Our First Year in Review

A Testament to Murphy's Law

Well we made it through our first season. As with most things in life, there were a few growing pains and new experiences going from guide to outfitter, but at the end of the day, we all made it home pretty happy. We had a little bit of everything go wrong, as Murphy’s Law would require, but there were just as many silver linings.

With the season opening August 1st, and our first child due July 17th we were cutting it a little close but thought we would still have a bit of time at home. Of course, little Earl Cody Cosco decided he didn’t want to be born until July 26th, but it’s pretty hard to be upset when you get a happy and healthy baby. We had somewhat expected him to be late so the only hunt that got messed up was my Dad’s, who was just happy to have his first grandchild anyways.

Health issues for our guides and their families complicated things, but reminded us that there are some things more important than work or hunting. One guide even had to fly out on the plane his first hunter flew in on but that’s how it goes. We had it all very neatly planned out and I would only guide 1 sheep hunt and check in on all the moose camps for the rest of the season. By the time it was all done, I had guided 4 more moose hunts. Even 6 week old Earl had to come in to wrangle for a week.

Surprisingly warm weather throughout the Yukon in September added another wrinkle to our first season. This made some moose act a little strange during the rut but nothing we could do about it but keep trying. The harder we worked the luckier we got but Murphy was never too far behind. We had a bunch of good Yukon/Alaska Moose on the line but a few just wouldn’t cooperate enough to get a clean shot, but that’s why they call it hunting. We did manage to connect on a number of moose and caribou, including a few great, old bulls, and got the meat to the Teslin Tlingit and Ta’an Kwachan Councils to distribute to their elders and others in need in the community.

Shockingly there are a few things we will do differently next year.

We will hunt pretty much all new camps next year to give the established areas a bit of a break. This means a little more adventure, a lot more wall tents, and a great opportunity to hunt some country that hasn’t been hunted for years.

Better communication. While there were no major issues, life would have been easier for everyone had a few things been clarified earlier. This is especially true if there is a 3rd party involved. We are partial to actually talking to people, but a follow up email just to have everything in black and white will help minimize any misinterpretation so that will be our new SOP. We try our best to ensure the trip meets or exceeds our hunter's expectations and that starts with being clear on what is expected.

Transportation was pretty good, only having to chopper in 1 new boat, and the horses were fantastic. Alpine Aviation, Tintina Air, and Alkan Air managed to get everyone where they needed to be safely and relatively on time.

Our crew in the bush that stuck it out was the main reason our season was as successful as it was. Dave, Deb, Shad, Mike, Russ, Dusty, Sam, Jess, Gina and Laura all not only put up with me, but made sure the hunters went home happy and well fed with a few stories and a true experience. There are too many other people helping out here and there behind the scenes to name but we can’t thank you all enough.

Overall, it was a great adventure with many lessons learned. We look forward to building on our successes and having people like you enjoy the ride with us.

Neil and Tara Cosco