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Thread: Alaska Hunting ??

  1. #1
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    Default Alaska Hunting ??

    I am doing some research on Alaska as possible place to live, and of course the hunting situation is most important factor of any place I move to. I have a couple questions for the some of the Alaskan residents.

    Is it realistically possible to get away from the crowds by hiking and backpacking, or is it must to have a plane or boat drop you off and pick you back up?? If so is it expensive for a plane or boat ride??

    Is there any big game hunts that can be done on a short trip? For example, after work or on the weekends, or do most hunts take a week or more??

    thanks,
    bhunter19

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    Welcome bhunter
    There are a lot of us that due to jobs & finances hunt close to home, doing everything from just morning or evening to week long hunts. A lot can be done on foot & it is possible to leave most of the crowd behind if you get away from the road corridor of about a mile or so, but when you are packing a moose a mile gets to be a long ways in the wrong country. That said a friend & I are planning a hike in moose trip this fall that will be 3 miles one way from the truck to camp.
    For most of us there is a lot of real wilderness less than a tank of gas in the truck & two hours walk away. And there are some real honey holes in those areas if you can find them (I'm still looking, & have eliminated a LOT of areas). For me on the kenai Peninsula that includes moose & black bear(2) without drawing special tags, & caribou, sheep, goats, & brown bear if you draw the right tags (some may requirs a little more hiking).
    Drop off hunts of any type are indeed expensive & getting more so as we see gas prices going up. Guys with really good jobs (especially single guys) can often afford them, but they are out of reach for me right now (that's OK, I'd rather have 3 kids & a wife waiting for me when I get home from a close to home adventure(even better on the adventure with me) than a plane ride any day).
    Vance in AK.

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  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Yes, it is totally possible to do short-term hunts on foot and leave the crowds behind. 90% of my hunts are on foot, and I rarely have to deal with other people. It'll take you time to find the little pockets of overlooked land that holds game, but that's part of the fun in the off-season. What the previous poster says about moose is true - you really don't want to pack one more than a mile - but I'll go 6-10 miles for a caribou or 15-25 for black bear, sheep, etc. If you bring someone along and limit yourself to weight or to a single animal between the two of you, then you can really get to a place where you're truly alone. Airplanes, boats, and atvs are great, but they're not necessary to have a good hunting experience up here.

    What you do need to realize, though, is that game densities are far lower here than in most hunting locales in the lower 48. Many people move here with an image of a moose on every hillside and caribou moving across the tundra like swarms of mosquitos. The reality of a northern climate, though, is that it is less productive and can support less biomass. Additionally, our animals are generally larger and have higher caloric needs. As such, the land just can't host as many animals as warmer areas, particularly those near farmland. Some hunters find themselves disappointed when they hunt for days and only see a handful of animals, and even fewer of them are legal (depending on species and regulations, of course).

    Yes, you can have an adventure of a lifetime here. Yes, you can find success with walk-in hunts in short spans of time. Just be aware that success rates may be low at first, and that you'll have to work very hard to find success at times.

    Welcome aboard!

  4. #4
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Weekend or day hunts are possible but more akin to nature hikes. I have got a couple dink swampdonkeys about every fives years with this technique.

    I do know spots that a weekend trip can have a good chance for a black bear.

    It does not take long to be a good spot where even a large brown bear will be but they have a large range and are very nocturnal so you may never see the resident big boy in only a couple days.

    I know along with most on this forum where you can get a good chance for a caribou with a bow or 5 mile hike. But from my house it is 700 miles. About four days if you only hunt one day. I have done it like that twice. The last time I was there for 7 or 8 days, much better time on a longer trip.

    It is possible to do 4 or 5 day hunts for sheep and goat but allowing more time is worth it because these are trophy animals, it not like your trying to fill the freezer with these.

    I have deer hunted here 7 times I think and only have been skunked once. Got 20 deer out of the other 6 times. This is also a for fun hunt as the deer are small. They are very tasty. Booking a trip with a couple friends is a fun trip and the least expensive way.

    ---

    I may feel bitter at times to the amount of cost and time it takes to try to harvest an animal.

    I didnt mind so much when I was just trying to take myself. But my kids will be old enough to hunt soon and I feel the chance of me getting them on game is nearly nil. My mobility is limited due to a back injury so I am looking for easier hunts myself.

    I did take them several times moose hunting but like I said it is more like a nature hike with practice at walking quietly. They do get excited at seeing a moose but so do I still. I just wish there was more than just seeing non-legal animals.

