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Thread: new hunter - Regs are overwhelming- help!

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    Default new hunter - Regs are overwhelming- help!

    Hello all - I desperately want to get a caribou or moose this year. The ADFG regs are really, really hard to understand. Anyone have any advice? Gah, where do I start? Whats step 1 (besides a rifle, lol)?
    I'm a resident/located in Anchorage, willing to travel anywhere in SouthCentral up to Fairbanks.
    I can make it easier - lets just say Caribou. Any advice/proper steps to take would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Caribou was just covered. Your options are the Haul road or unit 16 for a general season hunt, though I've never seen one in 16 or know anyone who's taken one. Everything else in that range requires a permit.

    Gettin a map and reading the regs is a start.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    Caribou was just covered. Your options are the Haul road or unit 16 for a general season hunt, though I've never seen one in 16 or know anyone who's taken one. Everything else in that range requires a permit.

    Gettin a map and reading the regs is a start.
    Dang bad info man 40 mile requirement is a harvest ticket. Dang TWB your losing your edge. So your options are the 40 mile herd harvest ticket, mcombs herd harvest ticket, white mtn harvest ticket (i remember Vince saying something about the state is going to lump this hunt in with the 40 mile hunt not sure though) or the haul road hunt.

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    As mentioned in the other thread, focusing on caribou isn't making anything easier since your options are very, very limited. If you want a good chance at a caribou, consider applying for a Unit 13 Tier I caribou tag for next fall. The application period will be open in November. As for moose, there are a lot more places to hunt them, but success rates are relatively low, especially on the road system and for newer hunters. It's just a reality that success can be reasonably difficult to find in Alaska. I'm not trying to discourage you, but you need to go into this with realistic expectations. Change that desperation to get a caribou or moose this year into a desperation to learn as much as possible regardless of the outcome and you'll be on the right track. A common suggestion made to new-to-Alaska hunters on here is to focus on black bear as a first target. You'll learn hunting tactics, mountain travel skills, and if you're successful you'll have a smaller animal to deal with. Spend your September and October weekends hunting the high mountains of the Talkeetna or Kenai Mountains and you have a very good chance of getting some stalks in on black bears feeding on blueberries. If you're set on moose, read up on the regulations carefully so that you know how to identify a legal animal, then spend time exploring. You never know when you'll run across a legal bull, and in the process of trying to find one you'll learn a lot about what works and what doesn't.

    Lastly, you could consider the 40 Mile herd registration hunt for caribou that starts around August 29th (or so). It would require a longer drive than you're thinking (much of the hunting takes place around Chicken off of the Taylor Highway), but success rates can be good if the caribou are in the area at the time. You will need to get a permit for this hunt on ADF&G's website or at one of their offices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    Dang bad info man 40 mile requirement is a harvest ticket. Dang TWB your losing your edge. So your options are the 40 mile herd harvest ticket, mcombs herd harvest ticket, white mtn harvest ticket (i remember Vince saying something about the state is going to lump this hunt in with the 40 mile hunt not sure though) or the haul road hunt.
    No, it's not. The 40 Mile requirement is a registration permit. Yes, it's still available over-the-counter, but if someone were to take a 40 Mile caribou on a harvest ticket they're likely to lose their animal and/or get a fine. Losing your edge?

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    Oops meant registration permit... I think there are plenty of opportunities for caribou. But me I would round up some friends and b-line it up to the haul road. Walk 5 miles shoot a caribou and call it a day.

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    First off have you lived in Alaska 12 months or longer? If so, then you are a Resident; if not, then you are a Non-resident. Throughout the regulations you'll see an "R", "N", or "B" along the left edge. If you're a resident then focus on the ones with "R", or "B" (meaning both).

    You've probably noticed the regs are broken up by geographic area, 26 different Units. I recommend getting a $20 Gazeteer from Fred Meyer as there's more detail; and what I did in a lot of cases is took a Sharpie and followed word-by-word the description of the unit boundaries and traced them onto the map for the zones I cared about. Then on either side of the unit boundaries I made notes about opening and closing days for the species I cared about, and any antler or sex restrictions. It makes so much more sense when it's laid out graphically for you. If you have a GPS with the mapping software, all the better. Then you have instant feedback in the field for when you're getting close to a unit or sub-unit boundary.

    In the pages of the regs, in addition to that column that distinguishes residents, nonresidents or both; another column of interest to you is the one towards the right called "PERMIT/HUNT#". Since it sounds like you haven't drawn any tags, just focus on the ones that say "HT", which is for Harvest, meaning a general tag. YOu simply go to Freddies and buy a hunting licence and the harvest ticket for that specific species and away you go.

    For caribou, be aware of hunts in which you're restricted based on sex. Certain times of the year, the bulls will have racks; and other times of the year, the females will have racks.

