The History of Kate Shugak in 22 Objects – 2

WARNING: Spoilers spoken here.


2. Winchester .30-06 Rifle


Kate owns two weapons. One is a 12 gauge double barrel pump action shotgun, which is good for duck hunting and even better for repelling boarders. Nothing dissolves a close-range human threat like the mouth of a shotgun.

And nothing hunts better than a .30-06 rifle. It is ubiquitous in the Alaska Bush in a subsistence lifestyle. Every old fart has one, and eventually so do their heirs. The one pictured here was left to me by my father and I would guess is responsible for most of the moose I ate at his table and I’m betting virtually all the caribou. There was nothing my father loved more than sitting his family and friends down to a meal he’d killed and cooked himself. The caribou steaks sautéd in butter and finished in the oven in a wine sauce hold a particularly fond place in my memory. The recipe changed every time and it was divine every time.

(I won’t tell you about the time he made moose stew and didn’t realize until too late that the lid on the pepper shaker was loose. I learned a whole bunch of new words that night.)

But back to Kate. Like I said, she owns two weapons. Alert readers will notice that in twenty books she has never shot anyone with them. The closest she came to it was in A Fatal Thaw when Roger McAniff came roaring down the Park road on that snow machine. I’m hoping it’s the closest she’ll ever come, but you know how I am.

It is the weapon Lotte uses to kill Lisa. What we in the biz call “means,” which everyone in the Park has readily to hand.

Update on 2/2/23: My dad had a friend named Johnny Porter, who had a son named Gary, whom I’ve known all my life. A few years back Gary’s house was robbed, including of all his guns. He’s a hell of a hunter so we can’t have that, so I gave him Dad’s .30-06. He loves it; in his words it “shoots the shit out of everything.” My freezer agrees.

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Dana View All →

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45 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Been making a list! Best choice is story knife, because Kate hears the whole story of the murders. Other choices: crab pot, AV gas, survival suit, woven grass basket.

  2. I went back and forth on this one, my first thought too was a crab pot, but in the end Boat Hook won out. it’s what saved Kate and Andy’s lives.

  3. I’ll second the story knife.

    (Also, I didn’t really grow up with guns around, though I had uncles who hunted, and my father had a .22 shotgun (IIRC). However, the one and only time I fired anything, just to see what it’s like, was at a friend’s place in Eastern Washington; it was a Mossberg 30.06. (I won’t derail with my story of almost owning a handgun and getting a concealed carry permit. *very wry*)

  4. kind of a goal lately is to learn to shoot a rifle or shotgun. come from a hunting family…the men hunted….the ‘girls’ weren’t allowed to. and we didn’t protest. what did we know? I’d like to learn and go hunting once. i was quite concerned with Kate’s future when she met up with McAnif! Wonderful Mutt saved the day!

  5. Story knife. Sasha describes the murders while telling a story using the story knife. Other options might be crab pot, AV gas, grass baskets

  6. Dana you already know my choices for the objects — it is really cool reading what objects others would pick out from your wonderful books

  7. Just re-read all the Kate books for a 2nd time and enjoyed them once again. So many good choices for objects in book 2 but I’ve got to go with the story knife. It was a great object of both cultural significance and plot line. Sasha’s character and background was a nice addition.

  8. I like the story knife, too but also like the boat hook. It hard to make a choice. And I have read all the books several times. Can’t you hurry with the next book.

  9. Has to be the storyknife. Especially in this book. It comes back later, but the storyknife is the key. As an aside, after a fire took everything, the first this I replaced was the 12 gauge

  10. Having a little trouble with Kate’s two guns. I have hunted in Alaska with my 30-06 and my 12 ga pump. But I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing about a 12 ga double barrel pump action shotgun. Double barrels yes, pumps yes but couldn’t figure out how to combine them, so of course I Google’d it and yep there it is, first of its kind (their claim) made by a company in Connecticut called the DP12. It was introduced June 2014 but no deliveries as of Jan 2015 that I could find. Anyway, could you enlighten me as to what Kate had 20 some years ago, because I can’t find mention of one that old, of course there are a lot of custom gunsmiths out there.

  11. I agree with the 30.06 as the significant object for “A Fatal Thaw” but Potlach would be a closed 2nd. I loved the description of that scene and Kate’s response to it. Just finished re-reading that book and am now heading for the 3rd book.

  12. Please tell me you’re working on a new Kate book? And please tell me Mutt is ok. I don’t think I can stand it much longer.

  13. Storyknife …boat hook…Storyknife…boat hook…dang!

    But guns…my father’s Weatherby Mark V! ‘Twas a thing of beauty!!! Could take off the eyelashes of a fly!!!

    Thank you, Dana! Brought back a great memory of learning to track, to wait, to move like a whisper through the trees!!

  14. About the “12 gauge double barrel pump action shotgun.” I know of double barrel (barrels are side by side, so two shots) and pump action (one barrel 3 to 5 shots) However, the “12 gauge double barrel pump action shotgun“ seems to be an error.
    There is a “12 gauge double barrel pump action shotgun“ but it ranks down with the “tactical” toy stuff. Not something Kate would use on her homestead.

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