Readers of a certain age will be familiar with the old video game "Duck Hunt" for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Released in the mid-1980s, the game utilized a controller in the shape of a gun and gave the player three shots to shoot down a number of ducks.
So when YouTube user bshalek -- real name Brant Shalek -- uploaded a video documenting a recent trip to Alaska and a five-day duck hunt in Seldovia, near the bottom of the Kenai Peninsula, it's an easy comparison. But where video games can only strive for realism, Shalek's video is realism.
Shalek said that he and his father Robert, who work in the oil business in Texas, made the trip to Alaska and hired guide Buck Brown through Seldovia Duck Hunting & Fishing as their guide. After flying from Houston to Anchorage, the two took an Era Alaska flight to Homer, and then the ferry to Seldovia.
"Our favorite hobby is duck hunting," Shalek said in an email, "so what better place to take a father-son hunting trip than Alaska?"
"The hunting was phenomenal, plenty of ducks coming into range," he said. He added that the weather was relatively mild, still in the 20-30 degree range. "I was expecting it to be much colder," he said.
Despite the cooperative weather, the hunters had to contend with other Alaska obstacles, as Shalek wrote:
The backdrop was breathtaking, mountains in the background, the sliver of the sun reflecting off the ocean surface. Bald eagles hung around like vultures, preying on our kills. Four different times, we had an eagle swoop down and steal our kill off the water (footage of one doing it is in the video). We also had to battle the relentless rise and fall of the tide, moving closer or further from the shoreline as the water level dictated. We had the opportunity to limit out nearly every day, but we chose to shoot just the species we sought to mount and a handful of drakes of other species to fill our bellies in the afternoons.
Shalek hunts in Texas, as well, and you can check out some of his other videos, including this one of some more southern duck hunting.
Our Alaska takes a look at the people, places, activities and wildlife that make Alaska great. There's the Alaska that many people know from reality television, and then there's Our Alaska. If you have a video that puts the spotlight on the positive, educational or unique aspects of Alaska and its people, send links or submissions to ben(at)alaskadispatch.com.