Author

Bjorn Dihle

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Bull muskox spar by butting heads, sometimes running at each other full bore before colliding. Four inches of horn and three inches of bone protect the brain from injury during this violent contact. The first time I encountered muskox in the wild I felt as spectacular as Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear and football helmet in the movie Risky Business. I was skiing across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in March as mountains and the coastal plain glowed blue in the winter light. ANWR, long known as the battleground between wilderness and oil lovers, is the sort of place you can slow dance with your inner Frankenstein without the judgement of others. Better yet, it’s one of a handful of regions in Alaska you can see muskox. A herd of 15 grazed on a windswept rise above a frozen river ahead of me. A bull hoofed at…

Teresa Whipple loves bears more than beer, rodeos, and even eight-week old yellow lab puppies. She began her bear viewing and guiding career a decade ago in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. There, she met a coastal grizzly nicknamed Bella, whose beauty, elegance, and intelligence inspired Teresa to venture deep into the bear world. Now, Teresa leads bear viewing trips all over Alaska, including grizzly havens like Admiralty Island and Katmai National Park. Right around the time brown bears are denning up for the winter, she often travels to Hudson Bay to guide polar bear adventures. After years of hanging with bears, Teresa created Ursus Major Training & Consulting, a company that specializes in bear safety training and education. Bear behavior and safety are complex, nuanced topics, and there’s a lot of contradictory information out there. Teresa’s training programs are customized to companies’ and individuals’ unique needs and offer a…

Looking for game and enjoying being in the mountains is how most hunters actually spend their time when out there. Here, the author’s brother contemplates caribou country. Photo by Bjorn Dihle. MC, my better half, exhaled like an enraged grizzly and flung an antique rocking chair against our home’s wall. Hell knows no fury like an Alaskan woman who wants to go hunting but can’t get time off from work. “If I can’t go caribou hunting you sure as Peter Piper’s pickled peppers can’t either!” she yelled. MC had been a gentle vegetarian when we met, but on our second date, which took place deep in the wilderness, she was faced with a situation where she had to kill or be killed. There, beneath the aurora dancing across the night sky, as wolves howled in tribute, she tasted the blood of the beast for the first time and there was…

Eagle Enterprises Electro Bear Guard UltraLite Fence I used to stick my nose up at the thought of using an electric bear fence, but after grizzlies made contact with my tent a few times (including a good ol’ fashion trampling with me in it), I’ve come to the conclusion that bears are lousy tentmates. An electric bear fence can make all the difference in keeping you and your gear intact. In some places in Alaska you’d be crazy to camp without one. Eagle Enterprises, which specializes in outdoor survival, safety, and rescue gear, offers a variety of custom-made electric fences that can be used to protect your camp, plane, cabin, or other wilderness assets. They’re an old-school Alaskan company. You call them up and discuss the sort of fence you want, then they build it for you. I was stoked to test Eagle Enterprises’ UltraLite fence, which, at two pounds,…