I'm trying to figure out exactly what my wife meant with such a statement.
It all started when I asked a few friends about recommendations for a little vacation for me and my wife, something different, unique. For a long while I thought I had it decided and she and I would be heading to Mexico for a week or so in a small cottage situated in a fishing village, mid-November in the warmth of Mexico... a winner I thought and even Cheryl was excited....
BUT, a local fella I know, Charly Culbertson, had recently been on a trip to Alaska, a semi private cruise on a converted commercial fishing boat, 65' length, wide beam, fresh caught seafood in South East Alaska, ported out of Sitka but cruising around Chichagof Island. Charly mentioned that the fella who owned the boat would be at the Eastern Outdoors Sportsman Show in Harrisburg and that Cheryl and I should chat with him about a cruise... so we did.
Turns out, much to Cheryl's surprise, that the fella is an outfitter, black bear and brown bear hunts, 6 and 10 day hunt respectively. She reluctantly sat at the booth and listen to the chatter that accompanies any gathering of hunters (some lies but mostly from me). Talk of black bear hunts and accommodations on the boat ("little ship" sounds better to a woman) went on for a long while and Cheryl was beginning to get into the spirit of things; pristine beaches for walks, fresh caught food, whales and sea otters, no alarm clock, etc. for six days and all I needed to do was go out for a little while each evening to hunt black bears. She of course understood that I’ve got to hunt something or there'd be no cruise on the "little ship"!!
I thought everything was going well. Cheryl and I even talked of still heading to Mexico and also really enjoying our six day private little cruise... We were about to make the deal when sudden like Cheryl gets a little smile (or maybe mischievous look) on her face...
She turns to me and says "How about the 10 day cruise instead!"........ Talk about dead silence, even the guy in the next outfitter booth stopped talking.......
The outfitter and I didn't know what to do, we stared at each other for a bit being taken completely by surprise at this offering. The 10 day "Cruise" was a Brown Bear hunt, not a Black Bear and a half hunt and Cheryl full well knew what she had just done but wanted to see some squirming I believe. Being of quicker wit than me the outfitter immediately started looking around and acting busy, I was stuck with dealing with the "How about the 10 day cruise instead!" statement. I didn't know where to start so I looked at the pictures on the wall to try to get her to visually see that black bear hunts were 6 days, brown bear hunts were 10 days... the plan failed, she wouldn't look. My mind was racing... what do I do?? I felt trapped, I could see the prize she dangled but thought that she'd snatch it away if I showed any fear or hesitation.... All I could say was "Why the longer cruise??" (I felt like an idiot for being in this situation, a situation I had craftily engineered to get a black bear hunt out of a proposed "vacation" with my wife.) Her reply, which I’m still thinking on, was simply "Well, you're not getting any younger!" With that I knew she was going to let me go and drag her along on the "vacation". We looked up at the outfitters display with prices and pictures, black bear hunts (6 day cruise) and a posted price, then brown bear hunts (10 day cruise!) and what looked like someone's social security number written in instead of a price...
After a few minutes of cautions exchanges the outfitter and I got down to discussing deposits and schedules, constantly checking with Cheryl of course because she was now completely in charge of the entire operation. Cheryl is now going on a semi-private South Eastern Alaskan cruise late Sept to early Oct. 2008, I'm going along also and I get to hunt brown bear in the evening, if she agrees and the cabin is clean, clothes neatly folded and her chocolates are nicely arranged.
I’m still a little leery of that "Well, you're not getting any younger!" statement.
Dave , make sure that you keep your ammo with you at all times as their maybe a switch palnned !! if you get mauled on this "vacation" I'm sure she would be mourning her way to the bank.:p
No but realy your a very lucky man to have a wife willing to go along with such a thing , she likely just wants to see you fullfill your dreams and wants.
I had mentioned a 20 day archery safari in Africa and my wife about freaked , jokingly I said well I'll be hunting cape buffalo and a few other animals that could kill me so theirs a chance she could get pad for it.
