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Thread: So how hard is hunting around region 14?

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    Default So how hard is hunting around region 14?

    Hey guys... read around on these forums a good bit lately as I'm planning on moving up there this summer to he Matsu valley area. I was wondering if anyone with experience in or around this area could advise first hand how hard hunting is in this region? I have heard that it is more difficult than most think because hunting in AK has been "romantisized" so I wanted to get the real deal. I am a hunter where I live now, but I hunt for meat, not trophies. I have also read that most people get their meat up there from fishing... Thanks for any and all input!

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    What kind of toys do you own? That makes a lot of difference. You can still hunt, but big boy toyz make accessing areas easier.

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    Your going to have lots of competition. Everybody and their dog hunts for "meat" lots of valley and anchorage residents hunt in unit 14 so you will have to hunt harder smarter further or be luckier. It's very doable if you just put forth the effort to hunt instead of riding the trails with your gun

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh623 View Post
    Hey guys... read around on these forums a good bit lately as I'm planning on moving up there this summer to he Matsu valley area. I was wondering if anyone with experience in or around this area could advise first hand how hard hunting is in this region? I have heard that it is more difficult than most think because hunting in AK has been "romantisized" so I wanted to get the real deal. I am a hunter where I live now, but I hunt for meat, not trophies. I have also read that most people get their meat up there from fishing... Thanks for any and all input!
    Well Josh, there is a long drawn out story to answer your question, but in a nutshell here it goes. The area you are referring to is basically a large suburb of Anchorage. So think about where you live and compare it accordingly with the hunting in a similar locality. Basically a lot of people hunt in and around unit 14 so expect a lot of competition. The second thing you have to think about is for moose (I am assuming if you are hunting in unit 14 and you are meat hunting, you are primarily looking for a moose) is that you have to shoot a spike-fork or a 50" or 3 brow tine animal. To compare that to deer hunting in South Carolina, that would be like shooting a ten-point buck or a spike-fork. In other words you have to pass on all the 5,6,7,8 and 9 pointers. And lastly, the population density of moose in unit 14 is probably a lot less than the population density of deer in South Carolina. I've never hunted where you are from but if it is anything like Michigan deer hunting, you probably have a population density of about 10-20 deer per square mile (just a rough guess). In unit 14 (and most units in Alaska) the population density for moose is usually less than 1 moose per square mile. Some places of the state may be higher 2-8 moose per square mile but that is a high density for moose. So to answer question as quickly and simply as I can, what you heard is probably accurate. People don't (or shouldn't) move to Alaska to find moose and caribou behind every tree. Most people who live here choose to live here for a variety reasons such as pristine wilderness, variety of outdoor activities, diversity of hunting opportunities, subsistence lifestyle etc. I don't know too many people who think the abundance of game is a primary reason to liver here. Just my two cents. Sorry, don't mean to discourage you, but hopefully give you a realistic expectation of Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    What kind of toys do you own? That makes a lot of difference. You can still hunt, but big boy toyz make accessing areas easier.
    Don't own any yet... but I won't be able to hunt on a resident license for a year anyway, so I will just probably let my buddy go fishing under his license ( he lives up there) or i'll just get an out of state fishing license for the first year. I will have a bit to get acclimated and figure out what I need... as far as a gun i'm looking at a 338 lapua and a good 12 ga w/ bernanke slugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Well Josh, there is a long drawn out story to answer your question, but in a nutshell here it goes. The area you are referring to is basically a large suburb of Anchorage. So think about where you live and compare it accordingly with the hunting in a similar locality. Basically a lot of people hunt in and around unit 14 so expect a lot of competition. The second thing you have to think about is for moose (I am assuming if you are hunting in unit 14 and you are meat hunting, you are primarily looking for a moose) is that you have to shoot a spike-fork or a 50" or 3 brow tine animal. To compare that to deer hunting in South Carolina, that would be like shooting a ten-point buck or a spike-fork. In other words you have to pass on all the 5,6,7,8 and 9 pointers. And lastly, the population density of moose in unit 14 is probably a lot less than the population density of deer in South Carolina. I've never hunted where you are from but if it is anything like Michigan deer hunting, you probably have a population density of about 10-20 deer per square mile (just a rough guess). In unit 14 (and most units in Alaska) the population density for moose is usually less than 1 moose per square mile. Some places of the state may be higher 2-8 moose per square mile but that is a high density for moose. So to answer question as quickly and simply as I can, what you heard is probably accurate. People don't (or shouldn't) move to Alaska to find moose and caribou behind every tree. Most people who live here choose to live here for a variety reasons such as pristine wilderness, variety of outdoor activities, diversity of hunting opportunities, subsistence lifestyle etc. I don't know too many people who think the abundance of game is a primary reason to liver here. Just my two cents. Sorry, don't mean to discourage you, but hopefully give you a realistic expectation of Alaska.
    Good call Jack, I appreciate the insightful information. That's what I was thinking, and while I know I will have to put forth more effort than "the next guy" I can appreciate that the stakes are a lot higher up there (800-1200 lb moose) vs down here (80-100 lb deer), so it is technically more affordable if you know what I mean =) my friend actually has a cabin about 15 mi in the bush up talkeetna way on the border of 13 and 14 I believe, I will have to check w/ him on that. Otherwise I guess I will just have to scout around and be willing to drive a good bit lol. Thanks!

