Deadly Passion: Surviving Bad Weather in Alaska

Every good hunter needs a solid role model, and Melissa Bachman, host of Winchester’s Deadly Passion, fits that bill perfectly with a unique ability to share her love for hunting with passionate fans and viewers. Tune in to Winchester’s Deadly Passion Sundays at 2pm ET.

 Melissa Bachman is glassing Glassing for a Brown Bear.

Melissa Bachman is glassing Glassing for a Brown Bear.

Anytime you’re hunting Alaska, one of your worst enemies is usually the weather.  It can change for the worse in a hurry and stay nasty for days on end.  Of course this can make or break a hunt, but a lot of it comes down to learning how to make the best out of what mother nature throws at you.  If there is anyplace that usually has the most drastic weather it would probably be the Alaskan peninsula and that’s where I was headed for my first brown bear hunt.  We were heading in during the first part of October which can get cold and nasty in a hurry.  To start the trip off we were weathered in for two long days in Iliamna as the winds were too strong to fly and the rain was coming down in sheets.   We were taking a super cub one person at a time to our tent camp location, and needed the winds to calm down enough to cross the lake and safely land on the tundra to start setting up camp.

There was no shortage of bad weather on this trip.

There was no shortage of bad weather on this trip.

Once the weather finally broke, it was a mad dash to get all the gear weighed, loaded, and the shuttling began one person at a time out to our new home on the tundra for the next 10-days.  Ryan McCue, owner of Brown Bear Safari’s was the head guide on this trip along with Jason Boyer, both whom I’ve hunted black bear with in the past.  Ryan had a great location scouted out for our camp in a patch of alders on a hillside of the tundra.  There is very little cover out in the middle of the tundra, but anything is better than nothing.  We knew the winds were likely to pick up again and having something to tie down to and block the wind would be a saving grace later on.  Well later on came and when the 70mph winds rolled through we were more than happy to have the extra protection and wind break from the alders.

Bad Weather Cooking in Camp

Melissa's Camp for the duration of  her hunt.

Melissa’s Camp for the duration of her hunt.

As far as hunting, we decided to maximize our time even though the winds were howling and the temps were cold.  Our main glassing point was up high on a bare hill where the winds were downright brutal.  Instead of suffering, we all pitched in and built a rock wall as a wind break using all the rocks laying around on the tundra.  It took a little while, but was well worth our time as the rest of the trip we had the protection of our wall and it literally made a night and day difference when glassing for 8-10 hours a day from up high.  This was something simple, but allowed us to brave the cold weather and wind and make the most out of what mother nature through at us.

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