What I learned my first Kodiak blacktail hunt

Joined
Oct 23, 2023
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5
Leaving for Kodiak Monday. Trying to cyber scout some drop off points that look good on google earth and huntstand and neither are very clear. Is there a resource that has some terrain detail available? OnX?
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
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May 8, 2014
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2,701
We did not try E scouting much. So much depends on weather and where other camps are, we waited until we were in Kodiak and talked to our transporter and used their maps
 

3Esski

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Aug 26, 2023
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118
Google earth appears to have updated images, atleast for the area I am heading to tomorrow. Definitely different than they were about a week ago for me atleast.
 

nomad14

FNG
Joined
Nov 22, 2023
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10
Great write up, I hunt Blacktail in coastal BC, Canada always enjoy seeing other areas and tactics for a similar species.
 

Kodiak06

FNG
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Apr 13, 2023
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I wouldn't bother with a 10mm for those bears... Jason from Kodiak Backcountry Adventures is a great guy if ya ever need his services. Not sure if he's doing BT
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
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May 8, 2014
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I’m headed back to try a boat hunt with some friends in November. Maybe I’ll have another article to share if it makes a good story.
 
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mcseal2

mcseal2

WKR
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May 8, 2014
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The microspikes I’d agree are priceless in that terrain. Next time I’m going to take a spare pair for the group just in case someone breaks or loses one.
 

ChrisD

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Joined
Apr 15, 2024
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For packs we had an Exo 3500 and 4800. Jeff used my Kifaru tactical frame and Nomad 2 bag I got for the moose hunt. Dean has a Seek Outside pack. All worked well. I'm a pretty big fan of my Exo and it's layout. I really like the dry bag feature. We used 42 gallon drum liners to put meat in packing it back to camp so we did not get the packs bloody. It was cold enough and the meat was in there a short enough time we didn't think it would hurt anything. That kept our packs from being bloody in brushy bear country. I used mine as my carry-on bag too, so I didn't have to worry about having a bloody pack for that.

We all had good game bags. Mine were Argali, some guys had Black Ovis. We built a meat rack to suspend quarters from and put a OneTigris 10x13 tarp over it to keep the meat well ventilated but dry. It worked out well.

Camp:

We buried our camp in the brush as much as possible for wind protection. We cut some brush to make things fit with the tools we brought. We had a Silky Bigboy saw, a Bahco Laplander saw, a Gransfers Bruks small forest axe, and a Cold Steel stainless kukri knife. Having that many tools made quick work of the job. I worked on the cook tarp with the kukri while the other guys used the saws and axe to set up the main camp and pound stakes. We also had a Russian military titanium shovel for digging catholes. The brush we cut we stacked in the gaps around our perimeter for additional wind protection.

We took 3 tents for 4 guys. We had a 6 man Cabelas Alaskan Guide Instinct tent that's approximately 10'x10' with room to stand in it. 2 guys slept in it, and we all kept our duffle bags in there. Steve and I would sleep in our smaller tents but get dressed in the big one with more room once the other guys left it. Steve had a Hilleberg Staika and I had a Kuiu Storm Star. All handled the wind and rain great, no issues.

We took my Aquaquest Defender 15x15 tarp for a cook tarp. We had Camptime Roll A Chairs to put under it and a wheeled tote we used as a table. We spent a lot of time in the evenings after dark, and mornings before light under the tarp. It's very nice to have somewhere dry to go that's not as small as a tent. I'll add a pic of our cook tarp below. I had a rechargeable Streamlight Siege X rechargeable lantern hooked to the ridgeline that worked well.

We used a Jetboil full gen for most of our cooking hooked to a 25lb propane bottle we rented from Island Air. We had a couple 1 liter Jetboils if we needed them or wanted them in our packs. For food we had some sausage and burger we browned in Kodiak at our Air B&B we added to pasta or soup until we had deer meat to add. If anyone wants more detail on food I'll get the list from Dean our designated camp chef. We had some freeze dried meals in case we wanted to spike out or got stuck in the field extra days but we didn't eat many of them.

A very useful item is a chunk of a Thermarest Z lite or similar sleeping pad. I'd carry 5 sections of one to sit on glassing in the snow during the day and then use it as a door mat to enter or exit the tent. We all had camp shoes of some sort. The Tingley ultralight boots I cut down for my moose hunt are still serving great for this. I bought them a size big so they are easy to slip on and off. I cut them off about ankle height so I have waterproof camp shoes that weigh about a pound.

For a sleep system I used a Thermarest X therm max pad. I lay my extra set of Argali game bags under it for extra protection against punctures. I use an old Kifaru 20 degree Slick Bag I got used a decade ago that still works well. I like to zip it to my armpits and use a Hill People Gear mountain serape as a blanket over top of it. This set-up is a little heavier than a 0 degree bag but a lot more versatile. The serape is another insulating layer I can use sitting around camp, glassing, or however I need to. It also keeps me from ever breathing in my bag and adding moisture. It's been very effective and saved me from upgrading bags. I've dried a lot of wet socks, gloves, and base layers in that Kifaru bag and it has never disappointed me.

For water we had a Steripen between each pair of hunters. At camp I had a filter I built. It is a gravity system that flows from a Katadyn Basecamp into a Platypus clean water bag with a spigot on it. We had 4 2L Platypus water bladders and a couple 1 gallon water bags from Amazon. It worked well. We prefiltered the water into the Katadyn through a filter sock I got off Ebay before our moose hunt. I think I had the brand name in that What I Learned post.

Our bear fence was homemade. Between Jeff and I we had good poly/wire fencing rope and a good solar fencer. It is hotter than the D battery options factory bear fences use. Dean built our posts from fiberglass and aluminum ferrules in a takedown configuration. If there are more questions on the fence let me know and I’ll get answers.

Last I'll add a few travel tips.

We used large wheeled totes as checked bags. I took a couple rubber tarp straps and hooked my Kuiu Taiku bag to the top of the tote with them. This makes navigating an airport easier, rifle case in one hand and tote handle in the other. My Exo was my carry on bag on my back. The totes also make a good table and waterproof storage place in the field. We took extra waterproof duffle bags inside the totes to haul gear home with if the totes were full of meat and antlers.

A Nalgene bottle and piece of string to tie it to the seat in front of you can be nice on the airplane. It saves you buying high price bottled water and keeps you hydrated on the way to your hunt. Also a battery pack for your phone, downloaded movies, and ear buds. This makes long flights more bearable. I like the Anker 10k battery pack that has a 110 plug built in for travel. It's my wall charger with 2 USB outlets and my battery bank all in one.

For power in the field we all had other battery banks. I had a Dark Energy 10k in my pack and my old Anker 26800 pack in the tent. I had a rechargeable Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp, Steripen, and my phone with OnX plus the InReach to charge.

I'm sure there is more I'll think of, but that's all I have time for right now. I have to go pick up my nephew to check traps.

Thanks again to all those who helped me plan my trip.
Planning a hunt like this with my brother, in the very early stages. This is super helpful. Thanks
 
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