The Last Alaskans

6:36 p.m. on June 1, 2015 (EDT)
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New tv show about the last few families with permits to live in the ANWAR. It is about as real as it gets. It is obvious that bush living is a lot of work. check it out. 

6:09 a.m. on June 2, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks for posting, will do.

9:33 a.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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I would not expect this post to go over well with backpackers, but it would very educational for people to see this style of bush living. It relates to the way North1 goes about things. It is quite in contrast to the urban style.

11:00 a.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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Haven't caught it yet, but there is a HUGE difference between those who tour the back country and those who live in the back country. There are also vast differences in those who identify as backpackers and bushcrafters.

You will not read or see news stories of those living in the back country being attacked or killed while taking pictures of wild animals, but the tourist find themselves most likely to be the subject of such stories.

I think the differences are cultural and far too many refuse to acknowledge the merits of the back country culture they id with. Each group has their share of granola that it would be better if they enjoyed nature in city parks where it is easier to clean up after them, but that ain't happening.


I participate with the REI advisory group and found myself to begin to err on the judgmental side during the last session with the group while discussing their new evergreen line. It's just car camping and backyard party gear and I was less than enthused, but after thinking those consumers need product, and why knock an effort to make some cash and meet a need.

I grew up hunting and fishing as a way of life where we did what was in season outdoors, it was what you did. I'm outside of the hunting community now and do miss my rural roots which is why I began backpacking, but just walking thru the woods is less engaging that going to the woods to drag home sustenance. The rewards are are just totally different imo. 

While I have respect for those who walk for 100's of miles following leave no trace, my esteem for those who live and make their living in the back country is much different. It is akin to my esteem for those who make their own way in society by forging their own path that by and large runs cross grain of the paths the masses follow.

12:41 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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Great words Dirt. You have lots of self-awareness.

You are welcome at my fire anytime.

6:21 p.m. on June 3, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks, your fire is a bit more of a hike than I expect to make anytime soon. Though I plan on getting 3/4th the way there in the fall.

8:52 a.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Like what you had to say dirt. I live, work, and backpack, in the same mountains and, like you, fall into the trap of being judgmental. For me it's those tourists you mentioned. Hard not to out here after tripping over them, cleaning up after them, and closing gates behind them all weekend. I have come to love Monday when they all have gone back to town. Reading your post humbled me up a bit. 

Also like your thoughts regarding the difference between hunting and hiking. I don't hunt much any more but to my way of thinking there is a big difference between walking through a piece of country and actually slowing down to experience it.

12:14 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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It seems to be human nature to want to categorize and judge based on the perceived match (myself included). But in reality it isn’t so simple.

Not to create a fuss, but here in the southern apps some of the least LNT-savvy users are the hunters: during and after boar/ bear hunting seasons just walk the trails and see what’s left there besides the abandoned dogs. In my observations, the only other “group” that leaves more trash in the backcountry is the horse-people. And this year I’ve seen more bad behavior from AT thru- hikers than ever before: pooping on the ground with no cat-hole and leaving a big pile of tp right in view of the trail, flipping a rock over and finding used tuna packages, discovering discarded shoe inserts shoved in the crook of a tree, washing dirty dishes with big food scraps right in the spring near the shelter, and so forth.

Every “group” has users that others in the group feel don’t represent them.

3:07 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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PM, curious question, since I've haven't hunted for many years and never heard of an abandoned dog left by hunters, I'd be interested how to spot one.

Just looking for information, thanks.

dw

4:38 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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dirt,

the radio collars are the big clue, combined with having the dog follow you for three days begging for food is another and if you add in the sunken ribs from starvation it seems pretty clear...plus you meet hunters all along the area trails that will stop and describe a lost dog to you and ask if you've seen it.

I see it every year (for the last decade or so) around Cherokee and Nantahala national forests in TN and NC. I've helped hunters find them from time to time; most hunters will tell you to tie the dog with a short line to a tree near the trailhead if you can. I've actually only been able to do that a couple of times. Often, following hunting season, you'll see the dogs as described above finding their way down forest roads and main roads as you come and go.

Bear hunting is mostly done by having the dogs tree the bear and the hunters find them via the radio collars and shoot the bear out of the tree.

I'm sure there are various reasons for losing the dogs: batteries running out on the collars, the dog simply isn't trained well enough to return, maybe the dog follows a more interesting hiker, etc... I have actually never seen a hunter stay overnight in these areas so if they can't reunite with their dog after a hunt they usually go home and return the next day.

