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Thread: New to Hunting-- Where to Start?

  1. #21

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    @akrstabout, tyrex13- PMing you, thanks much for the offers!

    @Brian M- what would gun you recommend in a situation like that? 20ga/.22 coupled with an extra rifle packed in?

    Thanks again for everyone offering up advice. Lots to learn ahead of me, and I feel like I have a much better idea of what I should be doing to learn it.

  2. #22
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    [QUOTE=mtb_tom;1666207]

    @Brian M- what would gun you recommend in a situation like that? 20ga/.22 coupled with an extra rifle packed in?

    [\QUOTE]

    Yep, those would work. I usually use a .410 or 20ga for ptarmigan, but a .22 is perfect as well if taking them on the ground. Take a look at the trails in the Kenai Mountains that get you into the alpine. Good ptarmigan and black bear hunting in September.

  3. #23

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    Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_tom View Post
    Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.
    Iíve got a nice 30-06 Iím getting ready to sell. Shameless plug there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_tom View Post
    Excellent! Sounds like a 20ga and a .30-06 are in my near future.
    If I could only own two guns in Alaska, those would probably be the two. Maaaybe a 12 gauge instead, but I don't do much duck hunting, so a 20 gauge fits my pursuits better.

    As fall approaches, if you want to chat hunting plans and/or drawing permits over a beer or a coffee, I'm always game.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_tom View Post
    I'm fairly new to Alaska, and have decided since the move to pursue something that's been interesting me for several years, learning to hunt. I'm interested in a variety of game, but what catches my attention most has been sheep, goats, and brown bear. Growing up in southern California, I haven't had much exposure to hunting directly, but have started to learn a little. I'm retaking a hunters ed course (after having completed it as a kid and doing nothing beyond that), and starting to read through the regs and information about various species, but beyond that I'm a bit lost on where to go next.

    I'd like to be preparing for a hunt in the 2020 season (assuming this September is too close to hunt effectively), and so far the items I have on my list are:

    1. Choose where and what to hunt, and apply for any draw tags in November (if applicable).
    2. Find a partner willing to join if possible.
    3. Start to plan my access (limited to the road network, canoes, and my own feet).
    4. Get out to the areas I'm interested in, hopefully before the end of this summer, to scout them out and find where game are located.
    5. Start to get my gear ready and tested well in advance.

    What am I missing? I feel like I'm at the stage where I don't know what I don't know, and my network of other hunters is fairly small. If anyone can help point me in the right direction I'd definitely appreciate it! I'm also willing to throw in for gas if anyone wants a hand scouting or carrying meat out this fall and is willing to let me tag along.

    Interesting. I am mentoring a Californian neophyte also. Where do we start? Here are some thoughts:
    1. Finding synchronicity with a hunting partner is as hard as finding a "good wife." You will date many before you find the right one. Sometimes never.
    2. You have to self-asses. Are you a maniacal go for broke type of hunter or more of a laid back guy who enjoys the social aspects more than the actual hunting? Many so-called hunters view hunting as an opportunity to get away from the wife and drink beer and play cards with their buddies by the RV. Some are afraid of the dark and only venture out with strong daylight. Some are scary stupid and careless with firearms. Some have no sense of direction. Some are lazy and just road hunt....etc. Make sure you start out with someone who will not make your first outings a negative experience. Choose carefully!
    3. Spend time with an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist! Most are helpful and provide good current information regarding game density and harvest numbers.
    4. Get a good GPS. Learn to read MAPS. Have back up compass skills. (Later, you will be renting satellite phones).
    5. Drive around the OBVIOUS places where the MOBS go during hunting season and STAY AWAY from them!
    6. In Alaska, unless you bowhunt or your friend/partner owns a SuperCub on floats/wheels, you will likely need a 4 wheeler or some type of boat. Alaska is HUGE and game density is very, very low. Meaning, you usually have to cover a LOT of ground to get into good game country.
    7. If you want to really HUNT, get a BOW! Bow permits are easier to draw and access to good game areas is a lot cheaper/easier.
    8. Hunt spruce grouse, rabbits and ptarmigan to start. Later, move on to the easier caribou hunts (the mobs show up!). Hunt moose with a bow but be aware moose calls can and do bring in bears.
    9. If you are a firearms hunter. Buy a "transition" gun that will be easy to re-sell once you outgrow it. Stay away from antique/quaint rifles and calibers, they are hard to re-sell and ammo is very hard to get.
    10. Skip the brown bear hunting until you know what you are doing.
    11. Get in TERRIFIC shape for sheep and goat hunting.
    12. Buy VALUE glass. Don't believe "you get what you pay for." A lot of the premium brand name optics are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced.
    13. Check auctions, moving sales, etc. when looking for hunting equipment. You'd be amazed what one can find. You don't have to buy retail for all.
    14. There are many other things involved. Keep reading this site. There are some here who actually "walk the walk".....