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    The .338 Lapua is a waste of money. Get something simple like a 30-06 so you can afford to shoot it and find ammo.

    Lots of competition in unit 14, but I know plenty of guys that get their moose here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    The .338 Lapua is a waste of money. Get something simple like a 30-06 so you can afford to shoot it and find ammo.

    Lots of competition in unit 14, but I know plenty of guys that get their moose here.
    I know this is a little off topic, but its my thread lol.

    Was hoping you would respond Doug! I have seen your posts all over Let me ask you this: I know you like bolts or pump actions for reliability sake and because semi-auto's can jam especially in sub zero temps, but that aside what do you think about a semi-auto 308 like the Scar heavy (7.62x51) which is supposed to be very reliable and if you use the right synthetic lube it will not freeze or gunk up until -60 to -80*F. It makes sense to me that if you are in the bush it would be much better to get off 2-3 well placed shots than just 1 like you would get w/ a bolt action. now I know that a .308 is a little undergunned for a brown bear, but it seems to me like there is a difference between hunting and defense. Hunting you can use a smaller caliber and place shots well, defense you want something that will put something down in one shot ideally (although shot placement is key). But a semi-auto 308 seems like a good compromise between the two...

    Otherwise I am thinking about having a bolt for hunting and then carrying a 12 ga as a back-up, what do guys think?

    So if I am willing to drive a bit and have a 4-wheeler/snowmobile to get back in the bush a ways, you guys think that would increase my chances a good bit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh623 View Post
    I know this is a little off topic, but its my thread lol.

    Was hoping you would respond Doug! I have seen your posts all over Let me ask you this: I know you like bolts or pump actions for reliability sake and because semi-auto's can jam especially in sub zero temps, but that aside what do you think about a semi-auto 308 like the Scar heavy (7.62x51) which is supposed to be very reliable and if you use the right synthetic lube it will not freeze or gunk up until -60 to -80*F. It makes sense to me that if you are in the bush it would be much better to get off 2-3 well placed shots than just 1 like you would get w/ a bolt action. now I know that a .308 is a little undergunned for a brown bear, but it seems to me like there is a difference between hunting and defense. Hunting you can use a smaller caliber and place shots well, defense you want something that will put something down in one shot ideally (although shot placement is key). But a semi-auto 308 seems like a good compromise between the two...

    Otherwise I am thinking about having a bolt for hunting and then carrying a 12 ga as a back-up, what do guys think?

    So if I am willing to drive a bit and have a 4-wheeler/snowmobile to get back in the bush a ways, you guys think that would increase my chances a good bit?

    Whoa! Easy killer!!!! So look I've hunted with a bolt action 3006 all my life here. Taken most critters With it one shot. The 338 lapua, you will never find ammo for here. Trust me, it's a waste of money. Brown bear are not that tough to kill when the shot is well placed. Moose are very easy to down. Your best bet is a good make bolt action 308 or 3006 or even a 300 win mag with a Mauser type action .270 is good too. It doesn't get 60 or 80 below in this area. And I've never had a bolt freeze up on me. But have had semis hang fire and then jam. Seriously though the only shotgun you should need is for birds and small game. So jus slow down little fella. You got lotsa time to figure it out. Another thing. This ain't South Carolina. You will not be able to pack a rifle AND a shotgun at the same time while walking over tundra and thru willow/alder thickets and patches of devils club and mountain hemlock.



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    I wish this forum had one of those little smilies that was eating popcorn...



