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Thread: Escaping the Lower 48!

  1. #1
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    Default Escaping the Lower 48!

    My family of four will be moving hopefully to the Matsu area this summer. We are moving from Georgia. My husband is skilled in several fields and we don't anticipate trouble in that area. We're both concealed carry and plan to take the ferry and I'm aware we have to check our carry firearms but firearms in our vehicle and trailer are fine as long as they stay packed. Canada is not an option.

    We are selling most of our possessions, except what we'll need up there as well as a few things we can resell for a good profit once we're there. We're also looking at purchasing a covered trailer and using uship dot com to pick up some extra money on the way. I have a 2WD Sorento that we're going to sell or trade for a 4WD or AWD SUV. I've spent several days going through the threads and still haven't found answers to a few questions.

    1. We are both volunteer firefighters and medical first responders, and Georgia and Alaska are both pro-board states so our certs will transfer over.
    Is Alaska a duty-to-act state?
    When a real estate ad says it's a "fire coverage area", does that mean the fire coverage is paid or volunteer?

    If there's no fire coverage, do folks just sit around and roast marshmallows while the house burns to the ground??? Just kidding, we've only roasted marshmallows over a car fire...

    2. Tires: I know there's differences in tires depending on the season, but what are studded tires and are they really preferable? Does anyone use all-weather tires and make it through the winter? My hubs has lots more confidence on icy and snowy roads than I do, but I'm learning. We've lived in Georgia five years, but I grew up in Texas. When it iced over, whole towns came to a stop.

    3. What's a privy?? I know what a composting toilet is, and I'm familiar with outhouses. How do folks get their water with no plumbing or adjacent streams/lakes? When I first read "dry cabin", I thought it meant it didn't flood... God help me...

    4. Transportation: Ok, so properties are accessible by boat, plane, ATVs and snowmobiles (sorry, my South is showing!). That's a bit intimidating, so we're probably going to stay close to town. The keyword here is ATV. We can bring up a couple if they're really needed. How preferable is an ATV over an enclosed vehicle during winter? Do they handle snow and ice better? Is it feasible to just use ATVs? They get better gas mileage, right?

    5. Bears: We live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In all the five years I've been here, we've only seen one bear! It was a little black bear that ran across the road while we were out on a call searching for a UFO. True story, but maybe another time... Are bears prevalent in towns, or just in remote locations or what? This is the scariest part of the whole situation for me... I'm the slowest runner in my family!

    6. Can we shoot anything that moves on our own property, or do we still have to have a license? Are bears and moose protected from nuisance shootings?

    We're learning to garden and can, and process our own kills. We are both hunters. What's the best way to skin without attracting unwanted guests? I'm planning to purchase a little 20G and alternate slug and 00 like I found in another posting. I hope I'm not the only one who packs a sidearm and shotgun just to go into town... Speaking of, can I carry my shotgun in a back sling into stores and such?

    We're also collecting warm clothing since it's so cheap down here. I just paid $40 at an estate sale for a tote full of socks, hats and gloves!

    I've really enjoyed reading over all the posts, and almost feel like I know some of you. The humor, wit and sarcasm come through in the print, and it's been interesting so far... Thanks for your time.

  2. #2

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    I can help with a few…

    2. As snow accumulates it packs down and ice is created. The preferred method of driving on ice is a studded tire. Small screws are imbedded in the tread giving the tire a metal bite in the ice. On clear pavement the studded tires tear up the asphalt and the studs wear out faster. You can get around on snow tires and all-terrain but not as quickly.

    3. A privy is an outhouse…dig a hole in the warm weather and put a shed with over it. No water for wash-up, just sit and let it fall. Personal privies usually smell better than those found at primitive rest areas.

    4. Properties with road access are higher in price and thusly the most remote are usually the cheapest. ATVs are just about useless in deep snow and should not be depended on as your sole winter transportation. If you were a mile off the road and 12” of snow fell overnight, you’d end up walking out. However you could have stayed up all night plowing and packing the snow as it fell but that seems a bit far fetched. A snowmobile would handle the snow fall but it too can have trouble in the deepest snow. When it is COLD, use the enclosed vehicle over the ATV. ATV gas mileage is measured in hours of use not miles. The reason they might appear to have better mileage is you FEEL like you’ve driven a long way for every tank.

    5. Bears are everywhere there is food available. Keep the homestead’s exterior free of edibles and it should help. Nature walks through your surroundings should be on the noisy side so you alert the bear before surprising it. Black bears are seen throughout towns, getting into garbage, raiding bird feeders, etc. Remote residences may attract the curiously hungry bear (either black or brown bear). Can’t emphasize enough, keep the homestead free of edibles and there odor.

