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Thread: Making a Bucket List Hunt Happen

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Default Making a Bucket List Hunt Happen

    First off, I realize that the hunting available right here in Alaska is on par with some of the greatest opportunities from all over the world, and I truly am grateful to live here and be able to partake. I realize that people from all over the world save their money to come hunt in our back yard and I don't take that for granted. I'm sure by now most of you have seen or commented in the bucket list hunt thread, but one post in particular really got me thinking over the last few days...



    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    The real question is - What are you doing to make it happen? ...otherwise it never will.


    It dawned on me that I dream of all these hunts in other countries for game that isn't available here. I've seen TV shows and read magazine articles about hunts for Argali, Tahr, Red Stag, The Big 5, Plains Game, etc. But what am I doing to make any of these hunts happen? Other than dreaming of them and throwing out the ol' adage of "Well, if I win the lottery one day, I'll definitely be able to do them..," not much. News flash - I don't even play the lottery which means my odds of winning are actually less than if I did buy lottery tickets each week. Since that option is gone, I realized that if I want to do just one of these hunts, it's time to start saving. I'm just starting a new career so I don't know if my future holds a more lucrative position that may allow for several of these trips, or not. Since a current snapshot into my financial situation would leave only a fool planning for more than one of these any time soon, I'll plan on saving for one and hope that I'll be lucky enough to actually do one, let alone more than that. So, I opened a savings account yesterday just for 'this' hunt, regardless of what it may be. Unfortunately, I feel like the number I'm budgeting for right now will have changed by the time I'm ready to go on the hunt. That may turn this budget into a never ending cycle of throwing money into an account without ever being able to catch up with the inflation rate of hunts like these. Regardless, Id like to do this hunt 5 years from now. I'll use the next 5 years to make sure that the budget stays on track and start looking into my available options for worldwide hunts with the amount I plan to save. I haven't quite decided on a species, yet. That will depend on how close to my budget I end up and what my final available funds look like. Hopefully, in 2017 I'll be able to make it become a reality. If it doesn't work out by then, I'll readjust, but I plan to keep this money set aside for this particular reason. If it takes an extra year or two to get plans set, I would like to keep putting money into the account at the same rate. I feel like that may open more opportunities (2 extra years = 40% more money & more money often does open more opportunities)!

    Is anyone else doing anything like this? Is anyone else doing it with a hunting buddy and planning a trip for 2 people?

    I guess that post just really got me thinking. I'm the type of person that if I see something I want, I do whatever it takes to get it. It's time to start getting serious about a big hunt, just curious if anyone else is in the same boat...

  2. #2

    Default Making a Bucket List Hunt Happen

    Great idea, stay with it and you will make your bucket list hunt happen. I did the same thing in the fall of 2010, but for me the hunt was one for dall sheep. In early 2011 I booked the hunt for 2013 and began saving, now it's almost all paid off and I am in training mode. Less than a year to go, the time has gone by fast, I can't wait to get to Alaska and fulfill the dream.

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    My bucket list animal (argali) probably will never happen. I have been to Africa and hunted plains game twice. Next up is Tahr and chamois in New Zealand. There are opportunities out there that are relatively cheap, but the right people have to come into play. New Zealand in 2013 and figure at least 2 or 3 bull tahr will be taken and hopefully a chamois.

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    Its amazing how fast someone can rat hole a nice sum of cash if they are really dedicated. My wife and I have done this with saving for our four kids college funds.

    As a life-long Alaska I've been privilged to hunt moose, caribou, dall sheep, mt. goat, musk ox, brownies, blackies, griz, bison and sitka deer. Having filled all but three of those, I'd say my bucket has been blessed.

    If I could just draw that one tag though!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Its amazing how fast someone can rat hole a nice sum of cash if they are really dedicated. My wife and I have done this with saving for our four kids college funds.

    As a life-long Alaska I've been privilged to hunt moose, caribou, dall sheep, mt. goat, musk ox, brownies, blackies, griz, bison and sitka deer. Having filled all but three of those, I'd say my bucket has been blessed.

