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Thread: New to AK Hunting- Suggestions Welcome

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    Default New to AK Hunting- Suggestions Welcome

    I moved to AK (Kenai Peninsula) late this summer and have not hunted more than small game since then because I'm not willing to pay the nonresident big game license fees, etc. Don't worry, I did buy a fishing license and it's been well worth it. Although I'm certainly itching to hunt, this does give me a bunch of time to do research before summer 2012 when I can buy a resident license. I've been reading a lot of the posts on this forum and asking hunters I meet about their experiences. In my time in AK, I plan to experience as many different hunting and fishing adventures as I can before I'm unable to do so, but I imagine that my opportunities for 2012 may be limited due to only getting my resident license in summer (limiting what type of tags I can get).

    From what I have learned so far, I think caribou, moose, deer, and bear are my best options for 2012, but let me know what you think. I'm looking for a relatively high success rate hunt with as little travel effort (and cost) from the Kenai as possible, although driving up to the haul road is not out of the question. I'm not asking for any secret spots, just general information that might make the options less overwhelming. I am an archery hunter and plan to get the AK certification asap, so archery hunts are an option but not mandatory. I'm not afraid to hike to get to better hunting areas, and I do have a camper trailer that could be hauled for a base camp. Flyout hunts might even be an option. Don't have a raft yet but I plan on getting one sometime. Meat is most important to me, trophies are a bonus. Also, my father (nonresident) plans on visiting this year to hunt with me so that is another thing to factor in, ie a tag we could both get. I realize this is a very general post- thanks much for your help.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    As you're probably aware, moose hunting on the Kenai Peninsula has been curtailed pretty severely due to low bull-cow ratios. Finding a legal bull moose in your area may be a very tall order. Caribou on the Peninsula are governed by drawing permit (with decent odds to draw but very low odds of successful harvest), deer require either a fly-out or boat, and brown bear are also governed by drawing permit. By far your best option for hunting close to home is going to be black bear. This coming fall you should try to spend some time hunting black bears on berries - above treeline, often above the sheep and goats (seriously). Fall black bear are excellent eating, you'll see some spectacular country, the bag limit is generous, and they're not a ridiculous amount of work when you have one on the ground.

    As for your other options - fly-out, Haul Road, raft, etc - well, the state is your oyster. Read, read, and read some more. The years worth of threads on here contain nuggets of information that are invaluable. Good luck to you in the coming year!

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Good first post TH; if you plan on being in Seldovia sometime, shoot me a message. I'll be snagging reds and hunting black bear in July/August.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Get a map, talk to F&G and read this forum...
    Proud to be an American!

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    Thanks for the advice guys. Brian- I have already heard a lot about the current status of hunting moose on the Kenai- not so great right now but should be in a few, maybe more years. I've also heard a bunch about hunting black bear, however mostly in the spring. Since that is not an option for me this year, I plan to go after them in the fall as you suggested. I enjoy the scenery and the experience as much as anything and that sounds like a good way to ease into AK hunting. Thanks for the offer cdubbin, I'll keep that in mind. I have been reading the forums in my down time- great resource.

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    Kenai is a great place to live for a hunter/fisherman. Better fishing right now more then hunting but thats to be expected when your on the road system.There are still some great permits down there to consider for future planning.Yes black bear hunting is great on the Kenai spring or fall also I havent checked the regs recently on open areas, but if you are willing to get out there there is also some good non permit sheep hunting as well. send me a pm and I would be more then willing to point you in the right direction
    Dave

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    I'm a little hesitant on posting this but I had a couple of expieriences that almost cost me very dearly. One cost me a brand new weatherby and almost my life. I would be very very careful regarding who you choose to hunt with. Hunting in Alaska, at least to me, is much different that in the lower 48 where I was raised hunting, fishing and trapping. When I got here I met a couple of guys who seemed to be very informed and expierienced hunting in Alaska only to find out they were not. I made some assumptions that I should not have made and as I said, it almost cost me and him our lives. I am now very very careful who I choose to head into the field with. This may sound a little odd, arrogant or whatever you want to call it but I have a couple simple questions I ask myself before I pick up a rifle, pack and he out with someone

    a) Do I trust this person with my life?
    b) Has this person hunted successfully in Alaska for more than 10 years?
    c) Do the stories we share match what I see in this person?
    d) If I was in a life and death situation would I do what this person told me to do without question?

    Some of these questions may not seem valid but they give me a pretty good picture of the person that I am going to intrust my life to when heading out to hunt. I learned very quickly that a beautiful hunt can turn deadly in a heartbeat here and having the wrong partner can be a real deadly problem.

