Just returned from Alaska after spending a week hunting with Buck Brown. The trip exceeded my expectations on every level. The 'super moon' had the tides at 20 year highs and the water taxi across the bay was a little dicey. When Buck met us down at the dock he had to drive through 2 feet of water just so I could unload my gear from the boat.
When we got to the floating blind the first morning I had no idea what to expect. Buck explained the sea duck limits to me and, admittedly, I was very anxious when I started to see the birds working because I didn't want to shoot any juvies or hens. After dropping an immature drake whitewing, I quickly got my act together and every bird after that was a trophy quality drake.
Buck asked if fishing for king salmon was something I'd like to try my hand at...and I jumped at the chance to hook my first salmon.
The day we targeted common scoters was a gorgeous cloudless day. The only downside was that the Rocky beach we were hunting that day was facing east. The commons showed up, but IDing drakes that were decoying right into the sun had me pulling off several shots. I still was able to bag a mature drake common though.
The day we specifically targeted barrows absolutely blew me away. After a slow start we moved into a very sheltered back Bay. When a wad of 40 goldeneyes starts to put their feet down over your decoys it's something that I will never forget the rest of my life.
We had our toughest hunt going after the longtails. Of course Buck knew where they'd be but the first dozen birds we saw just didn't want to decoy for us. I finally bagged my bird as the snow was really starting to fall and the temps were dropping. Our persistence paid off big time.
Downtown Seldovia was where I found myself every evening talking to the locals and glassing the Bay. The Linwood bar and it's patrons made me feel like a regular on Cheers.