opposite bank, and that would result in our being swept downstream for who knows how far. So anyway with youth and vigor we stroked away, with two guys yelling at the oarsmen to “stroke more”. Our nerves were a little frayed by the time we hit shore.
We went back to camp and proceeded to drink up a storm, myself almost falling into the river or the fire on several occasions.
Sun August 31
We sleep in a little, eat pancakes and homemade syrup; Laird rows the boat upstream and gets ready for setting up our spike camps and the moose season opens up in the morning. We have just been scouting this first week, about 5 days too much scouting. We clean up camp, lay in a good supply of wood, and get ready.
Laird and Dennis go across river to the S crossing of the Island, set up a spike tent. They see nothing that evening nor the next morning. It gets down in the 20’s that evening.
Harry and I spike out at the U Shaped bog and nearly freeze as our plastic sweats from the top and the bog/tundra perspires heavily from below. I’m sleeping in an inch of water half the night and my air mattress is serving only as a collection spot for water accumulation.  Harry jokes about how we look like a couple of sandwiches wrapped up in plastic to some bear theat might come roaming along.  He has his 41 caliber pistol with the 10 or 12 inch barrel, he calls his leg, and  I feel reassured that he has it.
We do notice 2 planes doing some funny maneuvers close to the ground, we hear a shot, but it is too late and far away to investigate.
Monday September 1
Harry and I get up at 5 and proceed to the bog edge. I sit in one spot and Harry goes around the bog a mile away or so. The wind is fierce going about 30mph and I feel like I’m goose hunting in December.
Finally a see harry and decide to move through the alder thicket and join him. Later the sun comes out; my body starts to thaw out, but no moose.
We return to camp around 11 am and reheat last night’s meal which we hadn’t eaten of potatoes, and onion, and corned beef.
Later in the morning a guy walks down to where our boat is tethered to the shore and yells across asking if we have any engine starter fluid, which we don’t and then ask us to tell Alaska
Air Guides that their engine doesn’t run and that they would like to rent one. Boy does misery Love Company. We are way past being tortured by our engine, so it is nice to hear they are having problems with theirs also.
Later Dennis and Laird return but not before we are visited by an Alaska Department of Fish and Game guy, who lands his cub on our sand bar to have a little chat. We asked the guy for his recommendations for the best place to go where you didn’t have a bunch of drop in competing hunters, and there was lots of game. The Gamey recommended the Colville River, the Nome Area, and Galena – if you could get a pilot. A lot of the pilots were more loyal to the guides and wouldn’t do drop and pick hunts or unguided hunts like we were on.
Dennis and Laird saw nothing and got so cold they had to go back to their spike camp and crawl in their bags to warm up. Sitting in one spot and glassing a bog in a cold wet day can get pretty cold after a while.
We start cooking a pot of beans which had been soaking, take naps, and dry out the gear. It is windy all day long – the sand and wave action eroding the sand bank across the river and almost our gas cans which had been dropped off, but Dennis and Laird rescued them as Harry and I slept.
That evening we eat the beans, this time with ham. Laird, Dennis, and I head out to the u shaped pond and see nothing. We return in the dark and are a little discouraged.
Tuesday sept 2, 1980
Harry and I get up at 5 and get into position on the U shaped bog by 6. The previous evening the temperature had gotten down and frozen our water jugs. The ground is firm and crunchy and there is no wind, nor bugs, and it is very quiet. We watch for a couple of hours and nothing happens. We return and Dennis and Laird are still sleeping. We cook up some refried beans and pancakes.
It snows very lightly but doesn’t stick. Later Dennis and Laird rescue the gas cans again when I awake the sun is shining, it is snowing har4d, and the wind is whistling Dixie. We are all pretty bored with the lack of action.
I cook up a stew of potatoes, small bits of diced ham, small carrots, and stewed tomatoes. We eat heartily and head out for the back to try our luck for the evening hunt. By 8 it is snowing hard and sticking. We retire early and arise at 7
Wednesday September 3, 1980

We awake to about 2 inches of snow on the ground and it is still snowing. Last night a plane had landed on the River over by where Harry and I had been trying to hunt and had said a storm was coming in and we had better get out. By now any excitement was welcome including the possibility of getting stormbound in the middle of nowhere.
We all go out to the back U shaped pond but see nothing so after a few hours we return to camp and fix up the last of our pancake flour, stretching it out with regular flour.

Dennis and Laird take a nap, feeling that their energy level is low because they haven’t been getting enough to eat. Whatever. Harry and I sit around the fire, drying out our clothes. I look up from the pot of beans I have been cooking up the Talcahuano River and see three bull caribou. They are silhouetted against the afternoon sun and look beautiful and majestic but they are at least 300 to 400 yards away. Harry has a little warming shed for his clothes and I have my 30-06 over there so I go over and get my gun. I tell Harry and he dashes out and looks up the Stoney River and tells me he sees nothing. I tell him Wrong River dummy.
We try to decide how to set up the shoot, I want to shoot the right one and let Harry shoot the left and maybe by then Dennis or Laird will have awoken and can get the third, but Harry want us both to shoot the one in the middle, so that is what we do. We are lying down; very steady but it is still a long way away. My first shot, goes under his belly, so I rise up and fire some again, and Harry is doing his part also. Finally he goes down but the others lope away untouched. Dennis and Laird stumble out thinking we are pulling their leg, but after a while they realize we are serious and real disappointed we hadn’t woke them.
I get my pack, gunny sacks and muslin, and Harry is looking for more shells. General pandemonium reigns. We get in the boat and cross in short order, the snow and sleet, wind and cold not affecting us in the least. We drop off in two spots and look for him and very shortly I spot him, not far from where we hit him. He is dead with a shot in front legs, one in the jaw, and one through his rib cage, so overall not bad shooting.
We got him out and take him across the river to a stand of trees and hang him, skin him, then cut off the back strap and then quarter him. Dennis is so excited to get some meat that he cuts some off and eats it raw. He will regret that later, as it upsets his stomach and he does a little throwing up later on. We head downstream cross the Stoney, but the river crossing is getting a little trickier and the wind is blowing like hell, so we drift down below camp a little. just what we need with the meat to carry, but we are energized.
We eat like kings, drink a wee bit, and hit the sack around 10:30. It is much happier in the tent tonight as we all doze off.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published