    6. You need a license to kill animals. However there are exceptions to the rule when life and property are at risk.

    * Skin and gut your kills where they fall, preferably away from the homestead. Clean up the homestead butchering area really well after completion.

    * 20 gauge is OKAY (not preferred by most-12ga.) but I wouldn’t mess with the buckshot, slugs all the way.

    * Carrying in public places…personally it is more of what feels customary. Rarely seen in Juneau but a hundred miles outside of Anchorage or Fairbanks, it is done by some people but not everyone.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Wellllllll, you have asked a lot, and there are a lot of answers that will flow from this forum, first, you have to have a license to kill anything in Alaska you plan on consuming, you will not be a resident till you have lived in Alaska for 12 months in a row. So you must have non-resident license the first year you will live in Alaska. The only case of unlicensed shooting of a game animal is for protection of life. Then it must be reported to the troopers and they will dispose of the carcass, (usually given to a needy family).
    Bears, can be anywhere, in any town on any street. Wait till you get to Anchorage, your image of the North State will change.(Los Anchorage)
    Atv, great to get around on in summer and winter, but not necessary unless you live in the bush. Lots of roads in Alaska. That is why they call it the road system. Along most paved roads are Atv, snowmobile trails. To ride an Atv in the winter is cold, so a vehicle with a heater is prefered. It is against the law in most places to ride your Atv on the roadway.
    Privy, or Outhouse it is called. Water can be melted from snow in the winter, and caught on the roof in the summer, stored in barrels for use when it does not rain. I have a well on my property, it is only 96 feet deep, lots of water and very cold.
    Studded tires help in the ice, but most of the year it is so cold the snow seems sticky, All season tires work great. If you think you will need more traction, you can always put chains on. they even make chains for Atv's.
    Gardening is a short season, but the sun shines most of the 24 hours, so things grow fast.

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    Thanks Gerberman and Nuskovich! I used to have three pages of questions, but I'd narrowed it down considerably before I posted. Now, the biggest questions are regarding the fire service. We are very active in our community here, and we don't expect that to change because we move.

    I think we'll do well with a 4WD SUV, and two ATVs to start with.

    Do bears attack for no reason? I can totally see a bear charging down the trail after an ATV got too close or something... Apart from my own paranoia, it seems they'd ignore us unless we pose a threat to them. It would have to be a particularly vicious bear that would charge without provocation...

  5. #5

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    Most of the Mat-Su area in on a Volunteer basis for the fire fighting . When they talk about fire service areas they are saying that these areas have voted to form a fire service area and be taxed for this service.

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    There is always a reason a bear attacks, it just might not be apparent to you. The majority of times a brown/grizzly will charge because it preceives you as some type of threat. Threat to its food, a cub or itself if you startle it. If you turn a corner and a bear is right there, expect a charge. That is why the advice is to make noise as you move through the woods. Of course that doesn't really help much if its defending its food cache. The only time you can shoot a bear or moose out side of hunting season is in defense of life or property. Them being a nuisance is not a reason to kill it. If you ever have to expect the troopers to ask a lot of questions. The carcass belongs to the state.
    Fire service areas mean it is covered by someone, could be paid or volunteer depending on where it is. And if there is no fire service area then pretty much cooking marshmallows is about all that is going to happen.
    Bridgestone Blizzacks work very well as a non-studded snow tire. Studded tires have little metal studs on the road surface of the tire. They work very well on icy roads and I find they also work well on my pick up becasue its light in the back.
    ATVs cannot be legally driven on the road system, but as already pointed out, there are traails along most roads up in the Mat-Su.
    And again as already pointed out you must have been in the state for 365 days to qualify for a resident license. Pay attention to the dates becasue the troopers have been hammering it lately, and deservingly so. It will take al least that long to figure out all the rules and get some idea of what you are going to hunt and how.

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    Bears are typically terrified of human smells, sounds, and sightings.....they will not attack for no reason.....bears will attack or may even stalk you if they are very very hungry, which is rare but it happens..... Or they will attack if they feel threatened, especially bears with young ones..... Do not attempt to shoot a bear with your sidearm, unless it be a very powerful sidearm..... You'll jus end up unleashing a wounded bear in your area that puts others and yourselves at risk..... If at all possible leave them alone and always use common sense with any wild animal.... In many Alaskans opinions, a moose is the greater danger to humans, for they often will attack with much less warning and provocation......read up on all Alaskan animals and thier life behavior and you'll know enough to start with.....

