Once again, we would like to thank all of the people who came up and hunted with us this year. As the economy takes a downturn, we are even more appreciative of the business we do have, and will strive to give everyone the best experience possible.
I guess the best word to sum up the 2008 season would be cold. In spite of all of the reports of global warming, the North Pacific is actually getting colder, and it affected us with the coldest spring I can remember. We had a ton of snow that just would not melt, and early brown bear movements were minimal. We took some very nice black bears with 3 going over 19 inches in skull measurement. The brown bear did not dig out of their dens until much later and it was only at the end of May that we saw any appreciable bear movement. This seemed to be the trend across the state. Fortunately, we may be seeing an extension of our spring season into June, which will really help us out. There does not seem to be any lack of bears as we witnessed on our fall hunts.
I was pleased to take my dentist, Andy Goldsmith and his brother-in-law, Clint on a blacktail hunt in August. In spite of the fact that we have lost quite a few deer over the couple of harsh winters, we did find a spot with good concentrations and each of them took two nice bucks in some very nice weather. However, September rolled in with a vengeance, and we had some very wet bear and moose hunting early on. Dave Quimby took a nice 8½ foot brown bear off a moose kill and also missed and shot a wolf.
My wife, Alicia, was involved in a hiking accident early in September in which she broke both bones in her ankle. She was medivaced to Anchorage for surgery and has been on crutches ever since. It really slowed our operation down as she is instrumental in taking care of the client logistics while I am in the field. Our thanks to all of the clients for their patience and understanding while we did the best we could with her limitations.
Mountain Goat hunting started out very wet with a hunt with Gregg Ritz, who was the past owner of Thompson Center Firearms. Gregg came up with a cameraman to film his muzzleloader goat hunt. We spent 24 hours in spike camp waiting for the rain and fog to subside, and when it did, Gregg did an excellent job of shooting his goat at 155 yards with some great footage for TV. On the way back to base camp, we almost lost the cameraman, Jeff Parker, when he was washed off his feet crossing a swollen river. Fortunately the packer, Shawn Hollmer, was able to get a climbing axe out to him and help him get back on his feet. I also had the pleasure of guiding archer, Jake Ensign for Mountain Goats. Jake completed his archery grand slam this year (all 4 sheep in 2008) and he was fortunate to arrow a Billy Goat at 12 yards on the first day of his hunt. Chris Durando also got an archery billy on his hunt at the same time and another was hit twice but unfortunately was not recovered. Keith Fidati and Terry Friedges both took nice Billies also.