The Butte near Palmer is ready for climbing. It is one of the first hills here in the Matanuska Valley that is free of ice and snow early each spring. I just climbed it this morning, along with about 47 other people and dogs enjoying the sun. 50+ degrees feels great in April.
It’s already April, so only four short months before hunting in Alaska is in full swing, and Sheep Hunting in Alaska starts. And often, June and July are so busy with other summer activities, conditioning takes a back seat. So I rely heavily on April and May for the bulk of my conditioning exercise. Then I often coast through to August, with only scattered conditioning jaunts to put the finishing touches on “sheep shape” for me. And, getting into great shape by the end of May helps me enjoy the Alaska outdoors to the fullest, since our fishing, camping, and hiking often demand more than couch potatoes can handle. See you on the hills. http://www.tonyruss.com/; http://www.tonyruss.com/PageBook-SheepHuntinginAK.html
I finally got out to break in my new Winchester Model 70 chambered in 30.06 Springfield – fired one shot six times and cleaned each time, then fired three 3-shot groups and cleaned after each. I’ve been without a large caliber rifle for a couple years, and just used my wife’s ’06 in the hiatus. After owning a .416 and a .300 Ultra Mag lately, it is pleasant to shoot the 30.06. Now I need to put a couple hundred rounds through it by fall so I feel good about hitting what I aim at with certainty.
I chose to go most of the way out the Pt. McKenzie road from Wasilla for another of my Alaska outdoor adventures, and ran into a couple older hunters going bear hunting in Alaska. I talked to them when they came back from checking on their black bear bait station. They had no activity at the bait station yet. Typical for this early in the spring. Many of the bears are not out yet, and it seems that even when they do come out it takes a few weeks before they want anything but grass. Baits aren’t typical hit with regularity around this part (Southcentral) of Alaska until the latter part of May. And the really good time is early June. If you are going to hunt Alaska now, spot and stalk hunting would be more productive. http://www.tonyruss.com/PageBookBearHuntinginAlaska.html
April in Alaska is a transition month. We love the longer days and the sunny days and much warmer temperatures. Those hardy individuals who train all winter in pursuit of winning the Iditarod can now rest for a few months. The snow and ice are quickly receding and our thoughts are of the multitude of possible summer/fall outdoor activities we will enjoy in months to come. But, for all the sun and warmth we’re having, there’s really not that many outdoor adventures we can actually have until more snow and ice melts away. So, we plan a lot in April.
If you want to hunt Alaska now, bear hunting in Alaska is one of the earliest pursuits many of us Alaskans plan for. Many brown and grizzly bear hunters will begin their hunts in late April, but most black bear hunters will have to wait until at least early May before there are sufficient animals out to begin their hunts.
The drawing hunt permit winners have already been chosen, so those lucky individuals are seriously planning to go sheep hunting in Alaska and moose hunting in Alaska. But, until at least August, these animals are all out of season for now. However, April is a great time to begin training in earnest for those in the quest for Dall sheep; they can even mix some spring hill climbing with some actual practice of sheep stalking in Alaska. I get out a lot in April, hiking the hills with my Labrador, while trying to help him understand that upland hunting in Alaska is closed until August so I can’t shoot at the birds he flushes.
One of the most important goals I’ve come up with over the long winter is to have moreoutdoor adventures here in Alaska. At least one per week is my goal. And I will include at least one Blog per week on this site – with photos. Alaska is a great place to live, if you love it, and I do. But I have been spending too much time on work and other stuff, and not enough time enjoying the Alaska outdoors. Now is the time… http://www.tonyruss.com/PageBookBearHuntinginAlaska.html