    If I could just draw that one tag though!!!!
    I agree, very, very privileged to be able to hunt what we do in Alaska. I've only not gotten the bison and muskox. Had one season where I got a black, grizz, brown bear, goat, sheep, caribou, moose, sitka black tail. Pretty good season.

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    Let's toss out some numbers and see if this can be diluted to its component parts. Let's say the dream hunt you're looking at will run about 15 grand ballpark, and you make a target hunt date of 5 years. That's 3 Gs a year that you need to save between now and then, which works out to $250 per month.

    If we were honest with ourselves and had the discipine, or were willing to take a second job to fund our hunts, $250 per month is a fully realizable goal. The question is, are we really willing (or disciplined enough) to do it at the expense of short-term pleasures like dinner out and weekly trips to the mall or amusement park? That's a question each of us will have to answer for ourselves.

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdhunter View Post
    Let's toss out some numbers and see if this can be diluted to its component parts. Let's say the dream hunt you're looking at will run about 15 grand ballpark, and you make a target hunt date of 5 years. That's 3 Gs a year that you need to save between now and then, which works out to $250 per month.

    If we were honest with ourselves and had the discipine, or were willing to take a second job to fund our hunts, $250 per month is a fully realizable goal. The question is, are we really willing (or disciplined enough) to do it at the expense of short-term pleasures like dinner out and weekly trips to the mall or amusement park? That's a question each of us will have to answer for ourselves.


    I can't remember the last time I went to either a mall or amusement park, but I get what you're saying. I'm budgeting quite a bit more than that, so it's going to take a little more discipline. Time will only tell how it works out, and with an 11 month old daughter, it may be a bit loftier of an endeavor than I'd planned to take on, but we will find out. I think, more than anything, I want to have an honest answer to the question from Milo's post.

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    Hey Ducks - When I said "you're" in my post I was referring to all of us hunters who have dream hunts, not you specifically. In my mind you're ahead of the game by having a game plan and having started. it will definitely take discipline with a young family, but you're on your way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksAndDogs View Post
    I can't remember the last time I went to either a mall or amusement park, but I get what you're saying. I'm budgeting quite a bit more than that, so it's going to take a little more discipline. Time will only tell how it works out, and with an 11 month old daughter, it may be a bit loftier of an endeavor than I'd planned to take on, but we will find out. I think, more than anything, I want to have an honest answer to the question from Milo's post.
    If your still in for a Stone ram let's get on it, otherwise you know I got a spot for you with us heading back to Zim for Ele.Good luck on the upcoming hunts, send me an email of the results. Time for the 9 month vacation to start, straight shootin and good luck.
    "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B&C 04 View Post
    If your still in for a Stone ram let's get on it, otherwise you know I got a spot for you with us heading back to Zim for Ele.Good luck on the upcoming hunts, send me an email of the results. Time for the 9 month vacation to start, straight shootin and good luck.


    That Stone Ram is definitely something I'm interested in, but there may be something else in line, first - I contacted the outfitter today for prices and availability. I'll let you know if you're interested...!

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    Great thread idea There are a lot of things to get down that path. Waiting and dreaming isn't going to do it.

    Automatic savings account - Start out with what you can afford and double it because you know how cheap you really are Then bump it up every time you get your puney raise at work. You won't notice the little extra $$ on your weekly paycheck, but if you squirrel it away for several years it could turn into an elephant - literally.

    Bargain hunt - Look for fund-raiser auctions, cancelation hunts, off-season, or non-exportable trophies. Summer Tahr hunting is very affordable. Non-exportable Africa game is half or less than the cost of exportable (replica tusks are cheap)

    Preference Points - It's like a punch in the gut everytime I buy them, but it's the system we are stuck with for many quality western hunts, especially elk. Start buying now so you're not too old when you finally draw. Start buying for your kids too (some states have cheap perference points for kids and Wyoming lets you average them in as a party).

