Oral History Interviews:

Marlin Grasser

Marlin Grasser was born in North Dakota. Any free time in his youth was spent hunting and fishing. The day after graduating from high school, Grasser moved to Anchorage, where he worked in his uncle's hardware store. In short order, Marlin also began working for hunting guides along the Glenn Highway. In this manner, the future course of his life was established.

Grasser soon began guiding hunters on his own. His clients routinely took moose, caribou, bear, sheep and goats. Marlin tells of one close call when he lost footing on a steep mountain and nearly plunged to his death.

Marlin expanded his guiding operation to the Wrangell Mountains, east of Glennallen. The first year, he took pack horses into the area from the Alaska Highway near the US/Canada border. While crossing glaciers, they faced treacherous footing, blinding glare and raging whirlpools. In subsequent years, Grasser swam the horses across the mighty Copper River. In his mind, this was all in a day's work.

Grasser once again expanded his guide business, this time to the Alaska Peninsula. His clients shot record-book moose, caribou and brown bears. On one memorable occasion, Marlin was mauled by a wounded bear. He tells the harrowing tale in a "matter of fact" tone. Apparently the hunter was not quite so calm. He immediately returned to camp and cracked open a bottle of whiskey to quiet his jangled nerves.

The final expansion of Marlin's guiding activities took him to the Hula Hula River in the northeastern portion of the state. Dall sheep were the primary quarry. Grasser couldn't have chosen a better spot. One day, he spotted 64 legal rams on the mountains immediately surrounding his base camp.

Grasser's tenure as a big-game guide spanned many years and many changes. He reflects on the wonderful people he has met and the incomparable experiences they have shared.

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