Category Archives: Alaska Outdoors

Animal’s Daily Wildlife News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians!

Add this to the list of “reasons we love Alaska.”  Last Sunday, a young bull moose spent the day relaxing under the big spruce tree behind the workshop.  Here’s a photo:

Now, a couple of precautionary notes on that photo:

You really don’t want to try approaching one of these animals, even a young one like this.  A big mature bull in his prime can weigh close to half a ton, and they are frequently ill-tempered.  Even a cow can weight 7-800 pounds and will vigorously defend any calves she has in the area.  I should note that when I took this photo, I was:

  • Behind a six-foot pile of packed, plowed snow.
  • A couple of steps away from being able to duck behind the tractor.
  • A short distance away, using a 300mm telephoto lens.

Even so, it’s great living in a place where you can have visitors like this, even if it does require some caution – and a good sidearm, just in case.

Oh, and as for photography; while so much seems to be done with the ubiquitous cellular phone camera now, and while I do a lot of that my own self (it’s nothing if not convenient) a really good digital SLR just can’t be beat.  Ours is a Canon EOS Rebel, which brand we chose as we’ve had good luck with their film cameras – Mrs. Animal still has her 35mm setup which is based on a Canon A-1, one of the best 35mm film cameras ever made.  While the megapixel rating may not seem much different than a newer phone camera, the light-gathering ability of the big lens and the ability to use wide-angle and telephoto lenses makes it vastly easier to get really good photos.  Like this one:

Well worth the cost, if you like catching those moments.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale, The Daley Gator, The Other McCain and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links.  As always, if I’ve overlooked your linkback, let me know in the comments and I’ll get you added to the weekly callout.

Now then:  I’m fed up with politics and public affairs at the moment, so I’m going to talk about the weather instead.

Winter is showing up on the horizon most places in the United States (and indeed, the northern hemisphere) but here in the Great Land, it’s already here and has settled in for a long stay.  Our recreation is still a bit hampered here as we have not yet found a good snow machine that suits our needs (for you folks in the 48, that’s a snowmobile; in Canada, it’s a sled.)  But I do have a good set of snowshoes, so I’ll get out some, and who knows, maybe I’ll get a few big-bodied snowshoe hares.  They’re good eating, and Mrs. Animal would like to have a few dazzling white winter hare pelts for some various crafting purposes.

Lots of folks still today living in places like Florida and Arizona haven’t really experienced a northern winter.  Here, from the Hulu show Letterkenny, is a humorous take on the northern winter.

Canada, not Alaska, but the winter weather is similar.  If you haven’t checked out Letterkenny, I recommend it.  It’s comedy as it used to be; they poke fun at pretty much everything, while still being a good-natured take on what life in a small town is like.  I enjoy that bit because I grew up in a small town, and after almost forty years of living in cities, I’m finally back in a small community again, and really enjoying it.

Yr. obdt. moving some snow.

Back to the weather:  We have between six and eight inches of snow on the ground right now.  Temps have already dipped below zero a few times.  The snow will be here until May.  And it will remain as it is, pristine, white and beautiful.

Winters here are long and cold.  But that’s OK.  It’s Alaska, not Miami.  We’re prepared, with plenty of firewood, a utility tractor to move snow, and a well-stocked freezer.  As I’ve always said, the thing we enjoy most about winter is feeling proofed against it.  And here in Alaska, we have a long time every year to enjoy that feeling.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Daley Gator, The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

It was a great weekend here in the Great Land.  Yesterday (Sunday) was a bit rainy, but Saturday dawned fair, so I loaded the truck and went forthwith about seventy miles north to Denali State Park to look for some toothsome game birds.  I only found one, but that one bird fell to the first shot I have fired at game with the hand-made Henry Tolley side-by-side I bought a couple of years back.  The Tolley is a joy to carry; at a tad over six pounds it’s like carrying a toothbrush.  But even restricted as it is to low-pressure 2 1/2″ 12 gauge shells, it swatted this grouse right out of the air.