    Lottery - Supertag drawings

    Know your limitations and priorities - Is a stone sheep really worth the money, or could you get more bang for your buck elsewhere if you just accept the fact that its not realistic? You have to make that call.

    Rich woman - Please send photo of dog and pickup truck.


    For myself:

    Last year my wife decided she wanted to go to New Zealand in 2015, which for me equals Tahr and Chamois. We have each been throwing $50/paycheck in an account and we already have over $4000 with a few years to go. It won't pay for the entire trip, but its a very good start - makes the diffference in being able to do it or not.

    I have 14 pref points in Colorado for deer and elk. A big elk is on my list - hopefully in 2013 or 2014.

    I buy my son Wyoming reduced-price youth preferance points for deer, elk and antelope. In a couple years, we'll partner up for stink-goats in a really good unit which allows me to benefit from his cheap points (averaging in WY). Someday I will take him for an elk, which will mean as much to me as it does to him.

    Research, research, research - and be ready when you find the deal.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    I agree, very, very privileged to be able to hunt what we do in Alaska. I've only not gotten the bison and muskox. Had one season where I got a black, grizz, brown bear, goat, sheep, caribou, moose, sitka black tail. Pretty good season.
    My bucket list is to meet you and shake your hand!

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    For those of you who are dreaming of going to New Zealand, it's really not that expensive. I went last year and shot a red stag and a tahr. I bought the hunt for tahr at the RMEF Elk Camp in Reno and was able to get a bid in for a good bit less than half what it normally costs. The red stag was an add on with the outfitter after I got there. I really didn't have a desire to take a stag, because most of the huge ones you see taken on TV are genetically engineered stags and live on fenced estates. Granted, some of these estates are fairly huge, but I'll never shoot an animal that lives in a pen. But, there are some outfitters who hunt free range stags in NZ and mine was one of them. My stag is a typical 6X6 (as are most wild stag), but they do have some that grow to 7X7s. I did the whole hunt, including airfare, lodging and trophy expiditing for under $10K. The main reason, I'm writing this though is because while I was hunting there, I found out that the crown (NZ government) owns most of the land above a certain altitude (I believe it was 3 or 4 thousand feet). Since this is public land, anyone can hunt it. Even foreigners. To test it out, I went onto a NZ government website and made an application for a hunting permit (it's free). I was able to get one with no problems. It expires after 6 months. There is a $25 fee to import a rifle into the country and those applications are also available online. I'm serious when I say, with a little research and $5K, a person could put together a DIY tahr and chamois hunt in NZ. Most of the stags are in lower elevations, so I don't know how easy it would be to find public land to hunt them on, but I do know the locals hunt them there on public land. Check it out.

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    One of my "once in a lifetime hunts" is a moose hunt in Alaska. Last summer my son-in-law and I were talking and decided 2012 would be the year. My wife wanted to know how I was going to pay for it. She said I couldn't use any of our IRA or savings money because it was something I didn't have to do. I said I'll get a second job. With a skeptical look she said "sure you will". A few weeks later I got that second job and started saving. I have worked every weekend (except for a couple) since September of 11. I've got enough saved for a DIY float moose hunt. We'll be headed to Alaska on September 14th.

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    Default NZ hunting

    Yep, hunting in NZ is in many ways easier than it is in Alaska. There is huge areas of public land all over the country which is essentially free for anyone to hunt. There are deer (red, elk, white tail, rusa, sika & samba), pigs, goats, tahr and chamois all here on public land. There is a free permit to get and thats it, no tags and nothing further. Almost all of the bigger public parks have walking tracks through them and public huts to stay in (huts might cost you NZ$15 per night per person or NZ$120 for a year pass. If you don't want to walk to far with all your gear then there are public access points you can drive right to or for several hundred dollars you could just get a helicopter to fly you in and pick you up again.

    My father and i did a 10 day hunt in the moutains in our South Island where we saw up to 60-70 tahr per day and just down river the other guys in our group shot 1-4 chamios each basically from the walking track. The whole trip cost us about NZ$550 each plus food.

