Day four of our Kodiak adventure was very enjoyable. If only we could have figured how to reel those silvers in quicker, we could have caught a plane load – all with fly rods.
In addition to silvers, we even caught a couple dolly vardon, but no steelhead. The fishing was everything Alaska fishing can be, but the mountain was calling for me to climb it and bag another deer which would include venison for the trip home if we could figure out how to hang onto it.
During the night of following the fourth day we could hear soda and beer cans clinking in the night. Could it be that the grizzlies liked soda and beer?
We attempted to save a slab of silver salmon by inserting it into a zip-lock bag and sinking it to the bottom of the river (by putting a rock in the bag along with the salmon) in four feet of water. No luck, the bears got it too.
On the fifth day (one day before our departure) I climbed the mountain again and this time turned to the north at the top of the ridge. I wanted to hunt an area not previously disturbed.
I was a little discouraged by the lack of deer, but eventually found a decent buck in a large brush patch. Always concerned about having time to shoot, find, clean and carry the deer back to camp before dark, I decided to waste no time and shot the buck.
It went down in the brush and before long I’d recovered it.
You’ve probably heard stories about rifle shots being like “dinner bells” for the grizzlies of Kodiak Island. So had I, and I wasn’t a bit comfortable skinning and gutting that deer in a brush patch where I could see about ten feet.
My loaded .7mm and my .44 magnum revolver were stationed at my side. It was an eery feeling.
I reduced the deer to carrying size and moved it onto a nearby open hillside where I could complete work on it while keeping an eye out for grizzlies.
I was a pleasantly surprized that the buck had four points on one side, a Sitka four-point buck is unusual, but it wasn’t particularly old or large antlered.
I managed to load the animal onto the back pack and carry it to camp before dark – crossing the river by raft one last time. In camp we debated our options. We decided to go with the only option that would give us a reasonable chance of saving our venison.
It was the “Lean the meat against our tent and keep our loaded rifles at our sides” option. It was a little scary (sleeping a couple feet from grizzly bait), but we figured the snoring and odors emitted from our tired bodies would keep the grizzlies away and it did.
On Saturday we loaded the Grummon Beaver and headed back to Kodiak with a couple silver salmon and one Sitka blacktail to take home to California. The venison and the fish were both excellent table fare.