Alaska Hunting Dreams Really Do Come True
By Todd Crow, Gladstone, Michigan

Master Guide Jeff Pralle 
Like most hunters, I too dream of hunting the “Last Frontier” on a daily basis. Always hoping to someday find a way to book the dream hunt. Since I’m interested in all of Alaska’s many big game species, I didn’t have a strong preference about which animal I hunted first. 

Being a non-resident, I was searching for any information about Alaskan hunting guides when I ran across an organization called the Alaska Professional Hunter Association or APHA. I joined the APHA and started to receive their quarterly magazine and also ordered some back issues to read and study. Reading the APHA only fueled my inner desire to make the Alaskan hunting dream come true. I shared APHA magazines with friends who also dream of hunting in Alaska and we talked constantly about Alaska.  

I really enjoy the articles written by guides or their clients in the APHA. I started to notice particular guides writing on a continuing basis in the APHA and really liked a story written by Master Guide Jeff Pralle. The story was about a grizzly bear Jeff and his guides nick named “Brutus”, “One Brute of a Bear” APHA 2001 Convention Issue. I e-mailed Jeff and thanked him for sharing the story with fellow APHA members and encouraged him to continue to share his hunting and guiding adventures with us. Jeff e-mailed back and sent his most recent newsletter and information packet to read. Unfortunately, this made my life very painful, since no doctor’s prescription could cure my incessant dreaming! 

Finally, in a state of cold sweats, fading eyesight, and body shakes, I called Jeff & Kris on June 29th, 2001. Ahh!! No answer, I hung up and felt better. But 15 seconds later the telephone rang; I look at the caller ID and it’s them! I answered the telephone and spoke to Jeff’s wife, Kris. Kris advised that they were working on a new log cabin for their clients and didn’t reach the telephone in time. I told her that I had called to ask some questions and it wasn’t urgent, but I would call back later when it was more convenient. Kris replied that now was okay and Jeff would like to talk to me.  

Jeff and I talked for over 2 hours that night. Every question that I asked was answered in a complete and detailed manner. I then made telephone contact with past clients from a reference list, asking numerous questions from a prepared list. On Monday, July 2nd, Jeff and I talked for 1 hour and 30 minutes. I now felt comfortable with choosing Jeff and Kris Pralle as my guide for the Alaskan dream hunt. When Jeff mentioned that he had “loaned his outhouse to his family members”, I figured I had picked a “For Real Alaskan Guide.” With an understanding nod of approval and real empathy from my wife, I told Jeff that I would book a hunt for the fall of 2001. Jeff and I decided to hunt Dall Sheep Aug. 18th-26th 2001 and that after I had successfully hunted for Dall Sheep, I would chase Caribou or Black Bear. Jeff explained that the Caribou might be “iffy” at that time of year, but you never know. The completed contract was faxed off to Jeff.

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We discussed the required equipment needed for a hunt. Many of the items, I already had, or was able to borrow from a friend. We decided that for the animals that I would be hunting, my Remington 700 in .270 Winchester with a Leupold scope would be fine. I choose to sight my rifle in at 200 yards with Hornady 140 grain BTSP Light Magnum’s. I wanted to try and keep my shots to 200 yards, but practiced out to 300 yards. I memorized the ammunition ballistics and after much practice from different position’s, felt confident with my shooting. I was encouraged to purchase the Kifaru Long Hunter Guide backpack. Jeff and all of his guides were using this internal frame backpack with great success. Jeff explained that I didn’t want an external frame backpack. The Kifaru internal frame backpack would carry the necessary loads without fatiguing my upper and lower body. Plus, dealing with the ever-present alder jungle, I wouldn’t get “hung up” in the alders. After completing this hunt, I understand why Jeff likes the Kifaru backpack system.

Other gear I used: Pentax 10x42 DCF waterproof binoculars, Lecia Rangefinder, Helly-Hansen raingear, and Cabela’s hip boots, Cabela’s Summit sleeping bag, Micro-tex pants, polyester shirts, polypropylene underwear. 