Sprucies are good eating.  With a bit of luck I’ll stuff some more in the freezer before winter settles in for good.

When winter does come in, I may get into the state land behind the house to look for some snowshoe hares.  Not only are they likewise good eating, Mrs. Animal expects some winter-white hare pelts for crafting purposes.

The longer we live in Alaska, the more we love it.

Animal’s Daily Chicken Thief News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  This is one of the most Alaska stories you’re liable to find around:  A bear that attacked a father in son is not in fact the same bear that’s been raiding local chicken coops.  Excerpt:

A necropsy has been completed on the bear that attacked a 9-year-old boy and an adult male on Tuesday evening near Palmer.

The two were hunting in the Palmer Hay Flats area when they stumbled across a sow and her cub. Regional Management Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Conservation Todd Rinaldi said Thursday that he believes the individuals surprised the bear.

“These were folks that were engaged in hunting activity which is usually a quiet activity,” Rinaldi said. “It becomes a really tricky situation to hunt animals in the bush while simultaneously making your presence known and not surprising animals like bears.”

According to Rinaldi, the pair tried to remove themselves from the situation upon encountering the animal, but the bear made threatening moves, causing the adult to fire his weapon. The carcass was discovered by Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers that same evening.

After numerous households experienced chicken coop raids in the last week, residents were left wondering if it was the same bear that had been showing up in the Butte, but department officials don’t believe that it is.

Bears, yes, can be an issue around here.  As previously noted, last spring we had a mature black hanging around the neighborhood for a while, and a neighbor (I didn’t see it myself) described it as a big one.  For a few days I carried a 12-gauge pump stuffed with 00 buckshot back and forth to the office and to keep an eye on things while Mrs. Animal worked in the greenhouse.  But we never saw this one ourselves.  If I’d have gotten a clear shot, he’d be in the freezer right now.

We’re pretty sure he moved on to the nearby Susitna River to see if he could do some fishing.

Bears can be dangerous, although here in the Great Land moose injure more people than bears.  Large, hairy critters in general can be dangerous, and our ever-more-urbanized population doesn’t always seem to realize that.

But that’s down in the 48, mostly, and when it happens up here it’s often tourists.  Folks who live up here tend to know how to deal with wildlife, although you do get some nitwits like that idiot Tim Treadwell dropping in now and then.  But then, what else are Darwin Awards for?

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the bountiful late-summer harvests around here are berries.  While Alaska has a rich assortment of edible berries, we have on our own property a good supply of raspberry brambles.  The advantage in these is twofold, in that 1) they are delicious and useful in preserves, pies and muffins, and b) we don’t have to go anywhere to get them.

So far we have gathered in between a gallon and a gallon and a half of the rich, luscious fruit, with more to come.  Come the depth of our sub-Arctic winter, Mrs. Animal plans to use some of these to bake fresh raspberry muffins, so that we can enjoy a little taste of summer.   I’m looking forward to that.

And so…

On To the Links!

How bad are the emissions from green activists private jets?  Pretty bad.

The Return of Trump.

Sanctuary Cities… aren’t.

I love a happy ending.

Gutfeld shuts down Geraldo.

Ahead, Troll Factor Six!

Florida isn’t making Democrats look bad.  Democrats are making Democrats look bad.

How much of the US have the Chinese infiltrated?  More than we’re comfortable with, that’s for sure.

Four reasons Brian Stelter was sent off to prepare for his second career as an actual potato.

No shit, Sherlock.

George Orwell chortles from the grave.

Frankly, we can’t afford either party in Congress.

A fish rots from the head.

Fucking savages.

He’s on vacation – again?

This Week’s Idiots:

A bumper crop this week.

Slate’s Nitish Pahwa is an idiot.

CNN’s Adam Sobel is an idiot.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Salon’s Chauncey DeVega (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

CNN’s Casey Michel is an idiot.

This is the stupidest damn thing I’ve seen in quite a while.

Time’s Philip Elliot is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Richard Wolffe is an idiot.

The Grio’s Michael Harriot is an idiot.

