Muzzle Loader Activities in Alaska


Participants at the 2002 ASMLA Alaska State Rendezvous

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The Alaska State Muzzle Loading Association is a statewide organization that provides, encourages and actively supports a direct and continuing means for responsible use, ownership, collection, trade, sale and display of muzzle loading firearms and all other associated items of historical and current interest.  Although ASMLA has no shooting range of it's own it cosponsors the Alaska State Rendezvous and the Alaska State Shoot and NMLRA's Alaska Territorial match.  Most of Alaska's muzzle loader and living history clubs are affiliated with the State Association, which plays a lead role in representing our interests in the political arena.  

Booshway report for 2015 Alaska State Rendezvous.

Rendezvous began at 7:00pm Sunday July 12, 2015. The one-day delay was due to Alaska State Territorial’s not ending until late Sunday afternoon. A Total of 53 registered campers, for at least one night. There were a total of 33 day visitors. I counted 21 camps.

Individual placement for shooting and hawk and knife were added as a total standing through the entire week to determine overall winners. Hence a total aggregate score. I will only post the top 3 places for each shoot. Kids hawk took place everyday. Jesse and Smitty took care of this. I do not have the prize results.

The daily shoots began on Monday July 13. There were two shoots per day, unless the weather had other plans, first starting at 9:30am, the second beginning at 1:30pm.
The first shoot on Monday was GOLF. The intent was to stand back 25 yards and try and advance softballs 25 yards. This proved a bit more difficult than expected due to rough terrain. A 1 hour time limit was placed on each group. There were 3 groups. There were 15 shooters. Roger King 1st, Tim Wood 2nd, Keith Bayha 3rd. The second shoot of the day was the Smooth Bore Shoot. This was a trail walk that included 12 targets, to include 4 shot targets, along the creek and hill to the south of the primitive camp location. 10 shooters participated. Shaun Kent 1st, Smitty 2nd, Walt Johnson 3rd.
Additional events were the following: kids decorate cookies, finger weaving for kids, auction off cookies.

Tuesday July 14 at 9:30am the first shoot was the running Bear. Each shooter had a total of 10 shots. 5 each direction the Bear traveled. A total of 17 shooters participated. Keith Bayha 1st, Jeff Binegar 2nd, Tim Wood 3rd. The first afternoon shoot was a poker shoot. This was a paper target event with the best hand deciding your overall placement in the aggregate for the week. 10 shooters participated. Roger King 1st, Pat Reed 2nd, Steve Waggoner 3rd. Immediately following the rifle/pistol trail walk began. Due to the large amount of targets placed in various locations on the hill, the trees and the bushes, a guide/advisor went along with each group. A total of 17 shooters participated in the trail walk. This was ongoing throughout the week. Pat Reed 1st, Steve Waggoner2nd, Rockie Philips 3rd. I have already said that the trail walk needs to be completely cleaned out and start new target locations for future Rendezvous’.
Additional events: kids make walking sticks, ladies embroidery, women and kids paper making, dessert contest.

Wednesday July 15 at 9:30am the first shoot was the running Pig/Peccary. This, like the running Bear, was 10 shots. 5 each for each direction the pig was running. 16 shooters total. Pat Reed 1st, Jim Anderson 2nd, Walt Johnson 3rd. The afternoon shoot began at 1:30pm and was the women’s Gambler Shoot. The idea behind this was sitting at a table shoot a pistol and hit an aggressive bartender, gambler, or whoever without the advantage of seeing the weapon. This proved to be quite a fun and popular shoot. A total of 9 women took part. Some had never fired a weapon before and still managed to hit the target. Janet Bargewell 1st, Shelby Catmell 2nd, Rockie Philips 3rd.
Additional Events: hawk covers for kids, ladies continue embroidery, kids made butter and apple butter. Cal, Susan had much help making fry bread. The butters were used for the fry bread.

Thursday July 16, 9:30am The Running Rabbit was first shoot of the day. Like the other two running targets, each shooter had 10 shots, 5 going each way. There was a .40 caliber limit or 40 grain powder limit. This was due to the more fragile material. 8 shooters participated. Pat Reed 1st, Smitty 2nd, Rockie Philips 3rd. The second shoot was the Bob Hiller “trap door shoot” this was a paper target developed depicting a trap door rifle “door” in an upright position. The object is not to hit the trap door. An egg shoot fol1owed and was used as a tie breaker. 15 shooters participated. Pat Reed 1st, Keith Bayha 2nd, Chester Wolfe 3rd.
Additional Events: kids and women will make ink and quills, ladies make Battenberg lace, kids will make parched corn and bags. MMMLRC meeting, ASMLA meeting, Lance society meeting.

Friday July 17. Rain kept the shoots from happening today. The Ladies Frying Pan and rolling Pin Toss took place in the late afternoon. 6 participants. Rockie Philips 1st, Jesse Smith 2nd, Janet Bargewell 3rd. The Adult Hawk and Knife took place as well. 16 Participants. Tim Wood 1st, Pat Reed 2nd, Bob Lochman 3rd.