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Iíve got a nice 30-06 Iím getting ready to sell. Shameless plug there.
    Finding a left handed rifle will be the key for me...I've shot right handers most my life, but if I'm going to get a nice setup I want it to match my handedness. If that's the case with yours though, shoot me a PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coldfoot View Post
    Interesting. I am mentoring a Californian neophyte also. Where do we start? Here are some thoughts:
    1. Finding synchronicity with a hunting partner is as hard as finding a "good wife." You will date many before you find the right one. Sometimes never.
    2. You have to self-asses. Are you a maniacal go for broke type of hunter or more of a laid back guy who enjoys the social aspects more than the actual hunting? Many so-called hunters view hunting as an opportunity to get away from the wife and drink beer and play cards with their buddies by the RV. Some are afraid of the dark and only venture out with strong daylight. Some are scary stupid and careless with firearms. Some have no sense of direction. Some are lazy and just road hunt....etc. Make sure you start out with someone who will not make your first outings a negative experience. Choose carefully!
    3. Spend time with an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist! Most are helpful and provide good current information regarding game density and harvest numbers.
    4. Get a good GPS. Learn to read MAPS. Have back up compass skills. (Later, you will be renting satellite phones).
    5. Drive around the OBVIOUS places where the MOBS go during hunting season and STAY AWAY from them!
    6. In Alaska, unless you bowhunt or your friend/partner owns a SuperCub on floats/wheels, you will likely need a 4 wheeler or some type of boat. Alaska is HUGE and game density is very, very low. Meaning, you usually have to cover a LOT of ground to get into good game country.
    7. If you want to really HUNT, get a BOW! Bow permits are easier to draw and access to good game areas is a lot cheaper/easier.
    8. Hunt spruce grouse, rabbits and ptarmigan to start. Later, move on to the easier caribou hunts (the mobs show up!). Hunt moose with a bow but be aware moose calls can and do bring in bears.
    9. If you are a firearms hunter. Buy a "transition" gun that will be easy to re-sell once you outgrow it. Stay away from antique/quaint rifles and calibers, they are hard to re-sell and ammo is very hard to get.
    10. Skip the brown bear hunting until you know what you are doing.
    11. Get in TERRIFIC shape for sheep and goat hunting.
    12. Buy VALUE glass. Don't believe "you get what you pay for." A lot of the premium brand name optics are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced.
    13. Check auctions, moving sales, etc. when looking for hunting equipment. You'd be amazed what one can find. You don't have to buy retail for all.
    14. There are many other things involved. Keep reading this site. There are some here who actually "walk the walk".....
    Lots to take in there, thanks for posting.

    1/2: I think I have an idea of what my style will be, but feel like I will start to get a better idea for what I like/dislike as I get into things. I see myself as around a 6-8 out of 10 on a scale of drinking at the RV (1) to hardcore trophy chaser (10). One of the things I'm hoping to do is incorporate other interests of mine into hunts, like canoeing, sailing, and eventually flying.
    3. What is the best way to do this? I found the list of biologists assigned to each region and subregion, aside from calling them up with questions are there publications, reports, etc that I should be looking for?
    4. I prefer my paper maps to GPS. I've been looking into a watch style GPS (for both outdoor activities and athletic training), would this be sufficient paired with a good map/compass background?
    5. Noted.
    6. Getting my pilot's license and moving towards having a Supercub/180 is high on my list within the next year or two, though I recognize that it will be a long time before I'm capable of flying the tight gravel bars and ridgelines. Are off road, but still improved airstrips typically out of the way enough to have good hunting nearby? Or should I be expecting to need other means of transport until I can really fly into tight spaces?
    7. Had a bow as a kid and loved it. It's on my list for sure, especially as we have a range here at the mining camp, but I know it will be next season at the earliest before I have relearned the skills to take an ethical shot.
    8. Expect to be chasing grouse and ptarmigan within a week or two!
    9. As noted above, left handedness tends to limit my options. My favorites so far as the Tikka T3x Lite Stainless and Savage 110 Storm, in .30-06, both available in southpaw form with stainless barrels and actions. Would these fit the bill as to what you're describing?
    10. Noted.
    11. Already very active in terms of running, cycling, and lifting weights, I'll be adding some weighted pack carrys soon to improve my pack carrying capabilities up mountainsides.
    12. So far I've heard Vortex and Redfield listed as good value glass options. I love my Virtex binos, any others you would suggest I check out?
    13. Always looking at craigslist and Alaskas list. Found some promising leads, but nothing to follow through on- yet.
    14. I'll be here plenty over the coming months and years, I have no doubt! Thanks again for the advice.

