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This story is sad, fascinating, educational all at the same time. There are so many affected people, wow. If I ever go to Alaska, I'm wearing an epirb or something. If all that happens is they locate a pile of bear crap, at least my wife will know she can start celebrating finally.


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Oil wells drilled in the Prudhoe Bay area encountered 2,000 feet of permafrost. I spent some time around the Kavik stranded gas field as well as Finn Creek but I don't remember the depth of permafrost.

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Just tossing this out there...

[Linked Image]

Keel was reported missing Aug. 28 after going to pick up a backpack he had left on the tundra floor the night before......

Steve Keel and his hunting partner were carrying heavy backpacks with caribou meat from the hunting spot back to their campsite. About half a mile to seven-tenths of a mile away from the camp, Steve Keel got tired, put the backpack down marking it with a walking stick in the ground and walked the rest of the way to the camp. The next day, the hunter went to retrieve the backpack and didn't come back.......

Steve was close to Pump Station 2 and Happy Valley.....

“They haven’t found clothing scattered or any signs of an animal attack or other things,” ........

"They described it as lots of wet or damp moss that would sink, and it has water underneath it. And then between all of that there’s, like, tufts of grass that are very difficult.......

North Slope Borough Search and Rescue — with the help of the United States Coast Guard, the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the Alaska State Troopers and the Civil Air Patrol — have been conducting search operations since Aug. 28, according to the borough's statement. Ground crews and at least 35 hours of aerial search involving over 20 aircrew members have been conducted but were unsuccessful.

"The helicopter searches didn't turn up anything," .......


[Linked Image from gray-ktuu-prod.cdn.arcpublishing.com]

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I sure hope he didn't die going back for some meat that he left so he could carry out that set of caribou horns?


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That's a long ways to travel just to shoot a Caribou, idunno if I'd go that far if there was a big fat Moose waiting beside the road for me....

I think Steve either found a hole that swallowed him or he's kickin' back in Hawaii...

Is it story time for those with tales of gloom, doom and death on the tundra to tell?

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Originally Posted by las
"Serious ? Frozen in August? Just asking."

Permafrost is pretty self explanatory - it can go down more than 1,000 feet, possibly much more.

At my remote cabin in Interior, hundreds of miles farther south than the missing hunter, I can go to the bog 100 yards out back, dig through 8-10 inches or so of moss, and the ground is frozen, any time in the year. I have put fish there, covered them back up, and they keep indefinately, semi-frozen, with ice crystals in the flesh. Good beer cooler too, back in the day.

I've only spent 14 days of my 59 years in Alaska and that was in PWS with Mikes Flores as our transporter for a bear/deer hunt. So, I'm certainly no expert on most things Alaskan.


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When in the backcountry, I always kick apart any piles of bear crap that I come across. Always hoping I don't find buttons or zippers.

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If I went to Alaska, I would stick buttons inside of doughnuts and leave them in the wilds hoping to freak out some locals


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sending prayers!

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When I’m hiking the backcountry of Alaska I sprinkle every pile of bear poop with buttons, zippers, trinkets and cloth just to keep the awareness of others peaked and thereby saving countless lives. 😀


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Many lake-shores have a floating mass of vegetation along the edge in places. Possibly he walked out on one of these, broke through, and the water was deep underneath.

If he had weight on his back, or even without.....

Maybe went into the lake to avoid a bear? Some other possibilities.

I was packing moose one time through a boggy spot when I tripped and went face down in the muck. There was NOTHING I could find with my arms to roll over, with 70-80 lbs of meat on my back. If there hadn't been someone right behind me to pull me up, it would have been ugly, for a short period of time.

There are a lot of ways to die or get injured in the wild, but it is still far preferable to city life.

Last edited by las; 09/15/23.

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I duck hunted around Goose Bay as well as Palmer hay flats with my brother many years ago and I can easily see how someone could drown in the bog and never be seen again


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Originally Posted by BubbaG
I duck hunted around Goose Bay as well as Palmer hay flats with my brother many years ago and I can easily see how someone could drown in the bog and never be seen again
I agree but the Palmer mud flats are a very different kind of issue. A good friend died out there duck hunting.


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I'll believe it if/when DNA confirms it


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The Troopers are saying the remains found are not human remains.

Alaska State Troopers-Department of Public Safety, released a statement on the search, which reads in part, “The highly specialized dive team used divers and a cadaver dog to thoroughly search for Keel and were not able to locate any human remains within the lake that the group had identified, or anywhere in the immediate area…Through physical examination of the area by divers, the item that the group believed to be a body from a sonar image was determined to not be human remains.”

https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/another-setback-for-family-of-missing-dover-man/

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I’ve hunted Alaska a number of times. Nome. There isn’t anything in Alaska that I’ve hunted that is particularly hard to hunt and take down. Including Grizzlies. However the land will kill you in a heartbeat. You’re a long ways from the nearest phone, EMT, or help. And traveling alone is a foolhardy choice. Just falling down in the tundra with a heavy pack can be deadly. Soft rotten ice or snow. Not much of a chance for survival. And everything up there is always looking for a free meal.

Sorry for his family. Lesson for all who venture North. Don’t take Alaska for granted.

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Maybe he stumbled into some Inukins and they took him with them. They’re said to be quite strong and crafty.

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Originally Posted by JBabcock
I’ve hunted Alaska a number of times. Nome. There isn’t anything in Alaska that I’ve hunted that is particularly hard to hunt and take down. Including Grizzlies.

Just curious - and not being argumentative - what species do you consider “hard to hunt”?

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Originally Posted by JBabcock
I’ve hunted Alaska a number of times. Nome. There isn’t anything in Alaska that I’ve hunted that is particularly hard to hunt and take down. Including Grizzlies. However the land will kill you in a heartbeat. You’re a long ways from the nearest phone, EMT, or help. And traveling alone is a foolhardy choice. Just falling down in the tundra with a heavy pack can be deadly. Soft rotten ice or snow. Not much of a chance for survival. And everything up there is always looking for a free meal.

Sorry for his family. Lesson for all who venture North. Don’t take Alaska for granted.

You must be Scott's brother?

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