Historical Rendezvous in Alaska

Similar to the annual rendezvous of the nineteenth century at which Rocky Mountain trappers exchanged their peltries for equipment and supplies and enjoyed a spree before their next season in the field, modern historical rendezvous are events where living history enthusiasts gather to celebrate the lifestyles of our historical frontier ancestors.  Rendezvous usually include muzzleloader shooting matches and other contests where contestants pit their historical skills against those of others.  At most rendezvous, vendors such as Nor' West Company and skilled craftspeople offer their historically authentic goods for sale.  Participants of historical rendezvous wear  the same clothing and use the same equipment and supplies as our historical ancestors while camping in authentic tents or other shelters.  

Several historical rendezvous are conducted in Alaska each summer.  The two largest of these are the annual Memorial Day Weekend Rendezvous, and the Alaska State Rendezvous.  

The 2010 Memorial Day rendezvous will be held at Granite Creek, just east of Sutton. Booshway Russ Beauvais can be contacted for detailed information.

The 2010 Alaska State Rendezvous will be held July 24 through August 1st at Mendeltna, 152 mile Glenn Highway. Booshway Jim Kruse can be reached at (907) 451-2701 or by Email to Jim Kruse. The 2010 Fall Rendezvous will also be at mile 152.5 of the Glenn highway.


Historical Trekking in Alaska.

The "Alaskan Lifestyle" largely centers around outdoor activities, especially fishing, hunting and trapping.  It should be no surprise that many people enjoy these traditional activities using historically authentic clothing, equipment and supplies.  'Historical trekking' is the living history sport in which participants reenact the day to day lifestyles of historical frontiersmen and their families.  The Coalition of Historical Trekkers maintains a very active state chapter in Alaska and CoHT activities include at least one formally organized trek during each season of the year, as well as other living history events and activities for our members. Nor' West Company proprietor Thom "Swanny" Swan is the current national president of CoHT.

 CoHT Alaska chapter representative David "Music Man" Underwood publishes the Alaskan Historical Trekker newsletter for CoHT members  quarterly.  The newsletter includes a listing of upcoming historical treks, historical rendezvous, and other events of interest to those who reenact the frontier history of our Nation.  The Alaska Chapter of CoHT is the most active chapter in CoHT's North West Territory and sponsors several historical treks and other events each year.  


Muzzleloader Shooting Clubs in Alaska

The Midnight Sun Muzzle Loaders club is located in Fairbanks, and conducts Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon shoots throughout the warmer months, and indoor .22 rimfire rifle and pistol shoots during the "off-season".  The club's muzzleloader-only range is located at 8.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Road.  During the 2002 shooting season we will also hold some shoots at the South Cushman Street rifle range in Fairbanks.  Contact president  Jim Kruse by Email or telephone (907) 479-1290 or vice-president Bob Hunter, (907) 458-8343. 

In Anchorage, the Mount McKinley Mountain Men Muzzle Loading Rifle Club holds a shoot on the second Saturday of each month at the Birchwood Shooting Park.  More information about MMMLRC can be obtained from Joe Coe at (907)  688-9614.

Muzzle Loader Hunting in Alaska

Alaska has 12 species of big game animals spread across 365,000,000 acres — an area one-fifth the size of the entire United States. Big game densities are generally much lower than you are probably used to in more southern states. Many big game species in Alaska make long movements between seasonal ranges. The key to successful big game hunting in Alaska is in doing your homework to determine both the best areas and times to hunt the species you are seeking.

Alaska hunting regulations require that a muzzleloader used to hunt brown/grizzly bear, black bear, moose, bison, elk, muskox and mountain goat be a minimum of .54 caliber unless you are shooting an elongated slug.  In that case the muzzleloader must be at least .45 caliber and the slug must weigh at least 250 grains.  

If you wish to hunt during one our Alaska's very few restricted-weapons hunts, you must have completed an Alaska Department of Fish and Game approved muzzleloader hunter education course which includes ballistic limitations of muzzleloading firearms and a proficiency test.  Most IHEA muzzleloader hunter education courses, including those taught by the NRA and NMLRA are acceptable for non-resident hunters.  Restricted weapons hunts in which muzzleloaders may be used include:

  • Game Management Unit #8 - bow and arrow or muzzleloader only hunt for deer.

  • GMU #14A - bow and arrow or muzzleloader only hunts for moose.

  • GMU#14C - bow and arrow or muzzleloader only hunts for moose, blackbear, and small game.

  • GMU#20B - muzzleloader only hunt for anlterless moose

Muzzleloaders may also be used during regular rifle season hunts for all species, subject to the caliber restriction noted above.

 A nonresident who hunts brown/grizzly bear, Dall sheep, or mountain goat must be personally accompanied by a licensed guide OR by an Alaska resident over 19 years of age who is within the “second degree of kindred.”  "Second degree of kindred” means a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, spouse, grandparent, grandchild, brother- or sister-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, father- or mother-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepsister, stepbrother, stepson, or stepdaughter (5 AAC 92.990).  A nonresident alien must be personally accompanied by a licensed guide to hunt ANY big game animal, including black bear, brown/grizzly bear, bison, caribou, Dall sheep, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, muskox, wolf, and wolverine.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game  website provides a tremendous amount of information useful to those who wish to hunt with muzzleloaders in Alaska.


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