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Thread: More Great Kodiak Island History!

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    More Great Kodiak Island History!

    Here is a guy named Bill Pennell, half of the world famous Pinnell and Talifson hunting guides from Kodiak Island from 1939 thru 1986. The scoring of Brown Bears skulls started in 1963, they still hold more they have of the world records from 1963. God only know what was taken prior to that. Here Bill Pinnell in 1965 showing a hunters skull that was mauled by a Brown Bear in the prior fall and not found till a session and a half later. It is unknown if the bear was wounded and got the hunter or the hunter was only deer hunting and was mauled, but got shot off at the bear in self defence. Both skulls where found less the 25 yards apart. The hunter us still unknown till this day. Most likely a Kodiak Island Russian villager, many where in theses days only known to the villagers. Many did not even know there own birth dates....the book, "Last of the Great Brown Bear Men" is about Pinnell and Talifson. NOTE the Savage lever 99, most likly in 250 Savage. Popular in that time....enjoy...Scott
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I worked next to and in lakes and ocean near their headquarters/field camps in 1970-71. True stories and lots of adventure in their book above worth reading. Local guide Joe Want seen time with them and has even more.

    Gary

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Their names were Bill Pinnell and Morris Talifson. The book is “Last of the Great Brown Bear Men”. By Marvin Clark. See: https://www.amazon.com/Pinnell-Talif.../dp/0937708038

    Both great men, and a lot of fun to hang around. Lots of Billie stories, a real character. Morris was a little more serious, but both were salt of the earth.

    MTV

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    Thanks for the spelling on the name, Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott the cub guy View Post
    ..... NOTE the Savage lever 99, most likly in 250 Savage. Popular in that time....enjoy...Scott
    Very interesting, thanks for posting this.
    Side note...the 250 Savage, aka 250-3000, was considered quite the cartridge when it was introduced.
    One of if not the first commercial cartridge to achieve 3000 fps with factory ammo- hence the "250-3000" moniker.
    Of course, they had to load an 87 grain bullet to get that 3000, although Charles Newton actually designed it with a 100 grain bullet in mind.
    An old Finn Aagard American Rifleman article mentioned that Yukon outfitter Jean Jacquot "bashed numerous grizzlies and moose" with his 250-3000.
    I'm sure he wasn't the only one.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Paid $75 for a featherweight takedown .250 99 in 1966. I would suggest carrying one in grizzly country does not position me high enough in the food chain for my comfort level.
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    Bill and Morris at one time put together a brochure advertising a “Kodiak Brown Bear Spear Hunting package”. It was hilarious, and economical, according to the brochure, since it obviates the cost of taxidermy/tanning of the bear hide, and, of course, saved even more money by requiring only one way air fare to Kodiak.

    I lost my copy somewhere long ago, but it was a hoot.

    I know of at least one other brown bear guide who carried a .243 for backup, though.

    MTV

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    MTV, I have a copy of that, I'm in NV for a few more weeks, ill dig it out and post a few pics. I also have a copy of there " one page " contract....1950 in think...showing the 1948 world record bear...unused, I got them from the old cannery in Olga Bay....they used that as a base camp prior to going upper Frasier lake and Red Shurik Lake. Scott
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    They were residents of the old (Alaska Packers???) cannery for decades. Originally, they lived there as “watchmen”,or at least Bill did. Eventually, the cannery went over to the Native Corporation, and they gave Bill and Morris lifetime use of the cannery.

    MTV
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    In 1970 I'd pass by the cannery (and hopefully their cook shack) once a week going from Red Lake to Alitak Bay and back during the setnet season. Bill or Morris would have me in for a visit and let me stay in their bunkhouse overnight to wash up and sleep. Sometimes if I was late due to weather or lucky they'd share some velveeta cheese and spam sandwiches plus stories of various adventures. Later that season I spent a month there while they were gone with only a watchman for company.

    It wasn't until I read their story in the book did I come to appreciate what they'd done with very little and lots of hard work.