    Seriously, though, I'd wait until you get some responses from the guys on here vs. what you see on TV. Hunting with a .338 Lapua?? I guess it's probably done up here; but, it's far rarer than you might think. You don't need to go into the woods looking like Rambo. Bear attacks aren't an every day thing. Sure, they happen; but media would have you think we live among man-eating browns/grizzlies around every bend of the river and only a well-stocked arsenal is sufficient enough for off-road travel. That's not the case.

    You'll be plenty fine with a bolt-action rifle in a suitable caliber. You can carry a backup revolver/shotgun if you wish, but I don't feel like it's necessary. I've done the Texas Two-Step with a charging brown bear down on Kodiak. I had a bolt- action .300 RUM and a 10mm. I didn't even reach for the 10mm because instinct took over. I had a dead bear at about 15' with one shot fired, never reached for the pistol, and before I knew what had happened, it was over and another cartridge had been chambered in the blink of an eye.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that you can carry as many high-powered weapons as you want into the field as you want. When the SHTF, you're going to go into auto-pilot or you're going to freeze. That's about it. Once in auto-pilot, you're only going to do what you've practiced. I'd much rather carry a rifle that I've practiced with and know than carry an arsenal that I have little experience with. After what happened on Kodiak, I still carry my pistol, because I don't want to get caught without a gun. But, it's mainly for peace-of-mind. I'm pretty sure if I was faced with the same situation again, I'd probably act the same way and the pistol would remain unfired/undrawn.



    Most importantly, make sure you run everything you see and read online through the common sense filter. It isn't impossible to hunt up here. Sure, it's a little more dangerous (multi-faceted, too). I'd say the weather probably claims more lives each year than bears, although I can't support that with numbers and I could be wrong. But, you're going to hear all kinds of stuff online and on TV. Find a suitable hunting rifle, get to know it, and you'll be fine as long as you're willing to work a little. If you do end up moving here, I'm sure you'll see what we all mean. There's no better place on the planet if you're willing to do a little work.



    *Side note - what part of South Carolina? If you can figure out how to bring me a Super Tailgate Pack and a dozen Bo Berry Biscuits, I'll take you out on the boat and show ya around!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh623 View Post
    I know this is a little off topic, but its my thread lol.

    Was hoping you would respond Doug! I have seen your posts all over Let me ask you this: I know you like bolts or pump actions for reliability sake and because semi-auto's can jam especially in sub zero temps, but that aside what do you think about a semi-auto 308 like the Scar heavy (7.62x51) which is supposed to be very reliable and if you use the right synthetic lube it will not freeze or gunk up until -60 to -80*F. It makes sense to me that if you are in the bush it would be much better to get off 2-3 well placed shots than just 1 like you would get w/ a bolt action. now I know that a .308 is a little undergunned for a brown bear, but it seems to me like there is a difference between hunting and defense. Hunting you can use a smaller caliber and place shots well, defense you want something that will put something down in one shot ideally (although shot placement is key). But a semi-auto 308 seems like a good compromise between the two...

    Otherwise I am thinking about having a bolt for hunting and then carrying a 12 ga as a back-up, what do guys think?

    So if I am willing to drive a bit and have a 4-wheeler/snowmobile to get back in the bush a ways, you guys think that would increase my chances a good bit?
    I'll second Doug's recommendation and add that any hunting situation can potentialy turn into a self defense situation. I think hunting with a bolt gun and carrying a 12ga for backup is unrealistic in every sense. If you are seriously concerned about having a "backup", get a .44 mag, 45 Colt or better, to wear on your hip or chest.

    If you think, or intend to hunt with an autoloader and feel you can actualy make 2-3 well placed shots vs. 1 with a bolt gun, I think once again you are being unrealistic. A single well placed shot is exactly that, why risk shooting an animal in the gut after the boiler room has been hit?

    You will have a HUGE learning curve ahead of you when you make it here and I suggest you reserve some decisions for a time after your move.

    In case you missed this thread, here is a link: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-rifle-caliber