Training for Alaska: 
I had been doing a little running, but now, with such a short time to better prepare myself, I had to get real serious and fast. Our town has a small ski hill and it sits on Little Bay De Noc. I would climb the ski hill everyday for 1 hour carrying my backpack. I would then wade out into the lake up to my knees and walk as fast as I could for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The walking in the water helped “massage” my legs and calf muscle’s and I didn’t suffer from any muscle tightening or cramps. Shortly after my arrival in camp, I would appreciate the intense training. 

Off to Alaska: 
I arrived in Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday, August 15th. As our flight approached Anchorage, the clouds were starting to settle. A friend from work had arranged for me to spend my first two nights at a relative’s house in Eagle River.

Once I arrived in Anchorage, Jeff instructed me to contact Tim at Jay Hawk Air Service at 8:00 AM on the 16th. Jeff said to “let Tim at Jay Hawk know you’re in town and you will be ready for the 8:00 AM flight out on the 17th.” The morning of the 16th was very cloudy and foggy in the Anchorage area. The Alaskan weather was throwing a curve ball in the first inning to me. 

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Dealing with the Alaskan weather: 
I contacted Tim at Jay Hawk Air Service as instructed. Tim answered the telephone and I told him who I was and who I was hunting with. I excitedly told Tim that if necessary, “I could even fly out that day, I was packed and ready to go!” Tim just laughed and said “yaah, ahh, I don’t think there is going to be much flying today or TOMORROW! Anyway, give me some telephone numbers to reach you at.” I gave Tim two numbers that I could be reached at and hung up. 
Later on Thursday the 16th, Jeff calls me from the field. He is trying to get his first two hunters out, but bad weather has socked them in. The good news is that they were successful in their sheep hunts, he has more sheep located and one hunter took a nice wolf. I told Jeff that I too would like to add a wolf to my collection.

Jeff had talked to Tim at Jay Hawk Air Service and he told me he would be in contact with updates about the weather and to hang in there. 

Later that day, Jeff calls and advises that instead of flying me out of Anchorage to camp, he was flying his first two hunters back to his home in Willow and driving them to Anchorage. After dropping them off he would pick me up in Eagle River and we would return to his place in Willow and fly to main camp, weather permitting. 

Jeff picked me up at 3:00 AM and we drove north to Willow in the rain and fog. As we drive, I know Jeff is very tired, but he talks about the first sheep hunt of the season, a ram that was still on the very top of a mountain named Broom Horn and two black bears that have been hanging around the main camp. Jeff has nicked named the bears “Chain Saw” and “Scar Butt”. 

Chain Saw, seemed to enjoy hauling things away from main camp. He had hauled a chain saw, gas can, oil bottles, & food away from the camp and put the items out in his neck of the woods. Scar Butt, had a nice piece of flesh missing from his backside that you could see as he wandered across the side of the mountain. I wondered if Scar Butt had run across an angry grizzly.  

We talk and the two- hour trip goes by quickly. Upon arriving at Willow, we both get some sleep and wake up at 8:00 AM. Jeff makes numerous phone calls, checking for weather conditions and pilot reports. I head outside to video tape his Super Cub and the new log cabin guesthouse. It is raining with very low clouds and I know in my heart that I won’t be headed to main camp today. Jeff fills me in on his updated reports and he makes telephone contact with his two Brown Bear hunters who are stuck in an Anchorage motel with the bad news. We both get some more sleep and Jeff repeats the whole process several times throughout the day. 

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Later on the 17th at 2:15 PM Jeff and I take a short flight in his Super Cub to see what the skies look like. Flying north and east is possible, Jeff decides to move his Brown Bear Camp to a different river and further east in order to get his brown bear hunters in ASAP. Little did Jeff, or the fortunate Knoxville, Tennessee hunter know it at the time, but that call would bag him a 9 ½ foot Brown Bear with a monster skull! 