    So in summary, the regs are organized hierarchically by Unit, then by Species, then by Sub-unit, then by your residential status! Take for example if you're interested in caribou in unit 16; you flip to page 81 and find Caribou on the page. You'll see the regs for caribou are the same for both residents and non-residents, by the "B". From there it's only broken up into sub-unit 16A and 16B. Both are harvest tickets so no draw permit is required. (By the way, if you pick up a harvest ticket for caribou it's good for anywhere in the State that allows caribou hunting by harvest; it's not restricted by unit). The only difference between unit 16A and 16B in this regard is the date that caribou season closes. So don't find yourself hunting caribou in 16A after sept. 20th. I do believe there are caribou to be had in 16B, but you'd need a plane and good pilot to find them. Hope that was helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    Dang bad info man 40 mile requirement is a harvest ticket. Dang TWB your losing your edge. So your options are the 40 mile herd harvest ticket, mcombs herd harvest ticket, white mtn harvest ticket (i remember Vince saying something about the state is going to lump this hunt in with the 40 mile hunt not sure though) or the haul road hunt.
    He ranged south central to Fairbanks.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    He ranged south central to Fairbanks.
    Hey man no need to get all pissy about it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by richcap View Post
    Hello all - I desperately want to get a caribou or moose this year. The ADFG regs are really, really hard to understand. Anyone have any advice? Gah, where do I start? Whats step 1 (besides a rifle, lol)?
    I'm a resident/located in Anchorage, willing to travel anywhere in SouthCentral up to Fairbanks.
    I can make it easier - lets just say Caribou. Any advice/proper steps to take would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!
    My first step would be to ignore whatever 323 says in this thread.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    My first step would be to ignore whatever 323 says in this thread.
    Thanks... To the OP As everyone else said go get a harvest ticket not registration permit and go chase caribou in unit 16 while your at it get a moose harvest ticket and chase all those moose in unit 16 as well. Believe it or not gave pretty accurate info just mixed up ht with registration permit. Oh highestview I ignore everything you say anyhow. Good luck on your keriboo hunt. You won't see me anywhere near the mclaren lodge.

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    Somebody sounds jealous that I get a 10 day head start. All in good fun 323.

    For clarity sake of the OP, I'm kidding about 323.

    I would recommend the Unit 13 hunt because the Denali does have some of the closest access to caribou but it sounds like you didn't put in for the permit ahead of time. That only leaves the Hall road or the 40 mile herd which I have no experience with either. A good hunting partner would be step 2, before you try to make any plans. Find someone who has a game plan already established and is open to another person. That was the key to my first successes in the hunting realm.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Really important to know how long you have been here. It may be much easier to stretch out your legs based on your residency to get something in this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    Somebody sounds jealous that I get a 10 day head start. All in good fun 323.
    Yep that's what it is pent up jealousy... I need my wife to rub my ears to calm me down

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernalberta View Post
    First off have you lived in Alaska 12 months or longer? If so, then you are a Resident; if not, then you are a Non-resident. Throughout the regulations you'll see an "R", "N", or "B" along the left edge. If you're a resident then focus on the ones with "R", or "B" (meaning both).

    You've probably noticed the regs are broken up by geographic area, 26 different Units. I recommend getting a $20 Gazeteer from Fred Meyer as there's more detail; and what I did in a lot of cases is took a Sharpie and followed word-by-word the description of the unit boundaries and traced them onto the map for the zones I cared about. Then on either side of the unit boundaries I made notes about opening and closing days for the species I cared about, and any antler or sex restrictions. It makes so much more sense when it's laid out graphically for you. If you have a GPS with the mapping software, all the better. Then you have instant feedback in the field for when you're getting close to a unit or sub-unit boundary.

    In the pages of the regs, in addition to that column that distinguishes residents, nonresidents or both; another column of interest to you is the one towards the right called "PERMIT/HUNT#". Since it sounds like you haven't drawn any tags, just focus on the ones that say "HT", which is for Harvest, meaning a general tag. YOu simply go to Freddies and buy a hunting licence and the harvest ticket for that specific species and away you go.

    For caribou, be aware of hunts in which you're restricted based on sex. Certain times of the year, the bulls will have racks; and other times of the year, the females will have racks.

    So in summary, the regs are organized hierarchically by Unit, then by Species, then by Sub-unit, then by your residential status! Take for example if you're interested in caribou in unit 16; you flip to page 81 and find Caribou on the page. You'll see the regs for caribou are the same for both residents and non-residents, by the "B". From there it's only broken up into sub-unit 16A and 16B. Both are harvest tickets so no draw permit is required. (By the way, if you pick up a harvest ticket for caribou it's good for anywhere in the State that allows caribou hunting by harvest; it's not restricted by unit). The only difference between unit 16A and 16B in this regard is the date that caribou season closes. So don't find yourself hunting caribou in 16A after sept. 20th. I do believe there are caribou to be had in 16B, but you'd need a plane and good pilot to find them. Hope that was helpful.
    That's the most useful information that I have found on here to date. Thank You!

