This story was sent to us by Lori Spinka regarding one of her recent hunting trips where no animals were harvested, but it was STILL a very successful trip. This is a great reminder that success in the field is not always measured in meat and antlers, but just spending time in our great outdoors as a family unit, with friends, or even alone with your thoughts can be very rewarding even though you might not pull the trigger on anything. Thanks, Lori!
My husband and I recently returned from one of our hunting trips with our 10 year old daughter, and 8 and 6 year old sons. Before we left on this adventure, I thought to myself ‘When we get back, I’m going to submit a picture of our success to The Alaska Life for their Fan Success Album!’. However, we came home not being able to connect on an animal, and this wasn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! As the kids get older, they aren’t coming out of the field with the same luster as they had going in, and more so when we don’t bring an animal home, so I thought I’d collect my thoughts for them on what success looks like. Here is a snippet of our experience, as the hunt isn’t always about the ‘trophy’.
As with many hunting trips, we began by driving endless hours into the night, parking, getting our sleeping situation figured out, then waking the next morning at 6 am only to travel just a bit further. We unpacked, got loaded up and headed out onto the trail to begin our first of many adventures for the week. We had GLORIOUS weather with many gorgeous interior Alaska days, which are never to be taken for granted!
The first night at our camp the temperature dropped below freezing, solidifying our water supply. The kids couldn’t beleive it could get that cold in August. WELCOME TO ALASKA! The beauty in the leaves and the changing of the colors is like no other. The layers upon layers of pink, subdued peach, red, light and dark greens, mixed with golden hued grass and the blue of the lakes and river…absolutely stunning. I told my family that it is clear to see that God designed the ground to worship Him with the beauty He created.
On day four it snowed, not directly on us, but on the rolling hill we were camped next to. As the beauty of the first few days was passing, the weather was cooling and it began to get cold and windy. We reveled in the memory of hunting in those beautiful days, and now it was time to test the kids strength to see how they handle the harsher conditions. We spent hours upon hours of searching & waiting. The caribou haven’t migrated to the drainage we were hunting as of yet. The cold hung on and we still had no sightings of anything walking on four legs.
Here comes the rain….and more rain. It still hasn’t stopped. Repeated days of waking at 5am with temps in the 30’s with small children, braving the elements and waiting for something to appear taught me at least one thing; the kid’s are TOTAL beasts! Not one complaint or even a hint of ‘let’s go back!’. They even battled sickness while out there without a problem! The youngest even vomitted all day on the trail without griping! Tough, tough kid’s…did I mention it was raining yet? More like pouring rain, blowing sideways!
We happened upon one lonely cow caribou, but she was 500+ yards away, not leaving us with much of an opportunity. I wish we’d been able to connect, but am still thankful the kid’s had a chance to see her. There was bear and wolf everywhere, well, just the ‘sign’ or skat of them at least. We had one owl lingering in the tree above us, one illegal squatters camp (gotta love that), fighter jets training right above our heads (our own personal air show!), one legal bull moose (but it wasn’t Sept 1st yet…sigh), lots of beavers, three cow moose, one fox, enough blueberries to fill a large silo & miles of mud holes upon mud holes (thank goodness for the winch!).
The kids have learned a valuable lesson on this hunt, which is why it’s called hunting and not shooting. As the saying goes- ‘The hunt isn’t over until we pull in the driveway’, or in our case, leave Unit 13. A Unit where my late grandfather, dad & my family have hunted in for 46 years and where I grew up going on many hunting trips myself. We leave here once again not going home empty handed- we’ve had a successfully safe hunt with so many memories the kid’s will be telling their future children of someday!
The kids acquired even more of an appreciation/respect/deeper knowledge for nature, hunting, hunting regulations, learned specific mountain ranges & landmarks, stood under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and so much more! We’ve all had one more taste of gratitude for Alaska and all that she has to offer us.
We will depart another one of these hunting trips rich in blessings and will earnestly look forward to the next season should we be graced with it ♥