    Even if you read every thread on this forum you will not understand what it is to hunt in Alaska, you may have an idea, but not an understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    Whoa! Easy killer!!!! So look I've hunted with a bolt action 3006 all my life here. Taken most critters With it one shot. The 338 lapua, you will never find ammo for here. Trust me, it's a waste of money. Brown bear are not that tough to kill when the shot is well placed. Moose are very easy to down. Your best bet is a good make bolt action 308 or 3006 or even a 300 win mag with a Mauser type action .270 is good too. It doesn't get 60 or 80 below in this area. And I've never had a bolt freeze up on me. But have had semis hang fire and then jam. Seriously though the only shotgun you should need is for birds and small game. So jus slow down little fella. You got lotsa time to figure it out. Another thing. This ain't South Carolina. You will not be able to pack a rifle AND a shotgun at the same time while walking over tundra and thru willow/alder thickets and patches of devils club and mountain hemlock.
    haha, yeah I know it doesn't get that cold there in the valley... I was just using that as an example. And I wasn't saying that a bolt would lock up, I just have read where many have preferred the bolt action to a semi-auto because the lube in semi-auto's has caused some trouble w/ cycling in extremely cold temps. It is my understanding that it doesn't normally get much below zero there in the valley, avg. temp around 0-20 in the winter about right? That is an excellent point you make... thanks for advising on not carrying two guns! So whatever I have it needs to be a good caliber, good penetrating round, and I need to be able to handle it and make well placed shots...

    The problem w/ the 300 win mag (because I did consider that) is that at this point in time ammo is extremely hard to come by. I reload my own, and can't even hardly find the components, plus there isn't that good of a selection of brass for the 300 winmag (i.e. no lapua brass, next best norma or nosler). I have found 338 to be pretty readily available online, but it may not be the best choice as you guys say who live up there =) So that's why I'm considering a 308 or 30-06 now... thanks for the input!

    What is the average distance on shots up there? I know it probably depends on where you hunt... I hopefully will be hunting everything eventually (moose, elk, bear, and mountain sheep).

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    I'll second Doug's recommendation and add that any hunting situation can potentialy turn into a self defense situation. I think hunting with a bolt gun and carrying a 12ga for backup is unrealistic in every sense. If you are seriously concerned about having a "backup", get a .44 mag, 45 Colt or better, to wear on your hip or chest.

    If you think, or intend to hunt with an autoloader and feel you can actualy make 2-3 well placed shots vs. 1 with a bolt gun, I think once again you are being unrealistic. A single well placed shot is exactly that, why risk shooting an animal in the gut after the boiler room has been hit?

    You will have a HUGE learning curve ahead of you when you make it here and I suggest you reserve some decisions for a time after your move.

    In case you missed this thread, here is a link: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-rifle-caliber


    Even if you read every thread on this forum you will not understand what it is to hunt in Alaska, you may have an idea, but not an understanding.
    Thanks, yeah I know I have a lot to learn... I will def. have to get w/ some experienced hunters up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh623 View Post
    What is the average distance on shots up there? I know it probably depends on where you hunt... I hopefully will be hunting everything eventually (moose, elk, bear, and mountain sheep).
    Average distance is about 100-200 yds. Most guys I know, myself included, sight their rifle in for 2" high at 100 yds. That way they are zeroed in at 200. As for hunting elk, not too many guys hunt elk up here. There are elk on Afognak Island and in Southeast Alaska. But not too many guys even get the opportunity to go after them. I've only met a handful of people who have actually hunted them. Same goes for Musk Ox and Bison. The primary species that most of us go after are moose, caribou, dall sheep, black bear, brown bear, mountain goat, and Sitka blacktail deer.

    But in unit 14 you only got moose, bears, Dall sheep, and mountain goats. Sitka blacktail deer are on Kodiak, in PWS, and Southeast AK. There are some limited caribou opportunities close to unit 14 by permit only. Most guys either go up the Denali Highway, Dalton Highway, or Taylor Highways to look for their caribou.

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    I don't even carry a side arm anymore when hunting. I just take my primary weapon which is usually a 6lb 280AI. For me a conventional long action in a light package with a good scope is the best option for pretty much all my hunting. I do keep an AR15 for the kids to chase caribou and black bear with or to use as a predator gun but I almost never take it out hunting. Alaska has low game density and you will spend a lot of time walking so hauling a 10-16lb gun is a terrible idea. Get something like a tikka 30-06 or if you have $$ to burn a win model 70, Kimber Montana, or Weatherby ultralight then take it hunting. Spend your money on real quality boots. A good set of mountain boots like the Lowa hunters are a great start. Then a set of lacrosse alpha burly rubber boots followed by a set of lacrosse hip boots and probably a good pair of chest waders.

    Once your feet are taken care of so you can actually get out in the field and you have a rifle so you can harvest an animal you will no doubt learn that they are really hard to find! Next up is good optics. Don't skimp here, get a GOOD set of binoculars in 10x42 or 8x42. Bare bones is Nikon Monarch. The Vortex Viper line (or higher) for a little more money. Zen-ray makes some decent budget stuff as well but all of these are in the 300-600 range. You would not be wasting money if you bit the bullet and laid down the $2k on top tier German glass from Zeiss, Swarovski, or Leica.