I assist Jeff in gathering up the gear and equipment necessary for the new bear camp.

Jeff is in contact with his Brown Bear guide and updates him on some changes and asks him to drive to his house. We load up the plane and they take off. Jeff was able to safely get his guide out to bear camp but an attempt to get the bear hunters out of Anchorage to bear camp wasn’t successful. Like me, they too would have to wait another day. 

The night of the 17th found Jeff and I in Wasilla picking up supplies necessary to stock the new camp sight. We returned to Willow very late to get some needed sleep. 

Saturday Aug. 18th, we wake to heavy low clouds. Jeff tries to call out, but the cell phone is down. We jump in the truck and race off to Sheep Creek Lodge for a phone. Jeff gets weather and pilot updates and we head back to the house. We load the Super Cub in case the weather breaks. At 1:00 PM we notice a very slight break in the sky. Jeff advises that he is going to make a flight to the bear camp. He will report the flying conditions to his pilot brother-in-law, Barry. If conditions are safe, Barry will swing by and pick me up. Jeff took off and left me with instructions about additional supplies that needed to go to main camp with Barry and me.

A slight break in the weather and I’m off to Main Camp: 

Saturday, Aug. 18th, 
YAHOO! It’s late in the day, but we get a very small weather break and I’m off with Barry to main camp. 

Main Camp sits in a very beautiful valley with a glacier river running through it. Upon arrival at main camp, I’m shown around camp and I’m impressed with the accommodations. I’m assigned to a nice wall tent with a wood stove, cot and sleeping pad. Main camp has a sauna/shower house/drying house, cook tent, outhouse/library, supply tent, guest tents, and lots of food. I write my first postcard home: Dear wife & son, I’m really roughing it and it’s tough out here! Little shelter, critters on top of me, dangerous weather, raging, rushing rivers, little food..You get the picture, but don’t file for the life insurance policy just yet.. I hope to make it back to you in one piece..Your loving husband.. 

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I meet my assistant guide, Nathan Fite and my packer Matt Aardema.  
Nathan advises that this is his 3rd year under Jeff’s guidance. He is from Pennsylvania, has a degree in forestry and his boss allows him to take off work and travel to Alaska and chase critters for two months! Matt is from Michigan, attends college and this is his first year in Alaska. Matt and his dad drove all the way to Alaska from the lower 48’s and enjoy their time spent together and the scenery. Matt worked all summer with Jeff & Kris on the new guest log house. He will be my camp assistant and packer. We hit it off and I knew there wouldn’t be any problems. Kris Pralle helps run main camp and keeps us all well fed with great meals. She also makes sure we take very good food into the field with us when we leave camp. 

We sight in my rifle and find that it’s on. Nathan and Matt go through my gear and help me organize my backpack and gear for my hunting adventures. Jeff’s goal was to try and get us out to a “spike” camp, but the weather was dictating otherwise. After spending our previous two days stuck in Willow, I knew Jeff was constantly watching the weather and making decisions in order to make this a very successful hunt. I felt that Jeff was doing everything possible and wasn’t worried. I had mentally prepared myself for weather delays and really felt that things would work out in the end. 

After a very good dinner, we start to glass Dall Sheep in the mountains behind main camp. I did a little video taping of main camp and the sheep on the mountain. 

Sunday, Aug.19th, 
We wake up to rain and it gets harder throughout the day. The clouds are low and we decide to walk south and glass the mountains for sheep. We glass a ram that we determine isn’t legal yet. I watch him “broom” himself for a few minutes on both sides of his horns. The area has received a lot of rain during July and August and the river is high.

We cross the river numerous times and as I make an attempt to pull my boot out of the river mud, (similar to drywall mud) I gracefully fall into the glacier river. Geezzz, that is cold water. I drain my hip boots and I’m fine. We continue to hunt and eat a warm and very good Mountain House freeze dried dinner for lunch. 
It’s getting late and we start to walk back to main camp, glassing as we go.

