Ryan Duclos’s new photo book, “Unseen Alaska,” tells a story of a 14-day moose hunt in the wild Alaskan backcountry, from sweeping views of the tundra and peaks of the snowcapped Alaska Range to the raw ritual of the hunt.
In this excerpt, he offers a glimpse into a family’s tradition of tracking and hunting moose, and an Alaska that outsiders rarely see. To learn more about Duclos and to purchase his book, visit ryanduclos.com.
A moose hunt is so much more than the task at hand. It is a humbling journey. Being out in the elements is an experience in itself. With the giant mountains of the Alaska Range shadowing over you and the vast open tundra beneath your boots, it is difficult not to reflect on the meaning of your existence in this space.
You must endure. Traveling day after day, navigating thick woods, scrambling over rocky tundra and wading through frigid rivers and creeks – this ritualistic trip continually tests your will to persist. And then – even with all of this swirling in your mind, body and spirit – you are given the test of patience and hope, waiting for a humane and clean shot for a moose kill.
And once that opportunity becomes reality, time stands still for a moment. You hear the gun, your heartbeat, your still breath, and even your prayers for a clean shot, all at the same time. The adrenaline feels loud. And when the moose drops, you are not only awarded nourishment from the meat, but a cathartic moment of rest on your grueling journey. – Ryan Duclos
Duclos, a professional photographer of 20-plus years, comes from generations of photographers that had their own Alaskan adventures documenting the gold rush in the historic Yukon Territory. From 1839 to 1936 the Desclaux’s were the largest known family of photographers in world. Their work is featured in the Alaska State Library. Duclos formerly owned a photo studio in Bellingham. x