Probably not, Juan.  Sorry about your continuing TDS.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

OK, that’s enough of that.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

The name Stuart Leslie Goddard may not mean much to you, but if you were watching the music scene in the early Eighties, as in back when MTV was still playing music, you’ll recognize his pseudonym, Adam Ant.  In those early days of music video, Adam and The Ants were a thing, combining a sort of semi-punk sound with Adam’s trademark flamboyant, swashbuckler style.

As should surprise no one, I have a favorite from Adam’s discography, that being the 1982 single Goody Two Shoes.  It’s not a tune you should be taking too seriously, and it’s not a rigorous example of the craft of music, but it’s peppy and fun, and the accompanying video is entertaining.  Here it is, then – enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Ruffed Grouse

Note:  We’ll talk more about the Mar-A-Lago raid in tomorrow’s post.  I’ve been reading about the incident and its implications, and I have some thoughts.

Now then:   Alaska grouse season, at least here in our game management unit, opens today.  I probably won’t get out until the weekend, but boy howdy am I ever ready to get after them.

Willow Ptarmigan.

We have several kinds of grouse.  Hereabouts we have Spruce Grouse and Ruffed Grouse.  The limit is fifteen birds per day (!) of which no more than two may be ruffies.  Up north there are Sharptail Grouse, and down on the panhandle we have Dusky Grouse, the same toothsome birds I hunted back in Colorado.  At higher elevations and farther north we have three kinds of ptarmigan:  Willow, Rock and White-Tailed.

If I never hunted anything but birds up here, I’d never get bored.  And I have no notion of limiting myself to birds.

And so…

On To the Links!

Oh please please please pretty please.

Show me in the Constitution where the Imperial government is allowed to do this.

The best whiskeys to drink this August.  Kind of partial to Pendleton, myself.

Fuck Around and Find Out II, Electric Boogaloo.

It’s open season on gun laws.  Good.

Shots fired in Mall of the Americas – outside the Nike store?  Hmm.

We can hope. 

I’m a big fan of the DeSantis 2024 idea.  Every day, more and more.

But, yeah, Trump’s running again.

This kid has a bright future.

As jokes go, this was the wurst.

This is some banana republic shit right here.

What could possibly go wrong?

This Week’s Idiots:

The Hill’s Michael Starr Hopkins is an idiot.

She seems nice.

Hypocrites and idiots.

MSNBC’s Jessica Levinson is an idiot.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.  Related:  The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols is an idiot.  To clarify:  Brittney Griner is not a “political prisoner.”  She is an idiot, who brought an illegal substance into a sovereign nation.  We lock up people who do that here, too.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off little runt, and an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I’ve always kind of liked Miranda Lambert.  While later in her career she cultivated kind of a “outlaw country” vibe, earlier on her songs were a little more peppy and upbeat, but still with an authentic country feel.

One of my favorites is New Strings, from her 2005 album Kerosene.  It’s a lively tune, enjoyable and optimistic, and one senses, maybe a little autobiographical.  Here, then, is the official video for that song.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’m thinking of bear hunting.

Specifically, I’m thinking of hunting a certain area about sixty miles north of here, where a walk-in-only trail system leads down to the brushy banks of the Chulitna River.  The problem is, it’s really brushy.  The few people I’ve talked to familiar with this particular area have said that both blacks and griz are abundant in the area, and that you may well smell them before you hear them.  So, I’m thinking the BullWhacker (Marlin 1895G, .45-70) is in order.  The BullWhacker has been customized with a large lever loop, ghost ring sights and a forward-mounted IER scope – colloquially known as a “Scout Scope.”  Seems like the appropriate piece for sneaking through dense brush after big, tough, toothy critters at short range.  Thoughts?

Now that I’ve placed that before you all…

On To the Links!

“We’ve really got him this time!”

City of Broken Windows.

Yes, nuclear is the key to our future.  I’ve been saying this for years.

What would you do?  Granted state lotteries are essentially a tax on stupidity for the most part, but there’s probably no  harm in spending a couple of bucks for the chance to fantasize about what you’d do if you got a few hundred million bucks dropped in your lap.

