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Thread: Moving to Homer in 2013

  1. #1
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    Default Moving to Homer in 2013

    My wife and I and our 3 dogs will be moving to Homer in 2013. I am originally from Florida. I absolutely love winter. We currently reside in Cleveland Ohio. I will be attending the Kenai Peninsula College for my bachelors in biology. Is there anyone from that area of the Kenai Peninsula? Is it really that expensive to live in Alaska? I have been doing tons of research on Alaska, I have been to Alaska before and loved it and didnt want to go home. How are the job situations around Homer? I have many skills mechanics, underwater welding, retail, cook, auto body repair, landscaping, im not afraid to get down and dirty, and im a really fast learner for new skills. Im an avid outdoorsman I go hunting and fishing quite a bit, im a handloader, I also do mountain biking, and kayaking. Im not afraid of snow I really love the snow the more it snows the happier I am. Im not much of a drinker maybe 2 beers a week. I have heard that alcoholism can be a serious problem during the winter. But its really no different than cleveland alcoholism runs rampant in the winter here too. How is the hunting situation out there? By that I mean can you just go drive out into the bush and hunt? I know its alot different there than here, we cant even use a high power rifle to shoot deer in ohio shotguns, muzzleloaders, and archery only. I have so many questions but online you pretty much find the same things in different words. So i figured i would get on here and actually ask the people who live there. Thanks for your time any comments would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I'm not from Homer, but plenty of people on these forums are. I'll take a stab at a few of the questions, though.

    -Hunting is available around the Homer area, but understand that game densities in Alaska are far lower than the lower 48 for the most part. A lot of people have this idealized notion that there are animals behind every tree in Alaska. The truth is that northern ecosystems simply produce less food and the animals that inhabit them are usually larger and thus require more energy - do the math and you'll see that finding animals can be an endeavor. As for specifics, there is excellent black bear hunting in that area - particularly if you catch a water taxi ride across Kachemak Bay (give forum member homerdave a call on that one). Moose hunting has been pretty severely curtailed on the Kenai Peninsula due to a low bull-cow ratio. You can hunt for moose with an over-the-counter tag, but finding a legal bull will be difficult at best. Brown bear, caribou, and goat are all restricted to drawing (lottery) permit. There is great small game hunting for grouse and snowshoe hare and some predator hunting to be done as well. For most big game beyond black bear, though, many Kenai Peninsula residents are finding that they need to travel to other areas of the state. Again, there are exceptions...but be prepared to travel or at least cover a lot of country.

    -As for expense, I don't know the average costs in Ohio, but I'm almost certain that Homer will be considerably more expensive. I'm sure some Homer residents can chime in here. Really, though, it all comes down to lifestyle choices.

    -You mention the snow a number of times - understand that Homer has a warmer, wetter climate than a lot of Alaska. Homer gets its fair share of snow, no doubt, but mid-winter rain that ruins the snow quality is not uncommon.

  3. #3
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Living in Homer is pretty expensive; gas is around $4.50 right now, and utility costs are increasing. My current electric bill is $360, water (which must be delivered) is $100, heating fuel around $300/mo. My family eats about $6-800 worth of groceries a month, and that's with quite a bit of wild meat and fish supplementing. Housing prices are through the roof, services are more than other places. I was born and raised in Homer, and it's changed a lot in 30 years, and not for the better, IMO. Rapidly becoming a place for haves and have-nots, with lots of rich and retired folks, and those living on the fringe. Middle-class opportunities are becoming seriously compromised, and good-paying jobs are fiercely competed for and kept "in the family". That's the bad news. The good is that anyone can make it here if they are willing to work hard, be patient, frugal, and not try to change the place into something else. The best hunting right now is for small game like hare, grouse, squirrel, maybe coyote; the moose hunt is pretty much dead until further notice. Oh, and snow up to the roof this winter!
    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Also understand that it's not really the "lots" of snow" thing in AK., altho this year we got tons. Lots of people say "they can handle the snow". It's more the long, long, did I say LONG, (lol) winters that "can" wear on a person not used to it. The lack of sunshine and the large amount of darkness for quite a few months can get to a person that has lived in the lower 48 for a long time. Take that into consideration. The older I get, the more I can see how people become snowbirds.......

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    Thank you guys for all the input. I'm glad it doesn't snow as much as I thought. My wife and I are really excited about moving. There are tons of our friends that always ask why Alaska? My usual reply is why not? Its as far north as I can go but still be in the US. I'm sure I will love it there. The daylight being longer is a huge plus in the summer and the lack of in winter I won't mind since I have plenty of hobbies to keep myself busy during that time. I look forward to hearing some more comments about living in Alaska.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    You didn't mention your age,...and I only ask considering your potential for Commercial Fishing related jobs.

    Homer has somewhat of a Commercial fleet moving through in summer, (not as large as other coastal areas, but still serious prospects)kind of a young mans game as far as deckhand jobs go but the Commercial Fish Industry would be something that is a better bet than most for the homer area,

    sounds like your skill sets, welding/diving, etc.,.... willingness to do the grind work, is well fit for a lot of those jobs, "supporting the Fleet or Processing side of it all"

    Homer is a pretty darn nice area, not too extreme in winter, stunningly beautiful, lots of wilderness close enough, (you can always find something to hunt if you want to get out there bad enough
    (some kind of boat, would be well worth looking into, for year round happiness, much easier to "just drive out into the wilderness," in a boat)

    and yeah it's all expensive,...but what's money for,....to get yourself, and your family "Living, where you want to be,...right?"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    I don't live in Homer, but fish and visit as much as possible.
    The prices are definitely higher than Anchorage and will add up quickly. Finding a steady job might be difficult, but you've definitely got the right skill sets.
    All that stuff should fade in your mind when you step out everyday and see how beautiful it is. It also has a unique character to it that is very pleasant (lots of artisits, fisherman, outdoors people). All the people down there have always been pleasant to be around with a "live and let live" attitude. Not too much raises eyebrows in Homer.
    I will tell you having visited Cleveland in the last year that we found some of the lower prices in Cleveland shockingly low even compared to Anchorage. I would either shop at the Three Bears Store (bulk store in Homer) or make a few large Costco runs to Anchorage to mitigate food costs. Fuel and food seem to be where a lot of the cost is so think bulk.
    Otherwise, if you are prepared, you will love it and with aspirations of being a biologist, you might never leave.

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    Mike
    I have lived in the Homer area for 25 years. If you have a skill set there is work. How far are you from getting your degree? The Kenai peninsula college here is a branch of the university system. I did'nt think the college here offered enough upper level courses to get a biology degree in Homer.
    I retired three years ago and am keeping really busy there is a lot of repair work to have if you want to work. I live outside the city limits. the electric and fuel oil bills are very consistant it costs me about 20.00 a day for both.
    The biggest problem I see with you guys relocating to Homer is the school. Get your degree then move up here. I think Homer still has the highest education level per capita. It seems all the artsy craftsy people have degree. I know of teachers working at the lumberyard because they only had a b.s. most teachers here have masters. The same is for Biology how much work do you think there is for a Biologist fresh out of school who has not had any remote bush time. vs a person that has been counting seagulls on Middleton island the last 3 years.
    Once you get out of work that is done by hand; the work is hard to find in Homer area.
    Lots of luck and best wishes.
    dennis

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    There is a reason Tom moved and turned out the light.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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