We arrive back in main camp and fire up the stove to dry our wet gear.

When we go to bed, it’s still raining with low clouds. 

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Hell’s Half-Acre Ram 
Monday, Aug. 20th, brings a slight reprieve from the rain, but with broken low clouds and some fog early. As the morning progresses, some sun comes through and the clouds give way. 

Over breakfast we discuss the week’s weather forecast and it’s not promising. After breakfast we glass the mountains near main camp. While glassing we notice a group of three rams to the north. We continue to glass the rams and it appears that they are going to work their way south across the mountain. Jeff and Nathan study the lead ram through the spotting scope. They determine that the ram is an older ram, legal full curl with a nice body. The other two rams were 7/8 and ¾ curl. We discuss the ram and decide that we should at least go up for a closer look at him. We gather our gear, form a game plan, and we are off. 

I brought my video cam-recorder on this trip, but I didn’t plan to try and hunt and record at the same time. However, Jeff instructed Nathan to guide us up to the sheep, me to follow Nathan, Matt to be the packer and follow me, while he would bring up the rear and record the hunt, providing any technical support if needed. Man, was I happy. I’m finally hunting in Alaska and if all goes well, Jeff was going to catch my Dall Sheep hunt on videotape!

The four of us leave the river bottom at 9:30 AM. The going is real tough and every step you take, you sink in and it’s all uphill. What looked like a nice green field of grass that you could easily walk across, turned into super thick brush that swallowed you whole. 4’-5’ berry bushes, alder’s that were 5’-12’ of jungle, rocks, muskeg, slick sponge moss, and no visibility. Finally, at last, a game trail to walk on. But this is a short game trail and it’s back into the alder jungle.

Onward and upward we push and it gets harder as we go. I marvel at the beauty of this valley and these mountains. But, I’m really starting to wonder why I envy the life of a guide and dream of living a guide’s life. I mean hey, I always thought it would be great to be a guide. And, how do those critters stay up in those steep mountains without rolling downhill, like I’m about to? I’m starting to think I’m climbing up a ladder at 90 degrees. 

I trudge on, with throbbing temples, deep inhales, and heavy sweat.

Jeff pipes up, “So Todd, what do you think of “Hell’s Half-Acre?” “Ahh, why do you call it that”, was my reply?” “Because, it’s Hell on sheep hunters!” “Well thank you Jeff, but I’m enjoying this very much, I’m into self-mutilation”! 

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We stop a couple of times to evaluate the rams and see what their intentions might be. The ¾ curl ram leaves the other two, crosses the drainage and walks further south. The other two rams decide to bed down on a ledge and out of sight. I use my rangefinder to determine that they are 400 yards away. About 200 yards further up the mountain is another ledge. We discuss a game plan and I tell everyone that I would like to get to the other ledge and wait the ram out. If the ram should appear, I’ll be comfortable with a 200-yard uphill shot.

I’m amazed how little you can see as you go up the mountain. Your overall view really narrows looking left, right or up and down the higher you go. I can’t get over the beauty of the mountain and valley below when I turn to look back. 

We just get started up the mountain for the final stalk, when Jeff quietly says, “FREEZE”! We have only gained 40 yards of the 200 needed to the final ledge. The two rams have popped out from their bedding spot and they are looking down at us. I slowly recheck the distance with my range finder, which reads 360 yards.