The area in the Citico known as Jeffery Hell is so named because a man named Jeffery went looking for his hunting dog in that dense forest and the last thing anyone ever him say was something like "I'll find that dog if I have to go to hell to get him". Jeffery was never seen again.

 

4:44 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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also meant to add that hunting bears with dogs has been done pretty much since the first white settlers came into the southern apps. I just got done reading Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart and in that book he described such hunts in the early 1900s with inference of much older traditions.

7:38 p.m. on June 4, 2015 (EDT)
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I didn't doubt you saw lost hunting dogs, but I do doubt many hunters just cavalierly drop off a few hundred $$ regularly. I could never leave any animal tied to a tree in the back country.  I'm not crazy about animals, but do have empathy for them that would make that near impossible to do without contacting the hunter to confirm location and they were on the way soon.

So the dogs got lost, you've encountered hunters lookin' for 'em. Doesn't sound near as neglectful as your initial comment about abandoned dogs.

I grew up hunting deer with dogs in VA, at times the dogs get on the trail of something and mere humans can't stay near them, but I only remember loosing one maybe two of the dogs our group used. Those guys values their dogs and would never have abandoned them. It sounds like those hunters you encountered didn't either.


Sure there are all kinds, sure some folk are terrible to their animals, it just doesn't resonate that a guy with money in the dog, money in the collar (which we didn't have), and time invested in the dog would simply abandon their investment without serious effort.

Sounds like harsh terrain. I think we've had a similar exchange on this before on the hunters vs. hikers thread.

You're right, as soon as man learned to train dogs, they were put to work. Sounds like a good read.

6:38 a.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
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dirt,

yep lost would have been a better and more accurate word to use than abandoned, but that probably reveals how I really feel about it after so many experiences of these animals following me for multiple days with no food.

from a conservation and land management standpoint hunting is a vital component and to that end the dogs are a huge efficiency as black bear hunting is really difficult without them; but my point was not about dogs but rather that every classification of backcountry user has within their group those that exhibit bad or annoying behavior. Of course not every hunter leaves their food wrappers and shell casings strewn about but I've personally witnessed many that do...time and time again.

And clearly I do everything right, always make the right choice,  and have never annoyed anyone in the backcountry... :0

oh and to clarify...when hunters have instructed me to tie the animals near the trailhead this happens with an exchange of cell phone numbers..

11:05 a.m. on June 5, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks for the link ppine!

I love being outdoors, sometimes I am hiking for the afternoon and then back home for a hot meal & time with the family. Sometimes I am out for a few days solo backpacking, and sometimes I'm out solo backpacking with the intent of harvesting food along the way.

I backpack, fish, hunt, and use natural resources in the process. I enjoy it all, and I try to follow LNT with the knowledge that some folks who promote LNT don't always see the big picture in terms of resource management. IE - the actual impact of burning butane verses a few sticks, etc.

On the dogs...

I have on a few occasions coordinated with folks on CB or HAM radio to get lost hunting dogs back to their owner, or more precisely the hunters to the dogs location. The owners put a lot of time & money into the dogs and generally work hard to recover them. However many times the dogs are just viewed as an investment or a tool to achieve a task and nothing more, and in those cases it also shows in how the dogs are handled.

I backpacked with a dog for many years, and my relationship with that dog was one of mutual respect, respect for the things the dog could with ease that I will never be able to do. 

I think there will always be some level of contention between groups who use the outdoors, but we also have a lot of common ground.

9:30 a.m. on June 6, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks Mike.

5:57 p.m. on June 28, 2015 (EDT)
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After watching a few more episodes of people that have dedicated their lives to bush living a few things become obvious. They value being self-sufficient and work really hard. They use mostly low tech solutions and simple equipment like external frame packs, Carhartts, and simple clothes. Most of the discussions around here about equipment would be lost on them because they could never afford a $300 jacket or a $400 sleeping bag.

10:34 a.m. on June 29, 2015 (EDT)
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The other thing that stands out is their reverence for being able to live out there. They hunt and trap for a living, but have great respect for the lives that they take. They are very connected to the ecosystem they live with, and are down right philosophical about it. they still get emotional about taking a moose for instance. There is a lot to learn by watching these folks.

September 16, 2019
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