    Gary

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    Yes, the Great old days, I spent many days in Olga Bay, via Deadman bay, that old cannery was once a proud towering building. Now nothing but old pilers in the ocean are left.. low tide showed you a glimmer of what once was. I have spent meny days hunting in Deadman bay, Rick Metsker still lives in Alpine cove in the North East end of Deamans bay. He,s a good man, great memories. I can say I have lived a life of many men. Some save there whole life to going on one hunting trip to Kodiak. I have been there so meny times i cant count them. I am thankful of my youth and the Great folks I have met along the way....Scott
    Last edited by scott the cub guy; 03-10-2018 at 08:57 PM.
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    Hi Scott. Never got to upper Deadman Bay but did work there for F&G two summers. Mostly red salmon at Red, Fraser, and Karluk Lakes plus Alitak Bay. Did a month on Bob Freeman's seiner F/V Pacific dragging a beam trawl on the bottom up and down Deadman Bay and near Akhiok to catch and release King Crabs. The trawl would move across a known area and pick up crabs so the scientist figured out how many there were and how big. The skipper found some spots where spot and side stripe shrimp hung out so we never went hungry. Butter was scarce by the end of the May survey.

    In summer at least the bears could have cared less about us being nearby. They'd come by to sniff us out and rub on the cabins at night to get a scratch. Days they'd walk around us when we were sampling fish but were never a bother. Salmon must taste better than us.

    Gary
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    I grew up right down the road from Bill Pennell in Palmer. His wife Rinna(not sure of spelling). was always home, he was always gone. She used to yell at my Dad over the party line phone. She was a talker. Also had Gary LaRose across the road, used to land his Cubs it his hay field behind the house. That's when I fell in love with Super Cubs. Good neighbors to have.
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    Gary,

    I spent a summer flying a helicopter for Fish and Game on Camp Island in Karluk Lake. We set up a fish weir for implanting code wire for tracking and ran it all summer, but I can’t remember the biologists name (he could have been a tech I suppose). He had a bum arm and could outwork anyone I knew. It would have been 79 or 80 - what an awesome summer that was!

    could have been Len or something like that?? It was a long time ago.....
    Last edited by mam90; 03-11-2018 at 05:47 PM.
    Mark

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    Took my Dad hunting in spring 2000, be got a nice bear.. 2005, I scattered his ashes in Deadmans Bay, with my Uncle Bob....dad would have wanted it no other way.....Scott
    Last edited by scott the cub guy; 03-11-2018 at 07:02 PM.
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    Great post guys ! thanks
    Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    Gary,

    I spent a summer flying a helicopter for Fish and Game on Camp Island in Karluk Lake. We set up a fish weir for implanting code wire for tracking and ran it all summer, but I can’t remember the biologists name (he could have been a tech I suppose). He had a bum arm and could outwork anyone I knew. It would have been 79 or 80 - what an awesome summer that was!

    could have been Len or something like that?? It was a long time ago.....
    Interesting lake and spot...I spent five months on Camp Island in 1971 so wasn't me that you knew. Not sure who that might have been.

    Three of us were there for three a half months and I spent the rest of the five by myself. We ran the fish weir on Thumb Lake outlet but most of the time was spent looking for tagged Red salmon along the shore and up the inlets. Plus we did limnology (water/bugs) sampling throughout the lake. Our camp was the old white Bureau of Commercial Fisheries building on the west side next to the Refuge cabin. Named "Leadbelly's Place" allegedly from the gut bomb sourdough I cooked the crew.

    There were bears near the lake outlet, up Thumb creek, but especially at the south end of Karluk between it and O'Malley Lake. We walked all the inlets every week or so but O'Malley was always a heads up stroll. I think Pinnell and Talifson's crew hunted O'Malley and had camps at Fraser and next to our 1970 camp at Red Lake. Fortunately for us the bears were well fed most of the summer. One other factoid: We saw no deer in 1970-71 nor sign. I guess the place is overrun with them now. Too bad they don't eat tussocks as that's the toughest walking I ever had. Slippery creek rocks or tussocks...pick your poison.

