My Recent Trip to Alaska

A fresh coat of snow blankets the Canadian Rockies

Last week, I helped my daughter Hannah and her husband, Nate, move from Boise, Idaho, to the Anchorage, Alaska, area. We spent five days driving the Alcan Highway with most of their belongings, including two pickup trucks, a camper trailer, regular trailer, and side-by-side four wheeler. Knowing that snow could come at any time, Hannah and Nate asked me to drive with them in case they needed help. We hit a few snowstorms, so I drove during those times, and we saw a lot of wildlife along the highway, so Hannah drove when I wanted to take photos.

Day 1

I flew from Minneapolis to Boise, where I met Hannah and Nate and began driving to the Canadian border of Washington state. It was a long day, but we made it across the border without any issues shortly after nightfall.

Day 2

We spent the day driving from the Washington border to Dawson Creek in British Columbia. That night, we arrived at our hotel in time to take a short hike while we still had daylight. A lifesaver for an old guy like me who’s not used to sitting all day.

Day 3

We spent our shortest driving day (only 7 or 8 hours) making our way north in British Columbia. We saw a lot of stone sheep and mountain caribou on the side of the road throughout our drive.

A mountain caribou walking alongside the Alcan Highway
Stone sheep in the Canadian Rockies

Day 4

We managed to finish the British Columbia leg of our trip and make it to Yukon after nightfall and during a snowstorm. Hannah and Nate were nervous about blizzards on the trip, and we hit our fair share of bad weather. But everyone stayed calm, and we made it safely to our hotel that night.

Along the way, we found a sign post forest at Watson Lake, British Columbia. There were 77,000 signs from all over the world that people who were traveling the Alcan Highway put up since 1942. No photo can do justice to what this forest of signs looks like. It was incredible.

Day 5

We finally made it to Alaska. We had a harrowing last day of our journey, with whiteout conditions and two flat tires. Boy, were we all glad to be done driving!

Coming Up Next: Deer Hunting and More Book Signings

Now that I’m back home in Minnesota, I’m looking forward to deer hunting. I usually like to stock my freezer with a three or four each year, so I have some work to do!

I’m also staying busy with book business. If you ordered a book while I was in Alaska last week, you can expect to receive your copy soon. I just shipped a batch yesterday. And if you’re in Minnesota, mark the following events on your calendars.

  • November 26
    • The Houston Arts Festival / Houston, MN
    • Time to be determined
  • December 2 and 3
  • December 10
  • December 18
    • Wilmont Community Center / Wilmont, MN
    • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm

Book Launch and Signing: Thank You for Attending!

Over the weekend, I hosted a launch and signing event at my gallery to officially kick off the promotion of my new book, Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life. I’d like to thank everyone who attended for helping make it as successful as it was. With several hundred people showing up, including family and friends I haven’t seen since before the pandemic. we were blown away by your support.

Here are a few photos of the event:

After signing and personalizing each book, I recovered in my deer stand on Sunday. It was a great weekend!

If you missed this event, you can find me at several others this season:

You can also buy a signed copy of the book online: If you’d like a personalized note or sketch, you can email to let me know. Shipment takes 8-10 days.

Thank you for your continued support.


It’s Almost Time: Official Launch Party and Book Signing

Sample page from “Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life”

This Saturday’s Event

On Saturday, I’ll be officially releasing my new book and signing copies at my gallery. It will be an open house event from 1-5, and I hope to see you there! Check out the flyer below for more details.

Future Events

If you can’t make Saturday’s signing, that’s OK. I’ll be signing and personalizing copies at Art Barbarians Gallery later this season. That event will be held on December 3 and will take the place of my annual Christmas party this year.

And for those of you from SE Minnesota who want to attend a book signing, I’ll be having an event at the Wilmont Community Center on December 18. Mark your calendars!

If you can’t attend any of these events, you can get a copy of the book online or by emailing

Thank you all for your support!

Part 3: A Slight Bump in the Road

One of my favorite pages and stories in the book

An Update from the Printer

I got news on Friday that the book shipment’s been delayed. It’s been delayed three or four times already, with no clear answers from the printer as to what the problem is. Until now, the reasons have been vague and shifting. Machinery breakdowns, loading problems, and trucking problems have all been mentioned. Now there’s apparently a book binding problem.

Do I believe that excuse? I have no way of knowing, but I’m deeply skeptical. The co-editor of my book, Chuck Weschler, and the rest of the folks at Sporting Classics (the publisher) are pretty upset and are asking that a few cartons of books be shipped directly to me ahead of the trucking company’s schedule.

What It Means for the Book Signing Event

We’re still planning to have the first book signing on October 8 here at Chisholm Valley Wildlife Art. And if I have to drive to Manitoba, where the printer’s located, to get the books ahead of time, I will. The signing event is still on track; this is just a heads-up on what’s going on. I’m posting a favorite page from the book so you can see what it’s like, but hopefully you’ll all have a copy in hand soon!


