We’d been having a gorgeous fall this year—lots of sun, warm, but with enough rain to keep the risk of fire low. As 1 September approached, I found myself wishing for some cooler temperatures and some cloudy weather so that when moose and crane season began the chances of the mighty hunter would be improved. Last year we’d had similar weather—clear blue skies and bright sunny days had the cranes flying too high, and bright nights near a full moon seemed to have kept the moose from ambling about during the day. I’d hunted a lot, but hadn’t done much more exciting than lock myself out of my truck at a remote hunting spot. More on that later. In sum, our weather was nice for humans but not very good for bringing wild friends home for dinner.
Very shortly after I returned from fieldwork in Russia this year, Rose and I packed up and headed for Chitina to catch enough salmon for another year of tasty fish. Copper River red salmon, recognized as prize gastronomic fare, is available to Alaska residents through a “personal use fishery” on the Copper River while the salmon are running. A household of two or more can catch 30 red salmon or 29 reds and a king. The latter combination is about as good as fish eating gets, raw or cooked.