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    I would suggest glancing at Google Earth to look at the location you plan to move to.
    From your posts it sounds like you have seen a bunch of reality TV on Alaska (most of it is nonsense).
    In reality the road system is just like the road system you are familiar with, just new location. Malls, stoplights, fast food, etc.... just like the rest of the lower 48.
    However, if you are moving to the "bush" then I understand your questions completely.

    Most of your Q's have already been answered above.

    BK

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Angela
    I see no one has responded to your question about "duty to act" state.. probably like me, none of us know what that's all about!
    Gardening. It's a different ball game in Alaska. Tomatoes and cucumbers you need a green house to get any results. Corn is a waste of time. Lots of people grow potatoes, because they like to, and they do very well here. Personally, I don't have the space nor inclination to mess with spuds, and because there are lots of commercial farmers doing very well at producing spuds locally, rather inexpensively in my opinion. You want to grow lots of cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and peas... because that's what the moose like to eat. I think your going to find that Alaska isn't quite the Frontier that you imagine. Your 30 years too late for that.

  10. #10

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    Angela,

    As someone who just moved here (literally) from the lower 48 I think I can help to some extent!

    Being in the Mat-Su Valley (depending on where you go).. you are not that far out from anywhere civilized. There are roads everywhere and most places have running water, trash pickup and mail delivery.

    I, too, thought I was going to need a 4x4 truck. While they are preferable.. you’d do fine with a car. People drive all sorts of vehicles up here! Attachment 67935 This is Wasilla the other day. I think you want something higher off the ground as the dirt backlash from tires seems to be the most annoying thing I've dealt with. 4x4 is key too as there are a lot of snowy roads to deal with.

    You cannot just shoot anything on your property. You have to have licenses and permits and all that. I forgot what was told to me, but you can get in big trouble and banned from hunting for life depending on the circumstances. I think it may be different if you are defending yourself, but you cannot keep the kill from what I am told and have to report it right away.

    I just got here last week, so I don’t know about bears.. but I can tell you moose are everywhere. I’ve gotten really paranoid about what everyone has told me. I’ve been dying to go hiking, but am afraid to go with my dog from the stories people tell me of how dumb, and mean they can get. I’ve also been told that you either are in a bear territory or you are not, so if you’re not you don’t have to worry as much. IF you are, be prepared to see them on a regular basis. I think it also depends on where you plan to live. Have you decided on an area yet?

    I have to agree with what Old John said.. it’s not going to be the frontier you imagined..
    Stacey

  11. #11

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    I forgot to mention the cold!!! It's not as bad as you think! I think because we are used to the lower 48, that when it says 10 degrees, it's freezing! I have noticed that the cold - because it's a dry cold - isn't as bad and unbearable. Granted I started walking around CT without a jacket for a month before I moved to AK to try and acclimate my body. The other day I went outside to get ready to go into town. I had jeans, boots, a sweater, a down jacket (on but not zipped up) and a hat on. I was a bit cold, but not FREEZING! I wandered into town and noticed a sign like at a bank that said the time and temp "-25". I laughed and thought the sign was broken. Well.. it wasn't. It didn't seem that cold to me though. Bring lots of moisturizer though! I've never had dry skin before.. but now I'm using it like crazy!

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    My family of four will be moving hopefully to the Matsu area this summer. We are moving from Georgia. My husband is skilled in several fields and we don't anticipate trouble in that area. We're both concealed carry and plan to take the ferry and I'm aware we have to check our carry firearms but firearms in our vehicle and trailer are fine as long as they stay packed. Canada is not an option.

    You need to be aware that if you take the ferry up you most likely will be landing in Haines. From there you still have to drive thru Canada some to get back into Alaska. You better look at the rules closely before you get there and get your permits before hand.
    Non-restricted firearms Most ordinary hunting rifles and shotguns. These may be brought temporarily into Canada for sporting or hunting use during hunting season, for use in competition, for in-transit movement through Canada, or for personal protection against wildlife in remote areas of Canada. Anyone wishing to bring hunting rifles into Canada must be at least 18 years old, and the firearm must be properly stored for transport.
    Restricted firearms Primarily handguns; however, pepper spray and mace are also included in this category. A restricted firearm may be brought into Canada, but an Authorization to Transport (ATT) permit must be obtained in advance from a Provincial or Territorial Chief Firearms Officer. The ATT will not be issued for hunting or self-protection purposes.
    Prohibited firearms Prohibited firearms are not allowed into Canada. These include fully automatic, converted automatics, assault-type weapons and handguns with a barrel length less than 105mm (4 inches), replicas of such weapons and certain knives. A complete list can be found at the Canada Border Services Agency website. Canadian customs officials will automatically confiscate the firearm. It will not be returned, and the firearm ultimately will be destroyed. The gun owner is not given the option to withdraw the request to enter Canada and return to the U.S. in order to retain possession of the prohibited firearm.