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    When I first moved to Alaska and decided I wanted to hunt the thing I did, which may sound stupid was I went to the Alaska fish and Game office and told them my plan and asked if that was acceptable... They helped to get me started in the right direction and any questions I had they explained it, they were very helpful and I ended up making a couple friends thru the process... It was nice to go over things with someone that had an understanding of the Regs... Good Luck

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    The regs are stuffed with information you need to know, and the more familliar you are with terminology and the format/layout of the regs, the easier it will be fore you to answer your own questions. I suggest you read every word of the non-GMU specific sections of the regs - twice if necessary. I also suggest you pick a couple of GMUs in which you know you would be interested in hunting and read every word in those sections. Practice cross-referencing the grid layout (hunt number, subunit, requirements for legal animal, etc.) with the map of that GMU.

    Unfortunately, there aren't many shortcuts when it comes to understanding the regs. Just dive in and keep reading until you're comfortable with them.

    Moreover, you should get used to the fact that it requires a little thought and patience to navigate the regs. They going to get more complex as pressure on game populations increases. Despite abundance of hunt types and locations throughout Alaska, our regs are tissue thin compared to the tomes released annually in Utah, Colorado, and the rest of America.

    I'm sure you'll put in the time needed to develop a good understanding of the regs. If, however, they simply confound you... don't hunt. If one cannot understand the regs, he should stay at home and play video games or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernalberta View Post
    First off have you lived in Alaska 12 months or longer? If so, then you are a Resident; if not, then you are a Non-resident. Throughout the regulations you'll see an "R", "N", or "B" along the left edge. If you're a resident then focus on the ones with "R", or "B" (meaning both).

    You've probably noticed the regs are broken up by geographic area, 26 different Units. I recommend getting a $20 Gazeteer from Fred Meyer as there's more detail; and what I did in a lot of cases is took a Sharpie and followed word-by-word the description of the unit boundaries and traced them onto the map for the zones I cared about. Then on either side of the unit boundaries I made notes about opening and closing days for the species I cared about, and any antler or sex restrictions. It makes so much more sense when it's laid out graphically for you. If you have a GPS with the mapping software, all the better. Then you have instant feedback in the field for when you're getting close to a unit or sub-unit boundary.

    In the pages of the regs, in addition to that column that distinguishes residents, nonresidents or both; another column of interest to you is the one towards the right called "PERMIT/HUNT#". Since it sounds like you haven't drawn any tags, just focus on the ones that say "HT", which is for Harvest, meaning a general tag. YOu simply go to Freddies and buy a hunting licence and the harvest ticket for that specific species and away you go.

    For caribou, be aware of hunts in which you're restricted based on sex. Certain times of the year, the bulls will have racks; and other times of the year, the females will have racks.

    So in summary, the regs are organized hierarchically by Unit, then by Species, then by Sub-unit, then by your residential status! Take for example if you're interested in caribou in unit 16; you flip to page 81 and find Caribou on the page. You'll see the regs for caribou are the same for both residents and non-residents, by the "B". From there it's only broken up into sub-unit 16A and 16B. Both are harvest tickets so no draw permit is required. (By the way, if you pick up a harvest ticket for caribou it's good for anywhere in the State that allows caribou hunting by harvest; it's not restricted by unit). The only difference between unit 16A and 16B in this regard is the date that caribou season closes. So don't find yourself hunting caribou in 16A after sept. 20th. I do believe there are caribou to be had in 16B, but you'd need a plane and good pilot to find them. Hope that was helpful.
    Good information, Thank You.

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    Thanks all for your responses! Got some good thoughts and perspectives. Its still quite overwhelming!



    Quote Originally Posted by richcap View Post
    Hello all - I desperately want to get a caribou or moose this year. The ADFG regs are really, really hard to understand. Anyone have any advice? Gah, where do I start? Whats step 1 (besides a rifle, lol)?
    I'm a resident/located in Anchorage, willing to travel anywhere in SouthCentral up to Fairbanks.
    I can make it easier - lets just say Caribou. Any advice/proper steps to take would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!

  20. #20
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    richcap,
    In all seriousness, the LAST thing you want to be is 'desperate'. I know that was probably just a bit of hyperbole to underscore your love of hunting and enthusiasm to jump into it here in Alaska. Most of us have been in your shoes before. Desperation leads to all sorts of mistakes--going beyond the range of your experience or skill or equipment might leave you miserably uncomfortable with a good story, or it could kill you. Desperation also leads to legal trouble in the form of taking almost legal animals you we're 99.999% sure of, to taking legal animals in the wrong corner of the map.

    Desperation has no place in the hunting woods. Better to scale back your expectations, put less pressure on yourself and redirect your energy toward something achievable for a new guy.

    My advice: Let your first Alaska hunt be a black bear hunt. Get a Delorme Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer (The Big Red Book). Find a place with open hillsides known to produce berries and then study the regs for the rules for blackies in that GMU. KNOW THEM. Burn them into your brain. Then get a decent pack, a decent pair of bino's, a sharp knife and few game bags, a good pair of boots and some moderately priced trekking poles.

    Maybe search the fall black bear threads on this forum for ideas.

    Hike a bit to get away from the road. Find a good a vantage point and glass. Be patient. Glass up a bear, watch the wind and go get him. Post the pics here when you're finished.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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