We talk and decide that if the ram takes off and crosses the drainage, I’ll loose him in the rocks and won’t get a shot and the wind will work against us. We lay two backpacks down for a rest and I prone out and try to control my breathing. I start to look at the ram through my Leupold scope and again I calm my breathing down. I rack a round into the chamber and look at the ram, but he has started to move. Jeff says wait till he stops and turns sideways. The ram stops on a ledge, looks down in our direction and gives me a full side body shot. I then asked Jeff, “Look, if I miss this ram with this shot, is my hunt over?” Jeff replied, “No, you’re not going to miss, it’s going to be right on!” I ask Nathan and Matt to watch the ram with their binoculars to see his reaction. I take the safety off and exhale and fire. Thump, “you did it, you hit him, and he is anchored,” shouts Jeff. I fire again and the round hits. I check my watch and it is 1:45 PM. I really can’t believe that I’ve been so fortunate in taking such a beautiful animal. I am speechless and maybe in a mild state of shock. The entire Dall Sheep hunt is caught on video tape by Jeff. Jeff, Nathan, and Matt congratulate me for a successful Dall Sheep hunt and I thank them for the help in making a dream come true. The ram rolls down hill a little ways and it takes some time to work our way up the steep mountain to get him.

The ram is a beautiful full curl, approximately 9 ½ years old, with a thick, stocky body and off white coat.

We tagged the ram, took lots of pictures, butchered and caped the ram out. Matt whipped up a great lunch and we all enjoy the scenery and the moment.  

Jeff placed the ram’s horns on my backpack and I triumphantly descended down the mountain. Well, on the way down, I did say a few painful “ouches”, and my rifle got a few more dings in it. And, wouldn’t you know, it started to rain again.  

Back at main camp we dined on fresh sheep meat that was delicious, washed and salted the cape, reviewed the video tape of the hunt, and talked about the great hunt. 

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Tuesday Aug. 21st, 
Heavy wind from the north, colder temperatures, low clouds and fog. 

With the weather getting worse, Nathan works on the sheep cape for the taxidermist. He fleshes the cape, turns the nose, ears, lip, feet etc. Jeff can’t fly today. We glass all around the main camp, hoping to catch sight of a caribou or black bear. Nothing today. 

Wednesday Aug. 22nd, 
Up early, windy and low clouds.  
We take off on foot, south of camp in search of caribou and black bear. The berry crop is super this year and if the temperature drops, the bears will really come out to feed.

As we glass, I’m thinking to myself that maybe we will spot Chainsaw or Scar Butt crossing the river or along the side of the mountain. Nathan and Matt point out different areas they have seen Chainsaw cross the river. The first sheep hunt, they caught him crossing the river, but he was too far away to take a shot and he was lost in the timber.  

We glass both sides of the valley and mountains. At 11:30 AM we spot a nice black bear feeding on the eastside of the river. I asked, “ Hey, do you think this is Chainsaw?” “It could be,” came the reply. This is the general area he feeds in. We study the bear for a short while and decide that he is worth going after. But the rushing river has other thoughts. We spend over an hour trying different spots in the river to cross. The bear has now worked his way into the heavy timber along the rivers edge and we loose sight of him. We watch the rivers edge and the mountainside for the bear until 3:00 PM with no luck. The sun has come out and it’s very warm. We decide that the bear thinks it’s too warm also and isn’t coming out until later. We return later, but there is no sight of the bear. 

At 8:30 PM we are glassing the mountains behind main camp when a nice black bear pops out to feed. We watch the bear and decide that he is worth going after, but it’s too late in the day and the bear is very high to go after that night. We will be up early on Thursday to see if he is out for his breakfast. 

Thursday, Aug. 23rd  
Very cold morning with a heavy frost 
We are glassing the mountain at 8:30 AM, when two bears in different locations pop out to feed. We study the bears and determine that one bear is a smaller bear and we will pass on him. The second bear is a nice bear, 4-5 years old, and about 225 pounds. I decide we will go up after it. This bear is up pretty high this morning and we are off through the thick stuff.