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    boy is that wasilla growing, seems like every other days another person is moving from the lower 48 to wasilla, gonna just call it little anchorage from now on. must be palins fault. its stopped being a little town in the 80's anyhow.
    Semper Fi!

  14. #14
    AniWahaya
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    MG, I second the lotion! I use it like crazy - dry chapped skin is miserable, also a good hair conditioner to fight the static cling (I soak in olive oil before washing sometimes). Warm clothing: Think layers! Cotton kills... Synthetic and wool is great.. I dont like smartwool because it doesn't seem to hold up as long as it should. Ibex is great. Footwear is extremely important so you dont end up with frozen feet like the rest of us.. uhh.. Once you freeze em they aren't the same. Weather can change on a dime, never underestimate this place, as soon as you relax Alaska will kick your butt even in the summer.
    If your thinking about living in the bush many people get by with ATVs and Sleds. When the only road is 5 miles long you dont often need a car but if your a city dweller a car/truck is a must. Studs might not help with the whoa but they sure help with the go :-).. When we get one of those famous March snow dumps you see why 4x4 helps. Once, on a 60 mile stretch of road I counted 11 roll overs... yep, the Glenn.. The worst ice is black - hate the spring drivers lol..
    I dont know why you would want to carry a shotgun grocery shopping.. The food should already be dead..
    Bears, everyone answered that question... Ha! If people even knew where all the bears are they'd probably never go into the woods. They have been spotted outside downtown Anchorage before. Bears are a part of life up here and generally mind their own business when respected like the dangerous wild animal that they are. I got caught being stupid last summer because I put trash in a heavy duty closed lid trash can and kept it within the dog yard (fully enclosed w/ 4 foot fence) left for one stinking night and guess what? Needless to say I was on trash duty for at least an hour when I got back. The bear even left a present for me on the porch Grrrrr... In 29 years (I'm from GA) Ive only had 1 DLP and one warning shots fired involving wildlife yet countless, "oh **** that was close," stupid - me moments.. When in bear country cleanliness is everything!
    Now what about that UFO story????

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    AniWahaya
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    Quote Originally Posted by greythorn3 View Post
    boy is that wasilla growing, seems like every other days another person is moving from the lower 48 to wasilla, gonna just call it little anchorage from now on. must be palins fault. its stopped being a little town in the 80's anyhow.
    Wasn't that predicted anyway? That Wasilla will end up the suburb of Anchorage extending to Willow.. Seems to be whats been happening.

  16. #16
    AniWahaya
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    Oh and for new ladies to ak about to go "Into The Wild." (Gents close your eyes I don't have access to woman's forum) After some horrific stories I've heard think - cork and burn! So, I don't have any shame but I don't see a cause when it comes to safety.

  17. #17

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    [QUOTE=AniWahaya;1241473]
    I dont know why you would want to carry a shotgun grocery shopping.. The food should already be dead..
    QUOTE] Hahahahahaha

  18. #18
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    .... In many Alaskans opinions, a moose is the greater danger to humans, for they often will attack with much less warning and provocation.....
    Yup. Only time I had to pull my hogleg was on a cow moose, thought she was gonna kill me, and she sure tried....when their ears go down and the back hair comes up and they roll their eyes at you, get away fast! Run! On the volunteer fire dept. question, I know the KPB gives a $10,000 tax exemption for joining; not sure if the Mat-Su does as well, but it'd be a good way to meet the neighbors while putting a little green back in your pocket!
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    If you are going to come up on the ferry, plan quick. They often fill up for the summer very early. http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml
    It is also possible now to go from Bellington, WA to Whittier without going through Canada. Bellingham to Ketchikan then to Whittier. It takes some planning and the sooner the better. There was also a brown bear hit by a truck in the middle of Anchorage. AniWahaya is correct, there are a lot of bears roaming along Campbell Creek and the Campbell Airstrip area in Anchorage . They are just rarely seen.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Yup. Only time I had to pull my hogleg was on a cow moose, thought she was gonna kill me, and she sure tried....when their ears go down and the back hair comes up and they roll their eyes at you, get away fast! Run! On the volunteer fire dept. question, I know the KPB gives a $10,000 tax exemption for joining; not sure if the Mat-Su does as well, but it'd be a good way to meet the neighbors while putting a little green back in your pocket!

    Spot on...with my encounter (below), I wanted to run, but was tired...so, I convinced her to take a little jog.

    Curious Moose...a few seconds before she changed her mood.



    Mad Moose...



    On the run Moose...

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