What could possibly go wrong?

“Please, B’rer Fox, don’t throw me in that there briar patch!”

They’ll want to tighten security on this find.  Contact Chief Inspector Clouseau immediately!

“Heterosexual men seeking to introduce themselves to women should be direct and maybe even a tad vulnerable, while heterosexual women approaching men can essentially say anything they want. “  No shit, Sherlock.

Nothing can fix Twitter.

DeBlasio already did that job for you, you Bronze Age assholes.

Tulsi Gabbard is a sane Democrat, which is like finding a unicorn these days.

When seconds count, the cops are only hours away.

Watch your taxes go up.

GEICO bails on California.

I love a  happy ending.

This Week’s Idiots:

NY Magazine’s Jonathan Chait (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Yes, you idiot, that means we’re in a recession.

USAToday‘s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Michael Cohen is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem (I’m sensing a pattern here) is an idiot.

Robert Reich is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

California is run by idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Mrs. Animal and I have seen the Blue Man Group twice, once at their regular venue in Las Vegas, and once at their traveling show in Denver.  On that latter show they shared the stage with VenusHum, a ‘synth-pop’ band that saw some success in the early Aughts.

We saw this song on the traveling show; it was later released on the Blue Man Group’s 2003 album The Complex, and it’s probably the best cover of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love ever done; to tell the truth, I prefer it to the original.  Anyway, here; make up your own mind, and feel free to let us know in the comments.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the interesting summer visitors to the Great Land is the Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius), a relative of the more common American Robin who also hits up our area for summer feeding & breeding.

But while the robins sing loudly and melodiously from the tops of trees, and hunt insects and worms in our open yard, the Varied Thrush prefers to stay well back in the brush, away from the open areas.  It’s song isn’t much, just a metallic trill, repeated here and there in the undergrowth.  I haven’t been able to lay eyes on one yet, but we hear them every day.  Sooner or later I’ll have to wander into the mosquito-laden woods and find one.  Hearing them is good, but actually laying eyes on a bird is somehow more satisfying.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Well, here’s a rare bit of good news out of California.

No shit, Sherlock.

Hint:  Democrats.

It’s the economy, stupid.

I love a happy ending.

I love a happy ending II.

Yeah, he’s probably toast.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

We can hope.

The redpilling of Bill Maher continues.

There are still a few honest liberals around.

Entropy hits Disney.

It’s all part of the plan.

Your dollar is now worth less than it was a month ago.

The Germans do have a reputation for building good tanks.

This Week’s Idiots:

Watch this idiot prevaricate.

The Philly Enquirer’s editorial board are all idiots.

MSNBC’s Charlie Sykes is an idiot.

Fat, flatulent blowpig Michael Moore can fuck right off.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is still an idiot.

Maureen Dowd is an idiot.

The Hill’s Bill Schneider is an idiot.

The question these idiots can’t answer is “at what cost?”

Are these idiots threatening an insurrection?  Imagine the reaction from the legacy media if these were Republican congresscritters.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Up until the early Seventies, America’s Songwriter, Bob Dylan, was mostly known as an acoustic folk artist.  But in 1975 and 1976, he put on the Rolling Thunder Revue, set in a variety of small venues around the country.  One of those shows was televised, that being the May 23, 1976 show in Fort Collins, Colorado.  That recording later became the live album Hard Rain, and that concert also presented my favorite version of what I consider one of Dylan’s finest songs, Shelter From the Storm. 

This performance settled any doubts that the folk artist Dylan could also do rock & roll.  Here, then, is that piece from that show.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

In the interest of better access to Alaska’s hunting and fishing grounds, Mrs. Animal and I have been looking for an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) to get us farther afield, faster.  Such are popular and, in some cases, near-indispensable for accessing good Alaska terrain.

Something like this.

Problem is, there isn’t much in the way of used inventory available.  So we bit the bullet and ordered a new 2022 Polaris ATV.  At least, as I reckon it, buying a new one and taking good care of it should ensure that it will last, well, as long as I’ll need it to.  We should have delivery of it in late August, just in time for hunting seasons.  Watch this space for narratives!