    Big red stags most people consider "trophies" are difficult to come by on public land but they are out there. Taters 6x6 is a great NZ trophy stag.

    Anyone looking for a bit of information or advice on hunting public land in NZ is more than welcome to PM me. I'll make sure to point you in the right direction.

    Glad you had a great trip to NZ Tater, i hope to have a great trip to Alaska with my father in less than 3 weeks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillie View Post
    Yep, hunting in NZ is in many ways easier than it is in Alaska. There is huge areas of public land all over the country which is essentially free for anyone to hunt. There are deer (red, elk, white tail, rusa, sika & samba), pigs, goats, tahr and chamois all here on public land. There is a free permit to get and thats it, no tags and nothing further. Almost all of the bigger public parks have walking tracks through them and public huts to stay in (huts might cost you NZ$15 per night per person or NZ$120 for a year pass. If you don't want to walk to far with all your gear then there are public access points you can drive right to or for several hundred dollars you could just get a helicopter to fly you in and pick you up again.

    My father and i did a 10 day hunt in the moutains in our South Island where we saw up to 60-70 tahr per day and just down river the other guys in our group shot 1-4 chamios each basically from the walking track. The whole trip cost us about NZ$550 each plus food.

    Big red stags most people consider "trophies" are difficult to come by on public land but they are out there. Taters 6x6 is a great NZ trophy stag.

    Anyone looking for a bit of information or advice on hunting public land in NZ is more than welcome to PM me. I'll make sure to point you in the right direction.

    Glad you had a great trip to NZ Tater, i hope to have a great trip to Alaska with my father in less than 3 weeks!

    Thanks for the heads up, Gillie, that's great to know. I've got a buddy who wants to hunt in NZ and I'm sure he'll find this information more than useful.

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    I had the same idea Ducks, I just posted my response to Milo's question in the other bucket list room. Hats off too all who are putting in the hours and sacrifices to make their dreams come true! I work in healthcare and have seen life savings lost to nursing homes and end of life care expenses. My philosophy is to save a little for a rainy day, but don't forget about your dreams - one day you may not be able to hike up that mountain.

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    Default pref point game

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    I have 14 pref points in Colorado for deer and elk. A big elk is on my list - hopefully in 2013 or 2014.
    Very good point about the pref point game you must play in many Western states. Not like a foreign country where all you need is dollars. In some of those western states you have to have 15 or even more pref points and you can only get one per year. So, if you start buying them from one state for one species now, you might be able to draw a permit in about 2027, 2030, or so. So if you make this decision in your mid thirties, you'll be over 50 years old before you hunt it. That really takes some planning, and decades of doing the right thing on time, every year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 450grandpa View Post
    One of my "once in a lifetime hunts" is a moose hunt in Alaska. Last summer my son-in-law and I were talking and decided 2012 would be the year. My wife wanted to know how I was going to pay for it. She said I couldn't use any of our IRA or savings money because it was something I didn't have to do. I said I'll get a second job. With a skeptical look she said "sure you will". A few weeks later I got that second job and started saving. I have worked every weekend (except for a couple) since September of 11. I've got enough saved for a DIY float moose hunt. We'll be headed to Alaska on September 14th.
    I hope you have a trip of a lifetime...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Very good point about the pref point game you must play in many Western states. Not like a foreign country where all you need is dollars. In some of those western states you have to have 15 or even more pref points and you can only get one per year. So, if you start buying them from one state for one species now, you might be able to draw a permit in about 2027, 2030, or so. So if you make this decision in your mid thirties, you'll be over 50 years old before you hunt it. That really takes some planning, and decades of doing the right thing on time, every year.
    What really sucks about points is that for the unit I was originally planning to hunt, I am actually further behind than when I started applying 14 years ago. There is always point creep, but they can also change the rules mid stream and it sucks when that happens after 6 or 7 years. In spite of that, I can now take my 14 points and combine it with money and still get a hunt that is much better than over the counter.

    Start buying them for your kids when they're young.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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