Alaskan Serengeti

Two Brown Bears boxed in the Elk herd. The scene was reminiscent of African Serengeti images; predators chasing Wildebeest migration.

The larger Brown Bear would periodically race along the edge of the Elk herd attempting to stampede the 70 animals, hoping to drag down a smaller animal.

Hans Spots The Elk Herd From The Mountain Top; A 2-Mile Stalk. Herd Located At Far Left In Grassland.

The Elk would not fall for this ruse. A large 7×7 Bull Elk proudly strutted in the middle of the herd, surrounded by cows and calves; lesser Bull Elk on the perimeter.

This was not the Serengeti; son Hans and I were on Raspberry Island. My first trip years earlier, was to design an advanced wastewater system for Kodiak Raspberry Island Remote Lodge. I had returned for a final engineering inspection, and lucked out in drawing a Bull Elk tag.

Hans beat me to the top and spotted the Elk herd. Viewing through binoculars, lunching on a 1700-foot peak, required a strategy to approach the herd. The solution was a two-mile stalk, hugging the mountain perimeter to stay out of sight; the final stalk would be through high grass surrounded by pockets of noisy brush.

Final Stalk: Brown Bear To The Left. Fringe of Elk Herd With Smaller Bulls; Herd Totaled About 70 Animals.

Hours later we had closed to within several hundred yards of the herd. We were so far undetected, unsure if the herd would easily spook. The large Bull Elk would not leave the center of the herd and it was now late afternoon. We would have to pack meat back up the 1700-foot mountain. I could not afford to wait any longer and picked a smaller Bull Elk on the perimeter. At the crack of the rifle, the two Brown Bears raced away at top speed. The Elk herd to my surprise, did not budge. Hans and I were able to stalk closer and drop the smaller Bull Elk. As we approached the downed animal, the Elk herd barely moved. Perhaps the two Brown Bears had done us a favor by cornering the herd.

Followed Edge Of Mountain During Stalk. Shelikof Strait To The North.

With full meat packs we arrived back on top of the mountain at dark with one headlamp between us. We radioed the boat for a pickup. We could not see the large alder patches in the dark and managed to pick one of the worst routes down the mountain. Two hours later we finally got to the boat. Upon our return to camp, we were required to celebrate by drinking out of an Elk Horn with multiple shot glasses, accompanied by Elk tenderloin.     

Following Elk Herd Trail Up From Beach After Morning Drop-Off From Landing Craft, Off Raspberry Strait.
Lodge Landing Craft Dropped Off & Picked Up.

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