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At 10:30 AM we notice the bear has decided to move across the ridge he was feeding on, into another area to feed. Mr. Bear easily crossed into the new ridge and now we must cross through an alder jungle. After 30-45 minutes we make it to the base of the ridge that we last saw Mr. Bear. But he is nowhere to be found. We work our way to a berry bush knoll and start to glass. If he pops out I’ll only have a 150 – 200 yard shot. At 2:00 PM the sun has come out and the wind is changing. Since we haven’t seen the bear, we decide to leave the area and watch from below. As we descend down the mountain, we keep an eye out for the bear, but it’s nowhere to be found. We arrive back at camp and continue to glass from the river bottom for the bear. The smaller bear is out and about feeding, but no sign of the larger bear. 

It’s getting late and we are still glassing the mountains when Nathan spots a big interior grizzly walking across the mountain way to the north. I watch the grizzly through the spotting scope and I’m amazed at the ease, which with the bear walks across the mountain. This bear is huge and is King of the Mountain! We watch the grizzly until it goes out of sight. 

The clouds are moving in and we go to bed. I can’t help thinking about that big grizzly strutting around. I only wished he was closer, so I could video tape such a massive and beautiful animal. 

Friday, Aug. 24th, 
Heavy rain all night long and in the morning. 

We started glassing for Mr. Bear from the river bottom at 7:00 AM

At 11:00 AM we spot him. He is still in the same general area, feeding on tasty blueberries. Off we go, onward and upward with thoughts of fresh bear back-strap and tenderloin for dinner, racing through my mind. I’m already thinking about a nice bear rug hanging on my wall. This time we will get him I say. We continue to spot the bear as we work our way up through the nasty alder jungle. We clear the alders and the bear is gone. 

So, where did he go? We have lost sight of the bear for a while. We glass and scan the area. Finally, he pops back out, but in a new location and further away. This time we are going to have to be careful. The wind is changing and the thermals will carry our scent towards him. We work our way towards the bear and we are slowly closing the gap when the bear stops eating, sits up, and looks around. I think he is catching our scent! It will be a 300-yard shot if I take it. Nathan and I lay our backpacks down and I take a seated position behind the packs. Matt and I watch the bear while Nathan breaks some branches off in front of me, so I can make a clear shot. The bear continues to feed, but he also continues to check the air and look around. I slow my breathing down and try to relax.  

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The bear gives me a nice side shot and I take it. The bear spins and goes into the heavy alders. I’m confident that I hit the bear, and we know it will take time to work our way to the spot where the bear was hit.

Nathan advises that he should go to the spot and search for a blood trail, while I stay out and watch the openings in the mountain in case the bear comes running out.  

Shortly, after Nathan enters the thick alders, he reports finding a blood trail. A little while later Nathan fires his rifle to make sure the bear is finished. Matt and I work our way to the location. I place my tag on the bear and “high five” Nathan and Matt and thank them for their help.

We take pictures and videotape of the bear. Nathan and Matt cape the bear out and butcher it. We decide to pass on lunch in order to get back to main camp before dark.

We load up our packs with cape, meat, and gear and happily walk down the mountain. 

As we are working our way down the mountain, I spot a moose on the other side of the river. I start to point this out to Nathan and Matt, when I notice a huge grizzly walking south of the moose. We get the binoculars and spotting scope out and take a look. I videotape the bear with the camcorder.

It’s the same grizzly from last night. It moved across the river to the east side and was working south, eating every blueberry in sight. We continued down the mountain to main camp.

Once we arrive at main camp, we set up the spotting scope to watch the grizzly and glass with the binoculars. There is distance between main camp and the grizzly, but the big bear is closer, so I videotape some more. We watch the grizzly while dining on black bear back straps. The grizzly is a nice brown color with a light brown collar. Grizzly season starts September 1st and I only wonder what he would square. 