    --

    For someone with tons of money and time this state would be about the greatest.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    Welcome bhunter19,

    I had the same quandary you are now facing when I was debating moving up here from North Dakota 11 years ago. I do not regret my decision to move up here at all as Alaska has been good to me, but I definitely get fewer hunting days in than I used to in Nodak.

    I used to hunt over 100 days a year in Nodak but I only manage about 20-30 days a year up here. My experience has been that by far the best hunting opportunities up here involve plane or boat trips, or very long (5 miles plus) hikes. Not much good can be accomplished in a weekend or evening except enjoying being outside. All my trips these days are 10 to 15 day fly in trips and they are awesome trips. I have done very well over the years. Costs have gone up substantially though. I used to be able to fly in to hunt the Western Arctic caribou herd for about $750/person. Now that same flight is closer to $2,000/person. Still, there is no place like Alaska and if you love to hunt and fish and be outside I would recommend you come on up. You will not be sorry.

  6. #6

    Default Time and Money

    Time, Money?

    Your question depends on a few factors.

    1. Where in Alaska do you want to live? Here in Fairbanks there is still snow on the ground and it is April. Look at the average temperatures for the winter here. You may be completely hard core, but I don't know how much fun it is to backpack at 20, 30 or 40 below 0.

    2. Money is a factor. In my opinion to really take advantage of the hunting here you have to spend big money. Just to get to places to backpack or hike is expensive for gas.

    Example... on a recent Caribou hunt I walked in and was not sucessful. Only people that had snowmachines were. The herd was many miles from the road. Therefore to be sucessful you had to have a snowmachine, a vehicle large enough for it to fit in the back, if not, add a trailer, a hitch for the truck, a wiring harness to be legal....you can probably get the drift.....is this the case all the time?...no, but ask some of the guys that have walked in 5 miles off the Haul Road for a Caribou if it is very fun.

    3. In most cases hunting here is more like a expedition. To hunt here safely, you have to have a good plan/ equipment ($). You can just jump in the truck and move out, but some of the areas here are remote, and if you are injured or have not planned for emergencies, there is a good possibility that you might die.

    I think you need to ask yourself what you want.

    For easy, little planning hunting, in my opinion, Alaska is not the place

    In North Carolina and Georgia, I could jump in the truck after church and hunt for a few hours. I guess it can be done here also, but I don't know how sucessful you would be.

    Good luck

    Snowman.
    Last edited by snowman48; 04-26-2008 at 20:05. Reason: grammar correction

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    Ill second that...hunting aint what it used to be.More restrictions, plenty of people and access is limited.But for fishing ,,Alaska is the place to be.

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    Default BHunter19

    That's a good question you posted. Alaska is such a large place, but most of us live in Southcentral. Hunting from Anchorage takes planning and now gas prices are going to make it harder to scout and chartered flights are out of the question for me.

    When I lived in Southeast, it was much easier to go hunting, but the weather was much more of a factor. Being on the water provided the convenient freedom to jump in the skiff and go hunting.

    The inland NW states like Idaho and Montana provide much easier and casual hunting opportunities.

  9. #9
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    Default Consider A boat

    Ok, I have been hunting here for years since leaving the Army Active side.

    Things to note about Hunting in Alaska.
    One Take a hunter Ed class to get a leg up on understanding the Regulations here and to get a clue about the local hunts.
    (This is to say the reulations are still complicated, you almost need a Law degree to read them and an additional one to ensure you are in a legal area.)

    Ok once that is done know that if you can get to that remote location in Alaska, so can everyone else. Therefore people are often resistant to tell people where they hunt. They might spend years to locate a good site and telling just one wrong person can mean the next year you go there the place has been invaded.

    ATV or a Boat is a good way to get back to a more remote location as is a Fly in hunt. The cost is what you are willing to pay. Also how rough you can handle.

    The reason game is scarce is a horrable one. Political pressure from morons that live in big cities in teh lower 48 cause our Department of fish and game to not go after the predators. Too many Predators means much less game.

    Our Current head of Fish and game is a great guy but is too interested in Comercial Fishing and not focused on the biger issues like sport fishing and hunting. He was appointed by our Governor who has too many ties to the comercial fishing jack booted thugs. (sorry but they act that way.)

  10. #10
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    Default Times have changed

    Quote Originally Posted by Coaldust View Post
    The inland NW states like Idaho and Montana provide much easier and casual hunting opportunities.
    Not so much anymore. I moved up here in 2006 as Montana was getting to be a pain in the Arse to hunt. People buying up the land and posting it, Applying for years for Moose,Sheep,Goat without being drawn.
    You got the money you can get back in with an outfitter, but the days of easy hunting in Montana are getting less and less every year.
    At least here I can fill up the truck and take off for an hour or so and walk the same to get into a moose and not have to wait a life time for a tag.
    Fish IT! Hunt IT! or *#%@ IT!