    Gary
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    if I remember correctly there were 2 cabins and a sauna on the island when I was there. Lots of fresh salmon and hot saunas. Life was good. We flew the weir in and set it up at the outlet of Thumb as well.
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    if I remember correctly there were 2 cabins and a sauna on the island when I was there. Lots of fresh salmon and hot saunas. Life was good. We flew the weir in and set it up at the outlet of Thumb as well.
    There was the Pan Abode lincoln log shack built for the hunt of the Shah of Iran or family in the 1960's (CIA support?) on the Thumb Lake side of Camp, then two on the west side...the old BCF building set up by Juday in the late 1920's (https://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/sites/defa...ll/fb47.12.pdf), and the Refuge setup nearby. They wouldn't let us use the nice cabins so we set up a visqueen tent over a coleman stove...boiled some water to wash up and sweat, then jumped in the lake. Our fish weir was wood beams and slats so maybe it rotted out or they removed it.

    Best summer of my life so far.

    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    if I remember correctly there were 2 cabins and a sauna on the island when I was there. Lots of fresh salmon and hot saunas. Life was good. We flew the weir in and set it up at the outlet of Thumb as well.
    The sauna was called “the Queen’s Outhouse”. Because that’s how it started life....as the Queen of Nepal’s private privy. The King and Queen of Nepal were guests of the US State Department, who arranged for the King to hunt a brown bear. The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF, now National Marine Fisheries Service) fell all over themselves to "facilitate" the royals' visit, including constructing this large, insulated and heated outhouse. Only the Queen was permitted to use that outhouse, and before her morning ritual, her hand maid was instructed to go out, light the stove in the outhouse and warm it prior to the Queen's visit.

    Park Munsey was contracted as his guide, and Park’s wife Pat was hired as the Queens hand maid. The King got his bear, the Queen had her heated outhouse, and they left happy. Unfortunately, they left the country and never paid any of their bills.....stiffed everyone. Munseys almost went broke as a result.

    Near as I could figure out, the bear the King killed was killed in a closed area, to boot.

    The aftermath of the "hunt" was a literal library of letters back and forth between the State Department and BCF, each accusing the other of some misdeed or other.

    The BCF fishery research crew turned the insulated outhouse on its side and turned it into a sauna. So at least something positive came of the fiasco. The Refuge folks were smart enough to stay well clear of the whole deal...knowing it’d turn into a CF. But, they kept a thick file on the whole goat rope....interesting reading on a rainy day.

    So, Gary, we must have crossed paths when you were there. I moved to Kodiak in spring of 78 from CDB.

    Karluk Lake is one of my favorite places on this earth....spent a lot of time there.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 03-12-2018 at 09:19 AM.
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    Hate to keep going on about this but, ya, that summer will always stand out as one of my best. They brought the weir in on a boat to an old cannery about half way up Larsen Bay. We slung it in and set it up. I worked with the Biologist and the two techs every day. Float plane came in once a week with groceries and one Friday he brought me a note from my company (Kenai Air) saying they were going to try and get a replacement pilot in soon to give me a break. I sent a note back begging them not to... Thanks for letting me go on about this, they are very fond memories..
    Mark
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    Hey, it's my thread, carry on gents....I'll be going on a goat hunt in a year or two, low tide is not and issue landing my SC in Deadmans or Alpine cove, i long to see my old friend Rick Metsker and Bring him in a few case if beer.....Scott
    Last edited by scott the cub guy; 03-11-2018 at 08:20 PM.

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    MTV...thanks for the correction Mike on the Royalty shack they ran us off from. Guess after 47 years I'm allowed a mistook as usual. Park serviced us at Red, Fraser, and Karluk as well. His windshield popped out of the early 185 at Karluk on a breezy day during rough high wind landing in the mostly calm water channel between Camp Is. and the mainland. We popped it back in and off he went. Great pilot. I was only on Kodiak for 70-71. I had worked from 1965 to then summers in Sitka for the same outfit and was tired of rain. So I moved to Juneau but that was CF #1 (had to wear a tie to work), then on to Fairbanks for the duration > 1998. Today nobody would be allowed to be dropped off for months like we did.