    With all that said, I have not been here very long but I have put meat in the freezer, spent time in a cold tent, cooked meat over a fire and spent time in the back country. I still have a lot to learn but I choose to learn it from someone who knows what he is doing and lived it verses someone who created it in his mind. To me hunting partners are life long friends not mutual aquaintences. I just got excited being here and lost sight of that..

    Hope I didn't offend anyone with this post but I would hate to see someone get killed because of someone elses arrogance and ego or because I was so excited about hunting the great land that I forgot about who a hunting partner really is..

    Keep the powder dry, the scope clear and enjoy Alaska. There is absolutly nothing that compares to stalking a big bull moose or caribou, popping spruce grouse or listening to a pack of wolves sounding off at first light.. I tell my wife they will spread my ashes over the Chugach mountains.. I just want them to be spread after a lot of years filling tags..

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    I'm a little hesitant on posting this but I had a couple of expieriences that almost cost me very dearly. One cost me a brand new weatherby and almost my life. I would be very very careful regarding who you choose to hunt with. Hunting in Alaska, at least to me, is much different that in the lower 48 where I was raised hunting, fishing and trapping. When I got here I met a couple of guys who seemed to be very informed and expierienced hunting in Alaska only to find out they were not. I made some assumptions that I should not have made and as I said, it almost cost me and him our lives. I am now very very careful who I choose to head into the field with. This may sound a little odd, arrogant or whatever you want to call it but I have a couple simple questions I ask myself before I pick up a rifle, pack and he out with someone

    a) Do I trust this person with my life?
    b) Has this person hunted successfully in Alaska for more than 10 years?
    c) Do the stories we share match what I see in this person?
    d) If I was in a life and death situation would I do what this person told me to do without question?

    Some of these questions may not seem valid but they give me a pretty good picture of the person that I am going to intrust my life to when heading out to hunt. I learned very quickly that a beautiful hunt can turn deadly in a heartbeat here and having the wrong partner can be a real deadly problem.

    With all that said, I have not been here very long but I have put meat in the freezer, spent time in a cold tent, cooked meat over a fire and spent time in the back country. I still have a lot to learn but I choose to learn it from someone who knows what he is doing and lived it verses someone who created it in his mind. To me hunting partners are life long friends not mutual aquaintences. I just got excited being here and lost sight of that..

    Hope I didn't offend anyone with this post but I would hate to see someone get killed because of someone elses arrogance and ego or because I was so excited about hunting the great land that I forgot about who a hunting partner really is..

    Keep the powder dry, the scope clear and enjoy Alaska. There is absolutly nothing that compares to stalking a big bull moose or caribou, popping spruce grouse or listening to a pack of wolves sounding off at first light.. I tell my wife they will spread my ashes over the Chugach mountains.. I just want them to be spread after a lot of years filling tags..
    I make no guarantees to anyone that I won't get you killed.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    I make no guarantees to anyone that I won't get you killed.
    I figured something like that was coming...

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    Thanks for the valuable advice dvarmit. The adventure possibilities in AK are pretty overwhelming and I am excited to get started- just have to remember to keep it in perspective. You have a very good point about choosing hunting buddies that you would trust with your life. After all, the goal is to experience the hunt while living to hunt another day.

    Bear- I plan to send you a PM once I have enough posts. Thanks for the offer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trout hound View Post
    I moved to AK (Kenai Peninsula) late this summer and have not hunted more than small game since then because I'm not willing to pay the nonresident big game license fees, etc. Don't worry, I did buy a fishing license and it's been well worth it. Although I'm certainly itching to hunt, this does give me a bunch of time to do research before summer 2012 when I can buy a resident license. I've been reading a lot of the posts on this forum and asking hunters I meet about their experiences. In my time in AK, I plan to experience as many different hunting and fishing adventures as I can before I'm unable to do so, but I imagine that my opportunities for 2012 may be limited due to only getting my resident license in summer (limiting what type of tags I can get).

    From what I have learned so far, I think caribou, moose, deer, and bear are my best options for 2012, but let me know what you think. I'm looking for a relatively high success rate hunt with as little travel effort (and cost) from the Kenai as possible, although driving up to the haul road is not out of the question. I'm not asking for any secret spots, just general information that might make the options less overwhelming. I am an archery hunter and plan to get the AK certification asap, so archery hunts are an option but not mandatory. I'm not afraid to hike to get to better hunting areas, and I do have a camper trailer that could be hauled for a base camp. Flyout hunts might even be an option. Don't have a raft yet but I plan on getting one sometime. Meat is most important to me, trophies are a bonus. Also, my father (nonresident) plans on visiting this year to hunt with me so that is another thing to factor in, ie a tag we could both get. I realize this is a very general post- thanks much for your help.
    I assume you have the archery certification? If not, you should consider getting it as early as soon as possible. Same goes for muzzleloader certifications and the bear baiting card.