On a lighter note, yesterday was the first day of bow hunting here in Minnesota. I used my last package of venison last week. The freezer is empty now, and I intend to do something about that. Fingers crossed—stay tuned!

Part 2: The Contributors of My Book

Photo showing contributors to Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life


If I would’ve done this book 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago, it would have looked very different than it does now. Perhaps the biggest difference would be in the writing. In the past, I would’ve had one professional author write the whole book—the way it’s usually done.


Instead, together with Chuck Wechsler from Sporting Classics, we agreed to have 6 contributing authors. Each one is a longtime friend or close relative of mine. And in many ways, each one is an expert on a small part of my life. The 6 authors and the chapters they wrote are as follows:

  • “Introduction” by Jeff Sieve—my older brother
  • “My Dad” by Heather Sieve—the older of my twin daughters
  • “A Signature Style” by Jim Rataczak—a fellow artist whose work I greatly admire and close friend of over 20 years
  • “The Spirit of Hunting” by Rick Grooms—a hunting partner, art collector, and friend for almost 40 years
  • “Partners in Photography” by Mark Newman—my worldwide travel partner, friend, and role model since the 1980s
  • “A Commitment to Conservation” by Scott Bestul—a professional outdoor writer, expert bowhunter, conservationist, and friend since he wrote one of his first articles about turkey hunting with me 30 years ago

Some of these contributors know each other; others have never met and probably never will. They know me very well, and I know them equally as well. Taken together, and including the dozens of stories that I personally wrote, their writings provide a pretty good idea of who I am, how I work, and what it takes to paint the way I do.

A Special Thank You

As a bonus, Heather has worked with me from the very beginning of the process. She first took on a very small role, but as we continued and she proved to be incredibly competent, her role expanded. Not only was she a co-editor with Chuck Wechsler, but she has been instrumental in the design of the book, the layout, and the many judgement calls that are necessary to get it right. And now she is helping promoting and marketing the book. This book would not be what it is without her. Heather’s influence starts on page 1 and doesn’t end until the book is closed, and I am deeply grateful for that.


It’s been a wonderful working and bonding experience with each contributor, and I only regret that I’m not starting over and doing it all again. I think when you get the book, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Read more about the book or buy your own autographed copy.

Part 1: The Story Behind My New Book

Table of Contents in “Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life”


I’d like to tell you a little bit about how my upcoming book, An Artist’s Life, came about. Chuck Wechsler, the editor of Sporting Classics magazine, approached me about 15 years ago and asked if I was ready to do a book. I said, “No, I’m too young and I have too many paintings I want to do yet.”

In 2019, he asked me again—and I was ready. We agreed to publish a book together through Sporting Classics in about a year. They publish a widely respected and high-quality magazine, but they also publish a lot of books on artists, hunting and fishing, history, and related subjects. We figured the book would be about 125 to 135 pages, and it would follow the general format that Sporting Classics had successfully used for many art books in the past. I could pick a writer from a list, many of whom I already knew, and we would get started.

Postponing Publication

And then Covid hit. When that happened, everything was put on hold and the whole project was indefinitely delayed.

For me, that was a blessing. It gave me time to think about the book, what I wanted to say and what it would look like. And it gave me time to get busy on a lot of paintings that had been on my bucket list for years. While I isolated for the next 2 years, I painted away.

Changing the Scope of the Book

I also took that time to talk to Chuck about what I thought might be a better way to do a book—my book anyway. Eventually Chuck agreed, or at least gave up trying to reason with me. But there was one big hitch. The price of publication, printing costs, paper cost and more were skyrocketing. We’ve all seen this in our lives, and it came very close to stopping the book in its tracks. About a year ago, we agreed on a way to keep the book moving forward—but under very different circumstances than when it started. I agreed to pay the lion’s share of the production costs. It was a slightly unusual arrangement, but I looked at it like a legacy project. I was happy to contribute in order to get a book that I could truly be proud of. I believe that’s the book we got—and I think you’ll agree when you see it.

In addition to the economics of the book dramatically changing, the scope of the book changed too. The book would no longer be written by a single author but would now contain 6 separate chapters. Each chapter would focus on a particular aspect of my life and would be written by personal friends or relatives who knew a great deal about those separate parts of my life.


Next week, I will share more about what the changes to the book look like, who the individual chapter authors are, and more. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, read more about the book itself or buy your own copy.

Mark Your Calendars: Book Signing in Early October

Cover page of “Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life”

This fall, in collaboration with Sporting Classics, I’ll be publishing Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life. This coffee table book features more than 280 images of my artwork from the past 50 years. Alongside the images will be firsthand accounts of the adventures and experiences that inspired many of my paintings. Each chapter of the book will be introduced by close friends or family and supported by personal photographs and anecdotes.