And so…

On To the Links!

I love a happy ending.

Fucking savages.

Well, this isn’t good.

Taxation is theft.

Why Democrats are losing.  Because they’re horribly out of touch and their policy positions are shit?

Wild boars are ransacking Rome.

Hybrid war – I guess it goes farther than electric war but not as far as gas-powered war?

We get $5/gallon gas, they get free Peloton memberships.

Maybe because of that “Latinx” horseshit.

Somalia?  Somalia?   Fucking Somalia?  What possible reason is there for even one U.S. soldier to be in Somalia?

Maybe so, but never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

How can you tell a politician is lying?  His lips are moving.

This Week’s Idiots:

Donna Brazile is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Bryce Covert is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Jessica Levinson is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Anthea Butler (You can always count on MSNBC for idiots) is an idiot.

USAToday‘s Ben Jealous is an idiot.

NY Magazine’s Jake Bittle is an idiot.

Vox’s Li Zhou is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In 1991, just after we got home from the General Schwarzkopf Traveling Road Show’s Highway of Death Tour, Mrs. Animal and I were able to catch one of America’s most famous concert events when we saw the Grateful Dead at the old Mile High Stadium in Denver.

It was a hell of a show.  As I recall we paid $17 for tickets.  Carlos Santana opened; he played for 90 minutes.  The Grateful Dead, backed up by Bruce Hornsby on keyboards and Branford Marsalis on sax, played for almost six hours. For comparison, I remember reading that same summer Michael Jackson did a show in Las Vegas.  Tickets started at $65 and he was actually on stage for less than an hour.

Here, then, from the live album Without a Net, recorded on that same tour, is the 16-minute epic Eyes of the World.  It’s probably my favorite Grateful Dead tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Last week I finally filled a space in the gun safe that’s been empty a while, when I successfully bid on a Savage 24B-DL.  This is a neat little combination rifle/shotgun, sporting a .22WMR barrel over a 20 gauge shotgun barrel.  Just the thing for casual pokes through the woods for grouse and showshoe hares.

This is an early model of the 24, with nicer wood than the later models, not to mention a more robust frame-mounted selector.  I’ve already ordered a wide-angle, low-power scope to go on the rig, to better accommodate my aging optics, although it occurs to me that a peep sight would work well too.

I like the .22WMR over the more common .22LR in this gun, favoring as I do that little extra punch on big snowshoe hares or maybe, now and then, a sleek winter fox or pine marten.  I suspect this rig will see a lot of use in the Alaska woods – there’s a reason these old combo guns are very popular in the Great Land.

And so…

On To the Links!

Escape from LA II, Electric Boogaloo.

Well, this is encouraging.

Down, down, down, down.

Up, up, up, up.

Cool bit of speculation:  What might aliens look like?

LA keeps getting worse.

Ben Franklin’s greatest invention.

Time Crystals. 

Nigel Farage asks a damn good question.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Bawk bawk.

Heck’s Angels.

It seems archery was vital to the survival of our ancestors. 

China seeks Earth 2.0.

A (Trump-appointed) Federal judge has struck down the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration’s travel mask mandate.  And the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration has caved.

This Week’s Idiots:

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.  Double dose of Krugman idiocy this week.

The Guardian’s Thomas Zimmer is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ryan Cooper is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s (I’m sensing a pattern here) Ja’han Jones is an idiot. 

Maureen Dowd is feeling the Bern – and embracing the idiocy.

The Seattle Times’ Clyde Ford is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Heilweil is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Some songs have popular covers that are better (well, that I like better) that the originals.  Aerosmith did Come Together better than the Beatles, as Joe Cocker did the best version of A Little Help From My Friends.

Another example is Grand Funk Railroad’s version of The Loco-Motion.  While “Little Eva” Boyd did it first, in 1962, and did it pretty damn well, I still like Grand Funk Railroad’s 1974 version better.  And so, without further ado, here it is.  Enjoy.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.