  11. #11
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Yes but after walking for a few years in a row and not seeing a legal moose I think being able to easily get into deer would be nice.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    There are other places to live in Ak. than Anch/Fbks.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  13. #13

    Talking

    I spent $50 for gas on my caribou hunt this year. So it`s realy where you live in AK. And I can go after work hunting ptarmigans and etc.Or fishing.

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    There are other places to live in Ak. than Anch/Fbks.

    For some people that would be a good way to greatly improve the closer to home hunting.

    A couple of my friends are teachers and had a good time when they first began teaching. Thier first couple years of teaching were in bush villages and they found a lot of game. They now teach in the valley and have cabins,four wheelers, boats and still do good. With their teaching careers they do one or two big hunts a year.

    My wife is not onto the bush living idea. Although I have found a house or two at good prices in Dillingham.HaHa. We have four kids and I dont see how moving to the bush would be possible. What kind of work is available? All the job listings I have found in the bush are native preference. It doesnt matter anyway, I just asked my wife what she thought about living in the bush and got a hostile response. I get the same response when I ask about moving to Anchorage to get out of the commute.HaHa.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  15. #15
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    Default Opportunities are there

    First and foremost, Alaska is BIG. So hunting varies a lot depending where you choose to live. I live in Willow. Shot a moose and black bear last year, with zero flight, boat or ATV time, and lots of bunnies and grouse. I just set out my second black bear bait, and should be able to shoot another bear soon.

    The big issue around here is threefold: Access to state land, more and more private property, and so many homes, trails and parks that finding areas legal to hunt and or bear bait.

    The animals you can hunt in Alaska are great- black and grizzly bear, moose, sheep, goats, caribou, Sitka blacktail deer, but typically success rates are lower than deer hunting in many lower 48 states, and logistics of hunting can be daunting. I miss hunting deer at my parents' place in Michigan; logging roads and 4 month long season made life pretty easy. However, one bear bait station is a 40 minute walk from my front door now, and the other is 45 minutes from work. Can't beat that!

  16. #16
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    I'd like to tell you about an encounter with a new neighbor I had years ago. He'd just moved to Southcentral (Wasilla) from Wisconsin and of course was completely jazzed about the hunting opportunities of Alaska, telling me about plans to hunt moose/bear/caribou/etc. I didn't want to throw a wet blanket on his enthusiasm, but I tried to temper his expectations with some hard realities. Alaska is HUGE, beyond all experience of anyone from the lower 48, and access is terribly minimal.(Alaska has like 9 highways, providing access to a mere fraction of the state.) Getting to "the wilderness" (outside the road and rail corridors) where one can expect hunting success is going to take time, money, and some research/planning. This is not a fertile land, and it's not easy to get to.
    Sure, I can start moose hunting as soon as I leave my house, but my odds of success are as follows: Fish and Game biologists have surveyed one legal moose per 20 square miles. There's plenty of opportunity, but that's not to say you'll have plenty of success.
    Like the other guys said, where do you want to live? Kodiak is a sportsman's paradise; Southeast has ready access to all kinds of big fun; Fairbanks (or bush villages) puts you right next to "Real Alaska". But how are you going to make a living? My family is in Southcentral as a compromise - not horrendously cold like farther north, access to Anchorage and good paying jobs, pretty good fishing (fresh water), and hunting opportunities within easy reach. My heart is in the mountains, however, like my Afognak elk hunt last fall (about $900 for the plane rides, and two weeks off work). Obviously it's not something that's going to be quick and easy.
    I sure wouldn't want to live anywhere else, though. God lives here.
    Good luck, and I wish you all the best.

  17. #17
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Who did you use for the Afognak trip? Elk are my favorite animal but I have not hunted them here.

    I have shot 5 moose, 2 sheep, 2 caribou, 1 black bear and 20 deer up here. None of my trips have ever been bank busters but some do require a bit of planning. The deer hunting is starting to get out of reach because I would like to start taking more than just myself.

    I have also met one lucky individual who in 14 years has shot most of what Alaska has to offer. He also plans a couple big hunts per year and has done well. He has shot everything but goat I believe and that was what he was going after two years ago when I met him. good luck with the draws can affect ones perception of how good the hunting is up here also.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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