    If I could only own two guns in Alaska, those would probably be the two. Maaaybe a 12 gauge instead, but I don't do much duck hunting, so a 20 gauge fits my pursuits better.

    As fall approaches, if you want to chat hunting plans and/or drawing permits over a beer or a coffee, I'm always game.


    I'll have to take you up on that! I'll PM you and we can connect.

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    I don't think any grouse or ptarmigan seasons open until after Aug 10th, except in SE. Better add a copy of the regulations to your list!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_tom View Post
    Finding a left handed rifle will be the key for me...I've shot right handers most my life, but if I'm going to get a nice setup I want it to match my handedness. If that's the case with yours though, shoot me a PM.



    Lots to take in there, thanks for posting.

    1/2: I think I have an idea of what my style will be, but feel like I will start to get a better idea for what I like/dislike as I get into things. I see myself as around a 6-8 out of 10 on a scale of drinking at the RV (1) to hardcore trophy chaser (10). One of the things I'm hoping to do is incorporate other interests of mine into hunts, like canoeing, sailing, and eventually flying.
    3. What is the best way to do this? I found the list of biologists assigned to each region and subregion, aside from calling them up with questions are there publications, reports, etc that I should be looking for?
    4. I prefer my paper maps to GPS. I've been looking into a watch style GPS (for both outdoor activities and athletic training), would this be sufficient paired with a good map/compass background?
    5. Noted.
    6. Getting my pilot's license and moving towards having a Supercub/180 is high on my list within the next year or two, though I recognize that it will be a long time before I'm capable of flying the tight gravel bars and ridgelines. Are off road, but still improved airstrips typically out of the way enough to have good hunting nearby? Or should I be expecting to need other means of transport until I can really fly into tight spaces?
    7. Had a bow as a kid and loved it. It's on my list for sure, especially as we have a range here at the mining camp, but I know it will be next season at the earliest before I have relearned the skills to take an ethical shot.
    8. Expect to be chasing grouse and ptarmigan within a week or two!
    9. As noted above, left handedness tends to limit my options. My favorites so far as the Tikka T3x Lite Stainless and Savage 110 Storm, in .30-06, both available in southpaw form with stainless barrels and actions. Would these fit the bill as to what you're describing?
    10. Noted.
    11. Already very active in terms of running, cycling, and lifting weights, I'll be adding some weighted pack carrys soon to improve my pack carrying capabilities up mountainsides.
    12. So far I've heard Vortex and Redfield listed as good value glass options. I love my Virtex binos, any others you would suggest I check out?
    13. Always looking at craigslist and Alaskas list. Found some promising leads, but nothing to follow through on- yet.
    14. I'll be here plenty over the coming months and years, I have no doubt! Thanks again for the advice.



    [/COLOR]I'll have to take you up on that! I'll PM you and we can connect.