She said that if I just went ahead and took this security contractor job in Iraq I could be making money rather than spending it and theirs a better chance that I'd die and she could make even more money :eek: , and of course siding with his mother , the 3yr old says "yea daddy"
Congratulations on your upcoming boat ride. I would be pleased to send you my gear list for consideration as you gather hunting stuff. First on your list should be a rifle, then bullets, then a scope, then a waterproof hard case, then a waterproof soft case, a sling and scope coat are good too. Binocs are nice, so is a knife. Look at TexasHuntCo for ammo holders for the big boolits you will be carrying, same place for a sling. Then plan on buying the best rain gear made. I can make some suggestions, the locals don't use Gortex, they buy rubberized stuff from Finland or someplace in Scandinavia, dark green, you sweat like crazy in it but it stops water. Then a pair of Cabela's Bog-Buster hip waders, they are essential unless you prefer stocking waders and outer boots. Get Bog-busters, they are good.
I suggest a 1-6 scope, biggest freaking caliber you can carry (check on ebay for one of those shoulder-fired grenade launchers - if they come in various sizes choose BIG.). The bears are extra big in fall so they make for a bigger target. Wait till he is charging head-on then hit him under the chin with the rocket propelled grenade, that should slow him down a bit for a finisher. If you cannot find a launcher here is a suggestion - nothing smaller than .416 - period. Do it right, overwhelm the sucker. Hard to beat a 350 grain AFrame bullet, two inches high at 100, 2 inches low at 200.
Regardless of the bears, make sure you experience fresh caught halibut. That there is good stuff, beats the hell out of Mountain House which is very good stuff in its own right. Of course you probably won't be eating Mountain House on the yacht and all, but hopefully you will get to eat it during the hunts.
I must warn you, water will be a significant event, both below you and from the skies. Hopefully you will not get into a 7" overnight downpour like I did last year. Another thing, tell your little wife that she is VERY wise selecting a yacht for a basecamp. Seems to me you are in good hands!
As for not getting any younger. It's sure as hell true. Every day. You will thank that lady for taking such good care of you. Or, maybe she wants to feed the bears...
I've already been digging around for gear, the Outfitter stated breathable chest waders are the first order of business. I have a few feelers out for what would be the latest high-tech breathable sock foot as they have apparently come a long way since first introduced.
In big bold print the outfitter states "no cotton clothing" so I figure my standard denim bluejeans and Carharrt shirts would not be met well. The professional suggestion(s) are fleece, wool or naked; I have naked but I am busy looking for wool and more fleece as I get the shivers easy!
I need a wide brimmed hat or cap so I can see a little better during the vertical rain and maybe a chinstrap for the horizontal rain moments. I really don't care too much for hunting in the rain but there is no option on this hunt. Gortex is out as you state, this is the first statement I hear from folks that have been there or live in that climate.
This hunt is in SE Alaska, ABC islands (Chichagof for me) brown bears, a bit smaller than your Penninsula (?) monster with average probably in the 8.5' to 9' range.
I'm taking my Marlins along this trip, a 45-70 loaded up a bit and a 450 Marlin (non-ported version) for backup. I'm told the shots will more than likely be close to very close. I'll probably stick a pair of 2.5 x 7 Leupolds on them and leave the Butler Creek caps home. Seems a ziplok bag full of paper towels to wipe the fog and water drops off the scope are a better option or in the extreme an upside down dip in the stream works. What stream you say??? The method preferred is apparently a stalk up the middle of an active salmon stream in the late evening, find a likely spot and kneel or wedge into a logjam. If no suitable spot if found we keep wading upstream until all dark then turn around and wade back down stream in the dark, back to the little 14' skiff and motor to the big boat (change underware [throw the soiled one's over the side] and begin drying off). I've loaded up some 350 Hornady FP for each little rifle, about 2000 to 2100fps, outfitter carries a 458 Win to back me up.
I asked the fella if I should bring a handgun or big knife just in case the bear attacks and I lose my rifle. He said it would not be a good idea, if the bear gets me they (the bears) won't eat the rifle but if I carry a knife or handgun the bear could choke on such small items and he didn't want that on his conscience!
(Cheryl heard the part about how the brown bears are stalked before she offered to take the 10 day vacation, she may be figuring on a younger man come next Spring!)
We should be able to do a bit of fishing and crabbing or whatever, fresh food from somewhere I guess. I'm gonna take my Stone Soup recipe along as we're gonna get up on the rocky beaches at least once I figure and I'm a terrible provider.