As the on-line and Social Media voice for Pioneer Outfitters, I am up front and in the public’s view all the time, non-stop. As the Web Master for Pioneer Outfitters and author of Alaska Chick’s Blog, what I share the most comes from my own experiences and memories. One of those is the the first and last hunt of my own.
I am an Alaska Big Game Guide.
I have many pictures of fantastic trophies and ten times that many amazing stories, including thousands of lessons that I have learned over the years, being in the field, doing what we do. I am a Guide.
Good ethics, not to even mention the laws of the land, prohibit and forbid me to hunt while I am under contract to guide. This is what we do.
Long ago, when I first decided I wanted to become a professional guide, I was advised to think hard about that decision. First, I would always be a girl, and guiding was and remains very hard work, on the body, mind and soul. Second, Guiding is not hunting.
I was determined. Master Guide Terry Overly decided that I should at least have a taste of what I would be giving up, as I had no experience to base my choice.
We would go Black Bear Hunting. It was 1994.
The First and Last Hunt
With Terry’s son, Striker and his boat, we put in at the Tanana River and set out to find a place to camp. The next morning, Terry and Striker decided to visit with another camp with friends, a few miles up river and gave me simple instructions.
“Go out by the river, sit and watch.” ~Seriously? Yep.
So, I gathered up my gun, my book, a bottle of water, my camera and walked down the river a ways and sat down. I spread out my stuff and prepared to wait for the guys to show up.
After about 15 minutes of sitting just off the sand, against some Willows, I saw a Black Bear come out of the brush directly across from me, approximately 100 yards away. I looked around startled. Now what? LOL, I sat there looking at the bear, the first ever I had seen in the wild, and decided that this was my chance.
I laid down, never taking my eyes away from the bear and reached over for my rifle. I scooched and scooted around until I could see the bear through the rifle scope. BOOM!
As I jumped away from the rifle that had smacked me good, I could hear Terry in my mind saying “Shoot a bear twice.” Well. The Black Bear let out a terrible cry and it froze my blood and my wits. Then it stopped, and he didn’t move.
I sat there, rubbing my forehead for about 5 minutes when I could hear the boat screaming down the river. Striker hit the sand bar so hard in the excitement we all had to push it back in after I answered all their questions.
“What happened?” “What was that?” “Did you see something?” They were both asking me questions so fast I couldn’t answer, so I just sat there rubbing my forehead waiting for them to calm down.
“There.” I said, pointing across the river. They were both all grins. we pushed the boat back and crossed over to see this bear I had harvested all alone. I had never hunted a critter before in my life, and there she (we saw) was. A beautiful cinnamon Black Bear.
The hardest part of the whole hunt was the pictures. It was hard to smile with my eyes open (it hurt), and I would open my eyes and forget to smile! LOL, it was a wonderful day. It was also my last personal hunt.
The joy and fulfillment for me, comes from guiding. I love finding, stalking and all the work that comes after, but nothing compares to guiding a client that has dreamed of a hunt like we offer for so long to that dream. Being part of making that dream come true.