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Thread: Question for bush teachers who hunt

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    Default Question for bush teachers who hunt

    I am considering moving to Alaska and I have a question for teachers who live and teach in the less populated areas. I am an elementary school teacher(with a single subject English credential). It has been brought to my attention that it is hard for teachers in bush Alaska to get time off from work to hunt.

    I would like to know how those of you who teach in the bush are able to make time for hunting.

    Down here in the lower 48 I have worked for districts that allow teachers 10 personal/sick days per year. My current district allows 5 personal days per school year(plus additional sick days). With hunting a short distance away this works OK for me.

    It is my understanding that it is very hard for bush teachers to get time off. I would like to know how you all manage to get out there to hunt.

    Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

    Jason Brown

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    It is hard to get time off. I usually hunted weekends only. But there are other issues. If you move to a Native community you play by their rules. I have never had an issue for a couple of reasons. I was the shop teacher and if the elders needed something fixed I always helped out. Some wanted to pay so I told them to make a donation to the school lunch program or something. Secondly I was always out doing out-of-door activities that the people in the village did. The elders are a key issue. If they like you, you are going to be fine. If not.... it will be a long year. If you can find non-native land to hint on it is better but some people consider the land they are standing on as their land. Some communities have white people issues, some don't. It is best to sit down with the longest duration teacher in the village and talk. They can usually fill you in on the ropes / rules. For instance some areas are reserved for the elders to hunt and berry pick. Easier spots that they can access. I don't mean to disillusion you it can be fun. I have been invited to go whaling, seal hinting, spring geese hunts and expended caribou hunts. I don't regret the decision to become a bush teacher.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Thanks for the information. You have confirmed what I have been told. I am able to hunt down here on short weekend hunts but it seems that that would not be a good option in areas that require a day of travel each way into the hunting areas.

    BTW, I should have been more clear; I am looking to move into one of the "simi bush" areas like Dillingham, not into a remote village.

    From what I understand hunting is very difficult for Alaskan teachers. If someone can tell me otherwise I would sure appreciate it!

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Well for one thing transportation is tough. When I lived in Nulato I took a 17' Lowe Rough Neck with a 30 h.p. Honda down the Chena River to the Tanana, to the Yukon and down to the village. That allowed me access to the Yukon and hunting off of that. When winter set in I bought a used snow machine from Alaska Mining and Diving and had it air cargoed to the Galena. Flew up there and drove it back down the frozen Yukon home.. Again, mobility. That was great! In 2000 I snow machined down the Yukon to Kaltag and over the Nulato Hills to Old Woman's Cabin to meet Charlie Boulding. Shot 2 caribou and returned. When I left the village I sold everything for more than I paid for it.

    Do not buy anything until you get to where you are going. Look at what everyone else uses and buy the same. There is a reason they own what they do. The other plus is that someone may have a part you need and has probably already broken theirs so they know how to fix yours.

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    Hi Jason. Just curious: when you say semi-bush "like Dillingham" did you select Dillingham for your example because you might have something lined up? Just wondering. I live in Dillingham (13 years) and worked for DCSD for five years as an elementary teacher. I also taught for six years in a bush village so I've seen both sides- village and regional hub.

    You'll probably have plenty of time to work through the details; that 12 months to residency often curtails folks from hunting the big stuff their first year.

    Also, every village is different I guess and perhaps times have changed. I never thought hunting around the village I was in was particularly tough. Yeah, it was mostly weekends but that just didn't seem like a big thing.

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    Jason, shoot me a PM .

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Your looking at "Hub" towns, which are still considered "villages" to some extent. Dillingham, Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, and Barrow are the common hubs. Some others are Galena, St. Mary's, Aniak, Unalakleet, and Emmonak. Generally, hub towns have direct service to Anchorage or Fairbanks. They have more people and are less expensive for goods and foods than the smaller villages.
    Most of these hub towns are similar to villages in that the only motorized way to get out of town is by boat, snow mobile, 4 wheeler, or airplane. Dillingham does have one road I think, tho it does not go too far. Nome has 3 roads that are usuable for cars/trucks.
    Before you decide where to look for work, I suggest you talk to the area bio for each hub. Hunting opportunities vary widely amongst the hubs I have listed.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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    Also, carefully check the residency requirements. If you leave the State for the summer you MAY jeopardize your residency process.....depends on how long you're absent.

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    Thanks for all the information! You guys are correct in that I am looking to move to a hub and not a village.

    Gulkana, I tried to send you a PM but I am not allowed. Maybe I have not been a member long enough?

    As far as Dillingham I mentioned it because I was recently there and I really liked the place. It has everything I need for myself and my 6 Year-old daughter.

    As far as hunting and residency I would plan to be in Alaska full time. I can't see leaving Alaska during the second best season(Summer). I would want to hunt everything from day one. I would not let the price of non-resident tags keep me from hunting for the first year.

    Thanks again, any other information would be greatly appreciated.

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    Good information above. I'm not sure how the hiring situation is now, or how it works in Dillingham, but when I was in Bethel there were more readily available teacher positions in the nearby villages. It was common for teachers to start in a smaller village and move to Bethel when an opening became available there. That was about 20 years ago so things could have changed. Good luck, and welcome to Alaska when you get here...Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    Member AK_Taxidermist's Avatar
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    If it ever looks like SW Alaska is where you're headed- or DLG specifically- give me a shout and I'll be happy to lend a hand if you need it. I have two daughters as well. I don't know what you teach but the elementary principal is a friend of mine; he and his family attend the same church I do. The HS principal is a good guy as well. There's a member on here who just moved to DLG earlier this week, coming to us from a village north of here. He and his wife will be teaching here this school year. I think we've got a pretty good thing here. Also, without knowing where you stand on faith/church, we've got a really great church (DLG Bible Fellowship). It has been growing steadily and we have been extremely blessed with a LOT of young couples with kids. Best of wishes in your searches.

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    Try my business email @ northwestalaska@yahoo.com

    Spent 9 years teaching in NW Alaska and loved it. Still run my hunting service out of Kotz, good people and great hunting/fishing.

    Walt
    www.northwestalaska.net
    Drop Camps and Float Hunts
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    907-259-4290

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    Guys, thank you for all the great information! If anyone else can provide more info it would be greatly appreciated.

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