    In response to your response:
    1. Canoeing/Kayaking is fine but rafting is better for heavier loads and long trips.
    3. Never call a biologist. Show up to the office and ask if he/she is available. Many will make time to meet with you. And, they will know you are not the average guy.
    4. I am old school. I use topo maps and compass. But, GPS readings are essential for determining boundaries.
    6. If you have a Supercub/180. Hunting in Alaska becomes much, much, much, much easier!
    7. Bowhunting is a lot of fun and is mostly spot and stalk in Alaska. Of course, moose and black bear bowhunting is often stand hunting.
    9. Most guys like Tikka. I like Bergara. But, Bergara has only one left handed model this year.
    11. Sheep hunting is BRUTAL if one is walking from main roads. Crossing streams/rivers is obligatory and VERY DANGEROUS.
    12. Vortex is "smoke and mirrors." Only their Japanese Razor products are decent.
    13. Check Facebook more than craiglist for hunting equipment. No guns or ammo of course.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnMike View Post
    I don't think any grouse or ptarmigan seasons open until after Aug 10th, except in SE. Better add a copy of the regulations to your list!
    Oops, meant to type month, not week- tentatively scheduled to be off the last two weeks in August, and again in Sept. Good catch.

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    I donít have a left handed set up, but I do have a friend with a ruger scout 308 that is left handed. If your interested send me a Pm.

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    Consider a Remington model 760 pump for a lefty. My dad had one and I got so used to it along with the Winchester model 62 pump .22 that when it came time for me to buy a serious hunting rifle I bought a 760 in .270. I have likely taken 100 deer, a couple dozen elk, same for black bear, several moose, a ton of caribou, a dall sheep, and who knows what else with that rifle.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  13. #33

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    Hadn't considered pumps at all until now, but I don't see any reason I couldn't I'll check that out.

  14. #34
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    This is one of those threads that comes along once in a great while, and I think it's great! Thanks for putting yourself out there; if you don't ask, you'll never know! There's already a lot of great info here, so I will just add / reinforce a couple of things.

    Generally speaking, there are three things that make a good hunter.

    ATTITUDE

    The best hunters I know are conservationists, love wild places and wild things, respect other people, and have strong personal beliefs that govern what they will and will not do in the field. It's not easy to learn such things from books and videos, but you can pick it up from a good mentor. You'll do well to find someone willing to take you under their wing. Especially if you are teachable and humble. This path you are starting out on can take you to many exciting places, and the things you experience there will be that much richer if you have the right attitude.

    INFORMATION

    Good hunters are constant learners. This includes things they learn from reading and study, and things they learn from other hunters. You find out pretty quickly that most all of us are still learning, though there are a few out there who know quite a bit. This site can help you along the way, with our many pages on hunting, hunt planning, species, gear, and more. Click the "Home" button at the top of this page and you'll end up on the main site, where you can see the full site navigation absent in our forums. That will take you to tons of information about hunting in Alaska.

    If you want to really drill down into a study of the big-game species in Alaska, it would be hard to beat "Wild Mammals of North America". It's pretty much a college textbook / encyclopedia of details on the life history, biology, habitats, and behavior of North American Big Game. It's not cheap, but you will learn things that would take years to learn, if you did at all. Of the hundreds of outdoor books I had on my shelf, this was one I would never want to part with. Not many hunters have a copy, but they would do well to consider it.

    EXPERIENCE

    Experience is a great teacher, but only if you are a good learner. I know guys with tons of experience, but some of them keep making the same mistakes over and over, not realizing that there are better ways of doing things. They'll never know, because they're no longer teachable. Experience is most valuable if you are really willing to learn. I just launched our brand-new "Alaska Outdoors University" series here last night, and the byline on the home page reads, "Experience is the best teacher. But what if you've been doing it wrong the whole time?" Experiences shared with a really solid mentor are money in the bank. Not because you learn all his hotspots, but because he can teach you how everything you do on a hunt is interconnected not only with what happens in the field, but with your whole life. Hunting is not just an activity some of us do; it's a lifestyle. A mentality you take with you everywhere.

    There are other things, but if you can work on these, you will be well on your way.

    I wish you all the best in your pursuit, friend! You are on an exciting journey.
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself or guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Addresses
    http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    https://akoutdoorsuniversity.com
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    This is one of those threads that comes along once in a great while, and I think it's great! Thanks for putting yourself out there; if you don't ask, you'll never know! There's already a lot of great info here, so I will just add / reinforce a couple of things.

    Generally speaking, there are three things that make a good hunter.