    IMO, step one is to familiarize yourself with Alaska. Keep the trips/hikes short at first... build up your gear collection for the widely changing elements (rain, sun, bugs, snow, cold) and expect for them to be more or less scouting trips or reconnaissance. I certainly would love to hear more about dvarmit's adventure, ....perhaps he'll share in another thread?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    I'm a little hesitant on posting this but I had a couple of expieriences that almost cost me very dearly. One cost me a brand new weatherby and almost my life. I would be very very careful regarding who you choose to hunt with. Hunting in Alaska, at least to me, is much different that in the lower 48 where I was raised hunting, fishing and trapping. When I got here I met a couple of guys who seemed to be very informed and expierienced hunting in Alaska only to find out they were not. I made some assumptions that I should not have made and as I said, it almost cost me and him our lives. I am now very very careful who I choose to head into the field with. This may sound a little odd, arrogant or whatever you want to call it but I have a couple simple questions I ask myself before I pick up a rifle, pack and he out with someone

    a) Do I trust this person with my life?
    b) Has this person hunted successfully in Alaska for more than 10 years?
    c) Do the stories we share match what I see in this person?
    d) If I was in a life and death situation would I do what this person told me to do without question?

    Some of these questions may not seem valid but they give me a pretty good picture of the person that I am going to intrust my life to when heading out to hunt. I learned very quickly that a beautiful hunt can turn deadly in a heartbeat here and having the wrong partner can be a real deadly problem.

    With all that said, I have not been here very long but I have put meat in the freezer, spent time in a cold tent, cooked meat over a fire and spent time in the back country. I still have a lot to learn but I choose to learn it from someone who knows what he is doing and lived it verses someone who created it in his mind. To me hunting partners are life long friends not mutual aquaintences. I just got excited being here and lost sight of that..

    Hope I didn't offend anyone with this post but I would hate to see someone get killed because of someone elses arrogance and ego or because I was so excited about hunting the great land that I forgot about who a hunting partner really is..

    Keep the powder dry, the scope clear and enjoy Alaska. There is absolutly nothing that compares to stalking a big bull moose or caribou, popping spruce grouse or listening to a pack of wolves sounding off at first light.. I tell my wife they will spread my ashes over the Chugach mountains.. I just want them to be spread after a lot of years filling tags..


    welllllll..... you bring up a good point. Deep subject. I am sure it was not directed at anyone on this thread.. but more in general.

    It's a difficult topic. And it is hard to determine who you are dealing with with any certainty sometimes until you get in the field. With transporters and guides there is a history you need to research. If there are issue they come up through the years, and you can find this out.

    With individuals it is more difficult. I have worked commercial fishing for years, and people who on the docks look rock solid.. with their support systems in place.. shower/bed/girlfriend/wife/dog/..cell phone.. get out on the water and fall apart. You just never know sometimes. So if you do not know your hunting partner, and what you are getting into..IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to have a plan. What you will do if you get in trouble.. do YOU have extra food/fire/clothes/survival gear. No one but you can make sure this happens. Another thing I would say is don't be afraid to ask questions.. and speak up when things don't look right(maybe you are wrong, maybe not). Stop what is happening, and question it.. don't wait till it goes really wrong. Being polite is one thing.. being reasonable is another.

    " Gee I didn't really think that raft was capable of making that section of river loaded like that.. but I didn't want to say anything."

    With airplanes you can only be wrong one time in most cases.. speak up.. ask questions.. be involved. I've seen people on wheel watch(mostly back before GPS) lost.. not sure where they were.. water getting a bit too shallow..(I switched to boats here sorry)

    and still at full throttle??... What?,... back off the throttle.. ask some questions.. don't proceed till you are sure what is going on. Common sense.


    goods luck.