    Mark...Yes Kodiak and the folks that live, work, and play there are unique. Never met any like them before or since. It was a get-it-done environment and nobody complained. Karluk supported a big run of salmon (mainly reds and kings), but with a cannery and fish traps nearby they soon drove the runs down. Plus placing a fish counting weir at the Karluk outlet in the middle off their King spawing area didn't help them either. Once the fish number declined so did the annual nutrient enrichment into the lake(s) from their carcasses. Then the young didn't have as good an environment and the various run's death spiral started. Lots of talk since about fertilizing the lake with chemicals but I guess that's finally been decided against. Do a search for history of Karluk Lake if interested.

    Scott...Never ask an older guy a question.

    Gary

    (even had a pet Magpie that flew into the cabin door on to the dinner table every night at Karluk)
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    Gary, funny thing about that bird, we had a red fox over for dinner nightly, that Rick Metsker dog and a fox fought and played for hours, till they both needed a time out. Damnest....thing you ever seen! One trip a small grizzly and two very small cubs came into camp, some thing, you tell that story, they think you BS them....great stuff.....we never laugh so hard. Scott

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    Yep, one persistent fox was our constant dinner companion as well....
    Mark

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    I can't help but think that even the most tough trappers and woods folks have a special place for wildlife that hangs around camp. Might only be a camp robbing jay or sneaky fox but they eventually become part of the day. I've fed families of local jays/camp robbers for years (two adults and a juvenile for backup). They prefer dry cat food and will spend a -40F short day stashing in nearby trees. First wind of the winter shakes the trees and my dog's very happy to pick up their hard work. Ravens also find the stash through the winter. They'll soon go off nesting but have returned later in the summer if they don't get eaten by an owl or hawk.

    Gary

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    We had a weasel move into the refuge cabin on Camp Island one winter. He was a noisy companion at night, knocking stuff off the counters, etc. Tame, but not that tame...... The next spring, I was dipping water out of the lake from the rock jetty when he ran past me and slipped into the water. I watched as he foraged around on the rocks underwater, hanging onto those rocks. Couldn’t figure out what he was doing. He climbed out of the water with a sculpin in his mouth, curled up on the rocks and ate his catch. We watched him do that dozens of times that summer. Called him Aqua Weasel. Whatever possessed him to try that the first time? But a great foraging strategy.

    MTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    Hate to keep going on about this but, ya, that summer will always stand out as one of my best. They brought the weir in on a boat to an old cannery about half way up Larsen Bay. We slung it in and set it up. I worked with the Biologist and the two techs every day. Float plane came in once a week with groceries and one Friday he brought me a note from my company (Kenai Air) saying they were going to try and get a replacement pilot in soon to give me a break. I sent a note back begging them not to... Thanks for letting me go on about this, they are very fond memories..
    The Lofsteds, Bud and his two sons, did all our bear capture work with their helicopters for us while I was on Kodiak. All three were superb helicpter pilots, and great guys to work with. But, I made the mistake of hanging out with Vern one night in town when we’d gone to town for 100 hour inspections on the helicopter and my cub. No way I could keep up with Vern that night.....I left at 1 AM and he was just getting going, dancing with every gal in the joint. 8 AM and he looked bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    MTV

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    Yes, the Lofstedts were very good to me. Met my wife in Kenai while flying for them as a bonus. I did a fair amount of the Cub flying on the Peninsula for the Fish & Game work with Craig or Vern doing the helicopter work - worked a lot with Ted Spraker. We did moose, wolves, bear, etc.. As far as Vern stories, well I’ve got my share. Have some great Bud stories, too. As far as their piloting abilities, yes all were exceptional no doubt.. Some day I’ll post my experience of Bud giving me my 185 float checkout my first summer working for them...
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    There was the Pan Abode lincoln log shack built for the hunt of the Shah of Iran or family in the 1960's (CIA support?) ......
    Side note... dunno about the Shah himself, but his brother was an avid hunter,
    as well as being a good friend and occasional hunting partner of Jack O'Connor.
    O'Connor always referred to him in his writings as HIH (His Imperial Highness) Prince Abdorreza Pahlavi.