    Good new is that with the above items and some practice you will be able to find and kill animals. No doubt you will next learn that finding animals is fairly easy while finding LEGAL animals is not. After hiking miles to stalk various moose only to get close and realize they are not legal you will probably decide that you need a spotting scope to save you some serious wasted hiking. Vortex makes good ones in the 1k range, Pentax PF65EDII is a good option n the $750 range and there are of course the "big three" if you can round up $3k to put into more glass...

    So now you spotted a moose with your bino's, verified its legal with your spotter, successfully stalked it with your boots and killed it with your rifle you are going to have to figure out how to haul it out. All to often that next step is going to involve heavy loads and your back. A pack frame capable of carrying the load without breaking your shoulders or falling apart is key. Cabelas guide model frame isn't a bad choice. The Barney's frontier gear freighter frame has a huge following in the guide community and was developed by Barney's in Anchorage.

    Once you have a pack to haul meat you will need to chop up the moose into chunks that you can carry and protect the meat. There are lots of options for game bags, knives, saws etc that are good though many of us have our favorites. Suffice it to say that as long as you have them you will probably get the job done. I have seen a moose butchered with just a leatherman though I doubt the hunter would try it again intentionally! I like Cutco double d knives for most work on moose and a Havel piranta for some finer work. I just buy thick moose bags from Sportsmans wh and they work fine. Best thing going on a saw is a makita lithium sawzall though most get along with something like a Wyoming saw and elbow grease.


    Now it's going to start raining and be miserable for the several days it will likely take you to haul out your moose so you will learn the value of quality rain gear. People spend piles of money on this stuff with the age old "light, good, cheap...... Pick any two" rule in full effect. Helly Hansen impertech has a good following for the good and cheap crowd. Kuiu Chugach has a following in the good and light crowd and Marmot Precip rounds out the mix in the cheap and light bracket. Most of the quality backpacking gear found at REI will work fine for hunting and costs less than camo alternatives. Most down south camo is junk. No cotton as a rule though your Hanes skivvies probably aren't going to get you killed. Poly is a good cheaper alternative for base layers and Merino Wool has become the benchmark material for base layers since unlike poly it tends to not stink.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh623 View Post
    What is the average distance on shots up there? I know it probably depends on where you hunt... I hopefully will be hunting everything eventually (moose, elk, bear, and mountain sheep).
    Elk are a very rare target for Alaskan hunters, as they live on only a few islands and are almost entirely governed by drawing permits. It's certainly a possibility, but generally a very expensive one due to the logistics. Caribou are a much more likely target.

    As for average shots, as you mention, that is highly dependent on the hunter. I'd say my average has been somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 yards for all game.

    In response to your original question, I'd say that you should be willing to travel. Don't restrict yourself only to Unit 14. Yes, it's nice to hunt close to where you live and there are indeed some opportunities in the area, but a 6-12 hour drive (or longer) to go on a weekend hunt is entirely normal up here. I've taken some animals in 14, but many more in other units. Second, while ATVs and other such vehicles are nice, there are a LOT of areas that are prime for the walk-in hunter. In many cases ATVs only get you to where everybody else with an ATV is going. I sometimes have better hunting a mile off the road on foot than 20 miles off the road on an ATV. Both can be great, but again, there are options for the creative hunter willing to work hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    In many cases ATVs only get you to where everybody else with an ATV is going. I sometimes have better hunting a mile off the road on foot than 20 miles off the road on an ATV. Both can be great, but again, there are options for the creative hunter willing to work hard.
    I couldn't agree with Brian more here. I prefer using a raft to access my hunting grounds when possible. Although an ATV can be nice for some things. Like for hauling bait and equipment in and out when bear baiting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I don't even carry a side arm anymore when hunting...
    LuJon that is the best concise description of hunting gear ever! I'm gonna make a point of sending it to my dad, an Alaskan for 33 years but still thinks cotton is the thing.

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    Lots of people in 14 hunt from the saddle of their ATV. Some good areas I used to walk are now cross crossed with ATV trails where people just drive circles around in the woods and all over the fields. One area in particular has a "trail" every hundred feet or so. I use my ATV to get to lookout points then shut it down and glass or I will access an area then shut it down and still hunt. Moose get shot every year that happen to be crossing a trail in front of a hunters ATV but in general for still hunting getting off the rig and walking is the way to go. An ATV is also a pretty poor choice when actually trying to stalk a moose but I see people try it all the time.