  13. #13
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    trout hound there are a lot of good points brought up in this thread,my best advice to you about hunting here is to always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Alaska can be a very dangerous place to hunt if you dont make smart decisions.I have guided here for almost 17 years and personally hunted over 20 and seen the best as well as some of the worst the state has to offer.One bad decision could be deadly, very early in my career I was trying to cross a river and it got a little too deep and fast,I said to myself oh I can make just another step or two, well of course I was washed down pack and all and nearly drowned. I made it out only to realize it was was only about 35 degrees and I was wet. Down in the states in most places no big deal just go home or back to the car,well problem is I was in the middle of the alaska range hundreds of miles from my car or any house,luckily I was only a few hundred yards from my tent and dry clothes. That is when I learned that glacial fed rivers rise in the afternoon,oh and btw I got out of the river a few hundred yards down stream at a gravel bar where I could of easily crossed.
    yea I forgot about the new member pm thing,I used to post on here years ago but then stopped so forgot about that rule.You can email me also if you choose thesheephunter@yahoo.com
    dave

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds View Post
    " Gee I didn't really think that raft was capable of making that section of river loaded like that.. but I didn't want to say anything."
    Not asking this exact question is what almost got me killed and put my weatherby at the bottom of a very fast moving river. There is nothing close to the expierience of being washed down a river into deadfalls grabbing branches as you get washed under them to keep from getting hung up and drowned.

    Another good point made is a river that is 1 foot this morning and be raging in the afternoon.. Odd feeling standing there realizing camp is on the other side..

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds View Post
    welllllll..... you bring up a good point. Deep subject. I am sure it was not directed at anyone on this thread.. but more in general.

    It's a difficult topic. And it is hard to determine who you are dealing with with any certainty sometimes until you get in the field. With transporters and guides there is a history you need to research. If there are issue they come up through the years, and you can find this out.

    With individuals it is more difficult. I have worked commercial fishing for years, and people who on the docks look rock solid.. with their support systems in place.. shower/bed/girlfriend/wife/dog/..cell phone.. get out on the water and fall apart. You just never know sometimes. So if you do not know your hunting partner, and what you are getting into..IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to have a plan. What you will do if you get in trouble.. do YOU have extra food/fire/clothes/survival gear. No one but you can make sure this happens. Another thing I would say is don't be afraid to ask questions.. and speak up when things don't look right(maybe you are wrong, maybe not). Stop what is happening, and question it.. don't wait till it goes really wrong. Being polite is one thing.. being reasonable is another.

    " Gee I didn't really think that raft was capable of making that section of river loaded like that.. but I didn't want to say anything."

    With airplanes you can only be wrong one time in most cases.. speak up.. ask questions.. be involved. I've seen people on wheel watch(mostly back before GPS) lost.. not sure where they were.. water getting a bit too shallow..(I switched to boats here sorry)

    and still at full throttle??... What?,... back off the throttle.. ask some questions.. don't proceed till you are sure what is going on. Common sense.


    goods luck.

    Excellant points

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    When I moved here a few years ago I was told that hitting the lottery would be easier than finding a GOOD hunting partner in AK. Found that this advise was right on the money.
    Take your time and get to know anyone you plan on going afield with.
    Do they have the same hunter ethics as you? Are their tales believable or just bunk?
    The advise you are getting on from this thread is all good and should be kept in mind always.
    Good luck out there and enjoy every minute.

  17. #17
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    Breaking in to a new area/hunting partners can be tough, its like a weird dating game. I find myself in the same boat as people new to the state when it comes to anything up there. I was born and raised in this end of things and have contacts all over SE, but no hunting experience in the rest of the state. All the advice you're getting is good. The biggest thing that continues to amaze me is going out with people who have been in the woods for 30+ years, and who still don't pack as if things might go wrong-especially this time of year, if the skiff ends up on the wrong end of a tide 50 miles from town! I always have the jetboil, mt house, dry socks, tent and bag. It may not be the hilton, but I'm not pushing through the night to get home. In my experience people get killed because they aren't prepared to get stuck. Good luck have fun!

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    You hit it on the head there pacific-23. Being prepared has to be the true answer. Don't go out the door without thinking I might have trouble.

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    Welcome to the BEST PLACE ON EARTH!!!! Alaska is great and you're going to love hunting up here! First thing you should consider is a four-wheeler or side x side or jet boat...you can get back into a lot more places with less pressure, meaning you'll see more game. Although this isn't necessarily true, it does help 75% of the time. The second is get your ass in the gym...if you can't carry a 75 - 110 lb pack for 5-10 miles, don't leave the couch! Startup costs hunting up here sorta suck, pack, binos, boots, rifle, clothing, etc...your best bet is to find someone on here that needs a pack mule and take notes the entire time you're with em! I learn something nearly everyday reading this forum bc most people on here are extremely experienced and very friendly with handing out information.

    The attitude on this forum has personally led me to hand out gps coordinates of places I have been...I don't hunt the same place every year (for the most part) I don't see why someone else shouldn't benefit from my hard work (or someone else's if it is a hand me down location) after finding a cool spot!

    Good luck and let me know if you need anything!
    Missing the greatest state in the Union!

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