After another successful caribou float hunt last year with my family I started thinking about hunt plans for this year. My goal was to plan a hunt that was different, but also give my youngest son a high chance of success harvesting his first big game animal. Deer hunting in AK seemed to be a perfect choice. I just needed to choose between SE, PWS, or Kodiak. We try to use our trips to explore a “new to us” part of Alaska so Kodiak it was. The only stipulation was when my wife told me “There is no freakin’ way I’m sleeping in a tent on Kodiak”. Lol That made planning easier…a cabin it was to be. There was no way I would win that argument.
Plans started to form in the spring. I knew the winterkill would have a negative effect, but the initial 30% numbers I was hearing did not seem too bad since we were only after 2 deer. I juggled school schedules, vacation, a time period that would hopefully have less than horrible weather, cabin availability, and all of the other logistics that make a trip like this challenging. I booked one of the NWR public use cabins on the south end of the island, settled on using Alaska Air miles for 4 tickets after pricing out the ferry, and booked a Beaver through Andrews Airways. My wife loves history so we made sure we had extra time in Kodiak to check out the Baranov and the Alutiiq Museums along with the NWR Visitor Center. Plus, we just wanted to wander around and see the town. The Best Western provided a perfect location for exploring on foot.
We gathered gear, purchased a couple of Pelican cases for the rifles and set about packing…… taking into consideration items that could not fly on Alaska Airlines and would need to be purchased in Kodiak (matches, white gas stove fuel, kerosene for the cabin heater, etc.). We also had to plan around the weight limit of the Beaver for 4 of us & gear and enough weight allowance on the way back to add a deer or two. I wished we’d had enough room to take a Zodiac and outboard with us, but there just wasn’t enough weight left without booking another expensive air taxi ride. We had to hunt on foot for this trip.
Thanks to all that responded to an earlier post of mine with tips regarding things to do in town. We had a great time exploring and ended the night with a yummy dinner at the Old Powerhouse restaurant. Andrews picked us up the next afternoon, stopped for us to make last minute purchases and delivered us dockside. They provided the first class service they are known for. The guns were transferred to soft sided cases, last minute packing completed, gear & people weighed and we were off on a beautiful, though breezy day. The heavy takeoff from the limited shelter of Trident Basin into the wind and chop of the main harbor left all with a good dose of adrenalin but quickly gave way to a smooth and crystal clear flight direct to Deadman Bay. Forty-five minutes later we were on the beach, unloading gear, my wife looking for bears, and we settled in for 6 days of adventure.