During the fall of 2010, I hunted blacktails and waterfowl with Ninilchik Charters out of Larsen Bay, Alaska. So, when Linda Powell of Mossberg hesitantly invited me back knowing I'd already done a very similar hunt, there was no hesitation on my end for two reasons: The hunting experience is that good, and I knew she was going to ask me to hunt blacktails with slugs. I sit here writing to you now with ocean waves pounding at the beach and snow-capped mountains holding those beaches in place. Kodiak is indeed God-kissed country.
But it's been a while since I've sat here writing to you, so apologies are indeed in order. Yeah, things at the office have been crazy putting out North American Hunter's single-month issues of August, September, October and November, but my self-inflicted problems have been much deeper than publication business.
For starters, I've been in one hell of a hunting slump. It started with an unused tag on a Maine bear hunt during September of last year (a hunt on which I wanted a kill very badly for a very long time), and headed straight to the bottom of the gut pile from there. I went on to miss an Oklahoma whitetail with my muzzleloader, struck out on Minnesota whitetails with my slug gun ... and that was just last year.
I then continued to get embarrassed by turkeys across the country this spring and wound a giant Minnesota black bear with my bow in September in Minnesota. Oh yeah ... I was never able to make much time for bowhunting this fall, and I didn't use my Minnesota slug tag for the second year in a row. Somewhere in there I managed to kill a couple decent hogs in a few Southern states, but the dark cloud still lingers.
Through all of this, I've struggled as a hunter to figure out who I'm becoming. Is it really possible to be stuck in a "hunting rut," or am I actually losing skills and becoming less successful from my own accord? I'm still not sure, but I'm working through it like you would: one hunt at a time.
And what better place to get back on track than along the shores of Kodiak Island, Alaska? The water is salty, but not nearly as much as the pitiful tears I've been crying for the past 12 months.
As long as I've waited for this hunt, I'm already looking at the end of the second day of this 5-day adventure (with 2 days of travel on each end). It's taken me 2 days get the wireless Internet working with my iPad to get this note out to you, but I'm going to make you wait one more day before I bring you up to speed with how this hunt is going. I wanted to lay out a bit of an explanation first, though the more I think about it, the more I realize there are likely a few of you out there who've gone through similar slumps and could've helped me through this.
So, I'm off to bed. Even though there's barely 7 shour hours of hunting light up here this time of year, the weather and terrain of this country have thoroughly worn me down.
And I promise to catch you up ... in the very near future ... on all the hunts I mentioned above. I've got some phenomenal video I'll eventually share of my black bear disaster, but I'm not ready to share that one yet. It still hurts too much.
I'll see ya tomorrow.
Keep your nose to the wind.