A grueling solo Alaska blacktail deer hunt tests Remi Warren's resolve, but is ultimately satisfying as he hikes the steep ridges to fulfill his dream.
Remi Warren admits that he's always wanted to take an Alaska blacktail buck, and he finally has that opportunity as he hunts the ultra-remote Raspberry and Afognak island region of southern Alaska.
It's a brutal and unforgiving landscape, the kind of location where, he says, "logistics can be a nightmare." He gets dropped off by boat onto a dark, rocky beach and has an immediate climb as the mountains rise right from the beach.
His plan is to glass until he spots a deer, and then attempt a stalk, but the rugged terrain makes for some really tough hunting.
The mountainous country is stunningly beautiful. "The country alone makes the trip worth the price of admission," Warren says.
After going buckless the first day, Warren decides to change locations the second day, and hikes through a heavily forested area that opens up into a less severe hilly region. Here he glasses and sees a number of does, and a single buck that doesn't offer him a shot.
Finally, on day four, he sights a blacktail buck and hustles to get within range and take the shot. The shot is good, and Warren breathes a sigh of relief. "Oh man," he says, "I have never worked so hard for a buck in my life."
He figures he hiked around three to four thousand vertical feet, up and down the mountains, each day.
"As hard as I hunted, this is a trophy buck in my mind," Warren reflects as he holds the head of the fat-bodied Alaska blacktail. "This is the most prized forked horn I've ever taken in my life."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he says. "To hunt this hard and to take one on the last day just goes to show, if you keep hunting hard, sooner or later you can be successful."
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.