Saturday, Aug. 25th, 
I wake up at 6:00 AM after a good night’s sleep. The weather is clearing out and it’s a nice crisp morning. I visit the “library” and catch up on some reading. After the “library” visit, I’m walking back to my tent and I see a black bear 30 yards behind my tent. The bear is sneaking down a little feeder stream. All I have on is a pair of white briefs, thin shirt and tennis shoes. The bear and I make eye contact and he takes off at a full run down stream. It dawns on me that, that ain’t no ordinary black bear, that’s the camp raider, Chainsaw and he probably hit the meat pole. I politely tell Chainsaw that he’s one lucky bear, because I didn’t have a valid tag for his hind end.

I head to the meat pole and sure enough, Chainsaw had been there. The damage wasn’t much and I laugh about the camp raidin’ bear and I wonder if he didn’t get the biggest laugh. 

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I then notice several black spots walking across the face of the mountain. I grab my binoculars and see a black bear sow with three cubs working their way across the mountain. I video tape this happy family and enjoy watching them play and eat for a while. 

Later on Saturday night, Jeff returns with his two brown bear hunters. We are all pretty excited, because one hunter took a 9 ½’ square Brown Bear with a huge skull. The Brown Bear cape is laid out and re-salted. I video tape the hide and skull, and I can’t get over the size of these animals. The happy hunter from Knoxville, Tennessee said this bear controlled the best fishing spot on the river and it was evident by the fresh battle scares on the bear’s head. I was happy for both the hunter and Jeff. I knew about the decision’s Jeff had to make and the work that went into switching camps when the weather wasn’t cooperating and Jeff’s efforts to try and make this a good hunt for everyone. 

Kris made a delicious cheesecake dessert for all of us that night. There was enough cheesecake left over and since Sunday was our departure day, we decided to have the rest the next day.  

Sunday, Aug. 26th, 
Apparently, I slept to good. While we slept, Chainsaw walked right by my tent, upset a plastic barrel by the shower house and entered the supply tent. While inside the supply tent, that camp raidin’ bear, gently lifted the lid off of the cheesecake pan and ate all of our cheesecake. Chainsaw left without even disturbing the two bear dogs.

We had forgotten to string the cans across the supply tent the night before and Chainsaw must have known that. I’m sure he had a “cheesy” smile when he left camp. 

Unfortunately, all good and great things come to an end. Tim from Jay Hawk Air Service arrived in the afternoon for our flight back to Anchorage.

I thanked everyone at camp for their hard work in making this hunt a dream come true.

Our plane is loaded down and we take off for Anchorage. The ride is bumpy, but the scenery is unreal. 

For me, this has been a very rewarding and awesome hunt in so many ways. I actually witnessed the business from an owner’s standpoint. With reputable outfitters, there is a ton of work that will go into a First Class operation that may not be seen by the hunter. When things aren’t going right, believe me, the guide is worrying too. After this hunt, I consider Jeff & Kris Pralle good friends and my home is open to them and their staff anytime.  
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I would physically train as hard and as much as you can prior to making any Alaskan hunting trip. You will get far more enjoyment out of your hunt. Practice with your rifle as much as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to shoot up a ton of ammo in order to practice. Double check to make sure the gun is unloaded and no ammo is in the area. With an empty rifle, practice going into different shooting positions, dry firing, working the bolt, coming on target, looking through the scope at a paper animal target, etc.. Study the ammo charts for the particular round you choose for the hunt. Use only top quality gear and you won’t go wrong. Communicate with your guide prior to arriving in Alaska and get all of your questions answered.

Monday, Aug. 27th 

Attention all passengers! Northwest flight 848 with non-stop service from Anchorage to Minneapolis/ St.Paul is now boarding.

Alaska, I have to leave you for now, but I hope I get to see you again very soon. Thanks for the memories of a lifetime. I’m sure going to miss you, but I’ll never forget you. 

Sir, ticket please! Ohh, yahh..sorry maam, you will have to excuse me. I was thinking about something else.  

Alaskan hunting terms: 
This won’t hurt: Kicks like a mule.
Shake it off, you’ll be okay: Near death experience
Swamp Donkey: Moose

Jeff Pralle
P.O.Box 512
Willow, Alaska 99688