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    just after reading the first 5 or 6 posts i got a visual of a guy looking like rambo with 200 rounds slung over his shoulder carrying a semi auto rifle, shotgun, and other implements of destruction all at the same time. as huntandfishAK said "whoa, easy killer". This state is not like the movie "the grey" not everything up here is out to get you at every opportunity. Almost every bear i've seen has been running hell bent the other way from me. The advice given earlier has been great. Get a gun (preferably a good bolt action) semi autos are notoriously innacurrate and less reliable in a caliber that is fairly easy to find ammo. I love my .300win mag but my friends use 7mm, 30-06, .270 pretty basic stuff. you dont need to be in the market for a .700 Nitro Express just because this is alaska. Get some good outdoor gear especially rain stuff and look for synthetic stainless guns proabably save you some headache. Lujons post about gear is spot on. You will spend a small fortune to get yourself properly equipped up here. best of luck to you

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I don't even carry a side arm anymore when hunting. I just take my primary weapon which is usually a 6lb 280AI. For me a conventional long action in a light package with a good scope is the best option for pretty much all my hunting. I do keep an AR15 for the kids to chase caribou and black bear with or to use as a predator gun but I almost never take it out hunting. Alaska has low game density and you will spend a lot of time walking so hauling a 10-16lb gun is a terrible idea. Get something like a tikka 30-06 or if you have $$ to burn a win model 70, Kimber Montana, or Weatherby ultralight then take it hunting. Spend your money on real quality boots. A good set of mountain boots like the Lowa hunters are a great start. Then a set of lacrosse alpha burly rubber boots followed by a set of lacrosse hip boots and probably a good pair of chest waders.

    Once your feet are taken care of so you can actually get out in the field and you have a rifle so you can harvest an animal you will no doubt learn that they are really hard to find! Next up is good optics. Don't skimp here, get a GOOD set of binoculars in 10x42 or 8x42. Bare bones is Nikon Monarch. The Vortex Viper line (or higher) for a little more money. Zen-ray makes some decent budget stuff as well but all of these are in the 300-600 range. You would not be wasting money if you bit the bullet and laid down the $2k on top tier German glass from Zeiss, Swarovski, or Leica.

    Good new is that with the above items and some practice you will be able to find and kill animals. No doubt you will next learn that finding animals is fairly easy while finding LEGAL animals is not. After hiking miles to stalk various moose only to get close and realize they are not legal you will probably decide that you need a spotting scope to save you some serious wasted hiking. Vortex makes good ones in the 1k range, Pentax PF65EDII is a good option n the $750 range and there are of course the "big three" if you can round up $3k to put into more glass...

    So now you spotted a moose with your bino's, verified its legal with your spotter, successfully stalked it with your boots and killed it with your rifle you are going to have to figure out how to haul it out. All to often that next step is going to involve heavy loads and your back. A pack frame capable of carrying the load without breaking your shoulders or falling apart is key. Cabelas guide model frame isn't a bad choice. The Barney's frontier gear freighter frame has a huge following in the guide community and was developed by Barney's in Anchorage.

    Once you have a pack to haul meat you will need to chop up the moose into chunks that you can carry and protect the meat. There are lots of options for game bags, knives, saws etc that are good though many of us have our favorites. Suffice it to say that as long as you have them you will probably get the job done. I have seen a moose butchered with just a leatherman though I doubt the hunter would try it again intentionally! I like Cutco double d knives for most work on moose and a Havel piranta for some finer work. I just buy thick moose bags from Sportsmans wh and they work fine. Best thing going on a saw is a makita lithium sawzall though most get along with something like a Wyoming saw and elbow grease.


    Now it's going to start raining and be miserable for the several days it will likely take you to haul out your moose so you will learn the value of quality rain gear. People spend piles of money on this stuff with the age old "light, good, cheap...... Pick any two" rule in full effect. Helly Hansen impertech has a good following for the good and cheap crowd. Kuiu Chugach has a following in the good and light crowd and Marmot Precip rounds out the mix in the cheap and light bracket. Most of the quality backpacking gear found at REI will work fine for hunting and costs less than camo alternatives. Most down south camo is junk. No cotton as a rule though your Hanes skivvies probably aren't going to get you killed. Poly is a good cheaper alternative for base layers and Merino Wool has become the benchmark material for base layers since unlike poly it tends to not stink.
    That's some good very practical advise!! Thanks LuJon! Really will help me focus on where I spend my money for sure... you think I need good binos and a good spotting scope? or could I just go w/ a good spotting scope?

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