In the afternoon of October 8, I’ll be hosting a book signing at my gallery, Chisholm Valley Wildlife Art, located between Houston and Rushford, MN. Here are additional details:

  • When: Saturday, October 8 from 1 to 5 pm
  • Where: Chisholm Valley Wildlife Art (22388 Daley Creek Drive, Rushford, MN)
  • What: Signing and personalization of Michael Sieve: An Artist’s Life

I invite you to stop by, pick up an autographed copy of the book, and have it personalized if you’d like. I’ll have food, refreshments, and plenty of stories to tell.

I hope to see you then! If you have questions in the meantime, please email

November 2018 Kansas Hunt

Today is the last day of my 2018 Kansas deer hunt.  It’s been a good year here,  I’ve seen lots of deer and have had a few adrenaline surge highs but have not been able to put it all together on a big one.  I try to keep track of what I see, and here are the results.  I have hunted 10 days here in Kansas and have recorded seeing a total of 87 deer.  I saw 38 bucks and 49 does.  Of the 38 bucks I have seen, I estimate that 27 were either yearlings or of unidentifiable age.   8 were two or three year olds and 3 were four years old or older by my estimation. Of all the deer I saw about a third were in bow range for me.  I usually carried a good camera and photographed many of them, but  I always reached for my bow first on any deer that might be of the size or age that I was looking for.  Two days ago I drew back on one, a very nice mature buck standing broadside at 25 yards, but there was a small tree in the way that made the shot too risky. When he left he walked straight away,  no shot there either.

But my best chance came early on.  A monster buck came past me from a totally unexpected place.  He was a massive heavy body buck with a great rack on  what looked like too small of a head and a neck that looked as big as his chest.  Clearly a mature buck.  I missed a standing 15 yard broadside shot at him when my lower bow limb hit a close branch in the tree that I was in. It was the best chance I’ve ever had at a big buck.  The arrow landed at his feet and he didn’t seem to even care.  That one will haunt me for a long time.  I didn’t get him but the rush was well worth it.  Am I disappointed?  Of course, but less than you might expect.  My real disappointment continues to be with the way the deer herd is managed in my home state of Minnesota.

A hunt like I’ve had this week here in Kansas is virtually unheard of back home unless you are lucky enough to manage hundreds of acres or more of land and are willing to rigidly control access in order to protect the younger bucks.  I call it the ‘Wisconsin Plan”.  The place I’m hunting here in Kansas is 240 acres.  I share it with two other bowhunters. The lands around it are heavily hunted as well. And the deer hunting is great.

But the opening day of their gun season doesn’t start for a few weeks yet, unlike Minnesota’s peak-of-the-rut gun hunt that started November 3rd this year.  Our two shotgun seasons and our muzzleloader seasons will continue until mid-December.  This monumentally stupid Minnesota plan annually overshoots the bucks and undershoots the does.  That is not an accident…it was designed to do exactly that!  Farmers in my area suffer from an overpopulation of deer, mostly does, and hunters see too few mature bucks.  Both of these things are a direct result of the way the Minnesota deer managers manage the deer in Minnesota and especially in the SE part of my state.  Because of this, many hunters are losing access to hunting lands as those who own or control those lands try to protect “their bucks .”  This method of private management, the Wisconsin Plan, has become very popular and common in our state.  This is why so many hunters like myself take our Minnesota dollars and spend them in Kansas, Iowa or elsewhere.   But enough of that for now.  If you want to see a few of the deer I saw and photographed in Kansas check back in a couple days and I’ll post a few of them.  And sorry about my rant about Minnesota’s deer management structure.  Every time I hunt Kansas or Iowa I come back home mad as hell that deer hunting in Minnesota can’t reach its full potential, or even be better than it is.  It’s called tradition.

Enjoy the photos.

Mike Sieve
November 18, 2018

2018 Federal Duck Stamp Contest

This last weekend, Juli and I flew out to Las Vegas to watch the Federal Duck Stamp judging. I entered a painting of landing pintails and thought that it was a better design than I entered last year. Although I made it to the final round and finished in the top ten, I really didn’t do any better than last year. The competition and the quality of the paintings was far higher this year than last (in my opinion), but the judging was crazy. Lots of drama and controversy surrounding that. Nevertheless, somehow when all was said and done, the winning design deserved to win. Scot Storm from Minnesota won with a swimming drake wood duck. All of the top three entries were friends of mine, as were several more of the top ten and other artists as well. It made for another fun and exciting event for both of us.

We also went to Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio and saw “O.” It was an incredible spectacle and well worth it.

Now it’s back to the studio to get after that 50-year-old bucket list item—winning the Federal Duck Stamp. More about that next year. . .