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Dvirnak checks Siberian Reindeer off his bucket list

Courtesy Photo Bismarck’s Bryan Dvirnak, left, kneels next to his Siberian Reindeer on Oct. 10 in Umnak Island, Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

The love of hunting for Bryan Dvirnak began nearly 50 years ago on a ranch north of Killdeer.

Over the past half-century, Dvirnak’s passion has taken him across North America.

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In 2001, he started a bucket list with his father during a hunting expedition in Canada. Throughout the next 12 years, Dvirnak has hunted all across North America, including his recent Siberian Reindeer trip in October to Umnak Island on the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

“Each hunt is a little bit different,” said Dvirnak, who is 59 and lives in Bismarck. “Each hunt takes you to a little bit different part of the country.

“I would hope that everyone has a passion in life and one of my passions is hunting. I grew up hunting. That was my entertainment. Some people go to the movies, some people went to a dance. I went hunting.”

The Umnak Island is about 1,100 nautical miles — 1,266 miles — west of Anchorage. Dvirnak arrived on the island by charter plane. The island is about 80 miles long and about 15 miles wide. The weather is very extreme. The temperatures range from the mid-30s to low 40s and the wind gusted around 20 to 80 miles per hour. There are three active volcanos on the island and the last one erupted in 2008.

The island consists of 13 Eskimos, 7,000 reindeer, a rancher from Calgary, who runs about 6,000 head of beef cattle, ptarmigan and fox. Because of the gusting winds, there are no trees on the island. Dvirnak said the countryside looks similar to southeastern Montana or north central Wyoming, except for the tremendous amount of moisture.

On the fifth day of the hunt, Dvirnak shot his Siberian Reindeer on a Thursday.

It was scored at 410 inches. The meat was given to the natives and the only piece he ate off the reindeer was the heart. He wanted to eat some of the back strap, but couldn’t because of time constraints. He returned to North Dakota with the horns and the cape is being prepared and will be shipped eventually.

“I’m going to have a shoulder mount made, which will be done by Dakota Taxidermy — Brian Kadrmas — in Bismarck,” he said.

Dvirnak said he has a very understanding wife who puts up with his travels throughout North America.

“I’ve hunted moose in Manitabo, Alaska, Yukon and Alberta,” Dvirnak said. “I’ve hunted elk and deer. I’m going to west Texas to hunt aoudad in January. In July of next year, I’m going to Namibia, Africa, to hunt for a month. I’m always looking for the new experience.”