    ATTITUDE

    The best hunters I know are conservationists, love wild places and wild things, respect other people, and have strong personal beliefs that govern what they will and will not do in the field. It's not easy to learn such things from books and videos, but you can pick it up from a good mentor. You'll do well to find someone willing to take you under their wing. Especially if you are teachable and humble. This path you are starting out on can take you to many exciting places, and the things you experience there will be that much richer if you have the right attitude.

    INFORMATION

    Good hunters are constant learners. This includes things they learn from reading and study, and things they learn from other hunters. You find out pretty quickly that most all of us are still learning, though there are a few out there who know quite a bit. This site can help you along the way, with our many pages on hunting, hunt planning, species, gear, and more. Click the "Home" button at the top of this page and you'll end up on the main site, where you can see the full site navigation absent in our forums. That will take you to tons of information about hunting in Alaska.

    If you want to really drill down into a study of the big-game species in Alaska, it would be hard to beat "Wild Mammals of North America". It's pretty much a college textbook / encyclopedia of details on the life history, biology, habitats, and behavior of North American Big Game. It's not cheap, but you will learn things that would take years to learn, if you did at all. Of the hundreds of outdoor books I had on my shelf, this was one I would never want to part with. Not many hunters have a copy, but they would do well to consider it.

    EXPERIENCE

    Experience is a great teacher, but only if you are a good learner. I know guys with tons of experience, but some of them keep making the same mistakes over and over, not realizing that there are better ways of doing things. They'll never know, because they're no longer teachable. Experience is most valuable if you are really willing to learn. I just launched our brand-new "Alaska Outdoors University" series here last night, and the byline on the home page reads, "Experience is the best teacher. But what if you've been doing it wrong the whole time?" Experiences shared with a really solid mentor are money in the bank. Not because you learn all his hotspots, but because he can teach you how everything you do on a hunt is interconnected not only with what happens in the field, but with your whole life. Hunting is not just an activity some of us do; it's a lifestyle. A mentality you take with you everywhere.

    There are other things, but if you can work on these, you will be well on your way.

    I wish you all the best in your pursuit, friend! You are on an exciting journey.
    This is great advice. Also go to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) website. For example, here is some excellent advice on choosing firearms on the ADF&G website. Be especially skeptical of taking advice from anyone or any organization that stands to profit from it.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...nting.firearms

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotllama View Post
    This is great advice. Also go to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) website. For example, here is some excellent advice on choosing firearms on the ADF&G website. Be especially skeptical of taking advice from anyone or any organization that stands to profit from it.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...nting.firearms
    ADFG has a lot of great resources. Interesting side note on that; David Johnson, the original founder and builder of this site, finished up his ADFG career in a job that had him writing much of the material the Department used to educate hunters "back in the day". That was the foundation of our site, and we have gone much more in-depth in our educational material than we were back in the 1990's, as has the Department. I suppose we all get better at what we do, over time.

    Don't know if you saw it, but in the wee hours last night, I launched the newest component of our site, the Alaska Outdoors University (AOU). I've been working on the content for that area for the last four years! I'll say no more about it here, but this is just the first installment.

    The intent of this system is to plug qualified mentors with learners who want to experience safer, more enjoyable, more productive pursuits in the Alaska outdoors. It is a fee-based system for several reasons. First, we need to pay for content developers. Second, It's been my experience that while we are accustomed to free content online, people who have a personal investment tend to pay better attention and are more committed. We want people who are serious about this stuff.

    I hope you'll consider taking a peek at the AOU part of the site; I'm launching it with 30 hours of video hunt planning material, which takes you through all the steps in the hunt planning process, all the way down to the roots. You will not find more detailed, accurate information on Alaska hunt planning anywhere.

    I kept the price low in order to make it reachable for most folks. If you follow the steps outlined in the series, you will more than make up for the cost of admission in savings on future hunts. Better education = better decisions in the planning process = less failed hunts.

    Check out the Intro video below, and you can sign up AT THIS LINK, or by clicking "Membership", "Join" or "Upgrade" links in the menu at the top of this page.

    Check it out!

    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself or guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Addresses
    http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    https://akoutdoorsuniversity.com
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_tom View Post
    Thanks Greg, Yukon Cornelius, Dave. I've got both a 12ga and a 22LR, but neither have made the trip up from the lower 48 so that puts them out of reach.
    The US Postal Service can get long arms up here for you with no paperwork. You mail them to yourself. They have pretty clear instructions on-line.

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