    Last edited by hotrod180; 03-12-2018 at 10:13 AM.
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    Are you talking about jack o,conner the fields and stream writer?...Scott

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    I also worked for Bud, Vern, Craig Lofstedt. Worked with Jim Munson mostly on fixed wing. Great people Miss them. Ahhhh we still have the memories and good times.

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    Oh my gosh, yes. I was there when Jim came to work for Kenai Air. Had great times with him, saw him shortly before he shut down Southcentral. I was visiting relatives in Kenai and he gave me a ride to Anchorage. Was so sad to hear when he was killed. What years were you there? I was there from 79 to 84.
    Mark

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    85-87. Yes was very sad to loose such great guys Jim and Fletch , Both great friends.
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    http://www.wdaguy.com/index.html

    Here's a pic history of Kodiak MES Gooses and Widgeons. I flew as a passenger in my pre-pilot days but knew Guy Powell and Larry Malloy (Biologists) and Dave Henley plus Park Munsey...perhaps others as I don't recall.

    Not a dry eye in the crowd respecting these planes and pilots.

    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    http://www.wdaguy.com/index.html

    Here's a pic history of Kodiak MES Gooses and Widgeons. I flew as a passenger in my pre-pilot days but knew Guy Powell and Larry Malloy (Biologists) and Dave Henley plus Park Munsey...perhaps others as I don't recall.

    Not a dry eye in the crowd respecting these planes and pilots.

    Gary
    Lots of history there, Gary. Some great old airplanes and tough bunch of pilots.

    I had the pleasure of meeting and/or flying with a number of those gents.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 03-13-2018 at 06:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott the cub guy View Post
    Are you talking about jack o,conner the fields and stream writer?...Scott
    I never thought I'd have to explain who Jack O'Connor was!

    http://jack-oconnor.org/biography.html

    He wrote for
    Outdoor Life magazine, actually, for something like 35 years,
    along with authoring several books about hunting.
    Probably the biggest and most well known (early) proponent of the 270 Winchester cartridge,
    and one of the most well known sheep hunters also.
    He passed away in 1978, so his heyday was a bit before my time.
    But along with Elmer Keith (also a bit before my time), Jack O'Connor is one of the most notable gun and outdoor writers ever.
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    Yes i still shoot hunt with my 1943 mod 70-270 also carry my 1943 30-30.
    On another note does anyone remember Dale Moore from Kodiak , Kodiak Western Airways. He started flying in 1956. Great guy lots of stories from Kodiak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eskflyer View Post
    Yes i still shoot hunt with my 1943 mod 70-270 also carry my 1943 30-30.
    On another note does anyone remember Dale Moore from Kodiak , Kodiak Western Airways. He started flying in 1956. Great guy lots of stories from Kodiak.
    Yes, I know Dale, knew him in Kodiak, flew with him after he went to the dark side, and last time I saw him, he and his wife were in Fairbanks on their Harley at Midnight Sun celebration, several years ago. If I recall, they were living around Kenai then.

    A great guy, and a lot of fun to fly with. Dale knows more about water flying than most of us put together.

    MTV

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    Agreed on the jack O'Conner thing, I know his grandson, and boy, is a great guy....many fishing trips with him. I always like O' Conner and Hunter Thompkins for there writings. Hunters work embedded with hells Angel,s was great work for the times....in the end, the madness in his got the best of him and killed himself.....sad day.....scott
    Last edited by scott the cub guy; 03-13-2018 at 04:09 PM.
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