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Thread: A realistic view needed...

  1. #1
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    Default A realistic view needed...

    I currently live and hunt Alabama. My wife and I will be moving up in 1 year 11 months if our schedule holds. We STRONGLY supplement our diet with game both large and small. We will do the same when we come up. I understand good and bad days, but what do you guys consider a good season?
    Here If we get 20 to 30 pounds of meat to can or freeze from small game we had a banner season. Two deer cleaned (and boned) out at around 75 to 100 pounds net meat each and a wild boar. This is like winning the lottery! Meat for the whole year.
    I know that Alaska ain't Alabama but I can't seem to find alot of information about the actual REALISTIC average game harvest. I also know what subsistence hunting involves. In other words I have no romantic illusions about living totally off the land.
    I am an accomplished stalk hunter and rarely need to take a shot over 100 yards even on our super skittish game here. It would be really helpful if you guys could give me some idea of an average game harvest where time is not an issue. I will be hunting pretty much full time. So long stalks are no issue. I am trying to find property 50 to 80 miles north of Fairbanks in the hills there. Any advise would be very helpful.
    Thank you all in advance.
    Mark

  2. #2
    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    Here If we get 20 to 30 pounds of meat to can or freeze from small game we had a banner season. Two deer cleaned (and boned) out at around 75 to 100 pounds net meat each and a wild boar. This is like winning the lottery! Meat for the whole year.
    If you get excited about that much meat in the freezer, I'd hate to see what you will do "if" you get a good moose down. 600lbs of boned out meat!

    Add a caribou in as well as a few bunnies/grouse/fish and you'll be living like a king!

    And that typed above is not all that uncommon.

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    This is also why we Alaskans fight to saty trim and slim. It takes money to secure the moose, caribou, sheep, bear, halibut , salmon, crab, shrimp, and small game, but I have found over the years, that by making quality friends with high ethical hunting/fishing standards, the price per pound is 90+% of the time dramatically lower than retail and there is the satisfaction of having privided food for my family. Keep reading this forum, and start taking notes. There is a TON of good information.

  4. #4

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    Realistically, you should not expect to buy much more than a Thanksgiving Turkey and some spam once in a while, if you like pork. A moose and a couple of caribou go a long way and small game are a good way to do some special meals for holidays or wedding and such.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If you begin the year with a bait stand and harvest a couple black bear you can start filling the freezer in May. Then once you are a resident there is TONS of subsistence fishing to do. I go set-net with a buddy realistically every other year and can put 60+ red salmon in the freezer which is in the range of 200lbs of fish. Then we will also go out on a halibut charter on the opposite year and can put another 100lbs + away easily. We got a cow moose permit this year and put 300lbs of meat up from that taking a bull could easily double that! Depending on how much time I spend out I could put a great deal of small game away as well. If we actually took one or two weekends a year and focused on hunting Ptarmigan we could put away 40+ breasts. Same thing with grouse. Rabbit (hare) also depend a great deal on where they are in the cycle. If I lived in the Delta Junction area right now I could hunt 1 day a week and have way more bunnies than I would ever want to eat!! You can look at a list of ADF&G average weights for game animals HERE.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Hard to say

    Well, there are a lot of holes to fill in here... are you talking about "living off the land"? Or just supplementing your diet with game? Most of us supply at grocery stores the same as you, but if you hunt as much as your post indicates, you should have no problem stocking the meat larder with wild fish and game. Based upon the amount of meat you have been using my first reaction is that a moose is probably too much meat for you to use. No worries; it's common to share meat with friends and such. You will make plenty of friends and should have no problems in this area. In the country of which you speak the main species of interest are moose and caribou. Of course everything is available if you're willing to spend the money for fly-out hunts.

    Much of our land is inaccessible, and we're seeing more access issues on native land. So you'll need to verify who the land managers are and obtain permission. On the other hand, most private land here is large tracts of land, rather than the small farm plots and pastures you may be accustomed to.

    Hope it helps.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    My wife and I will be moving up in 1 year 11 months if our schedule holds.
    Your success will depend on WHERE you are moving up to. Urban, rural, on the road system, etc. Your success willl also probably depend on making friends to hunt with and learning about decent hunting spots. Some places you will be lucky to get a moose or a black bear. Other spots will give you a variety of hunting opportunities.
    I'm going to differ with the other posters tho.............a real assessment of the cost of hunted meat will put it very close to the cost of just buying it at the store.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Like the rest have said lots of meat and fish but not many places have it all and travel could be needed.If you live near sheep you will have to drive a few mile to get to the deer.Don't believe a man can starve in Alaska if he is welling to get out and hunt and fish.I will say my first winter in Alaska I got real tired of salmon three meals a day but I ate.

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    Hunting in Alaska isn't even a tiny bit like Alabama. The terrain is different, and much more difficult, and the game isn't as plentiful. Access, is the most important consideration.

    The truth is, from a purely economical standpoint, you'll probably spend so much money, getting game, it would be cheaper to buy meat.

    The hunter success rate for different species, isn't that encouraging either.

    Salmon fishing, especially if it's a family operation is an easier way to supplement your food bill.

    I'd suggest you go to the ADF&G Website, and check out some of their publications. That should give you a vague idea of things.

    What is "REALISTIC" depends on many things. You seem to know that already, since you're smart enough to ask.

    Good Luck to ya.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Default Thank you all

    I really thank you all for the replies. Every bit of information helps.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    I really thank you all for the replies. Every bit of information helps.
    We provide something over 90% of our meat needs with fish and game. We also provide a fair portion of our vegetable needs from a well tended garden.

    But just as it can take a few years to bring a garden to its full potential, it can take a few years to get your act together on the fishing and hunting- everything from finding the opportunities to finding the time and gear to do it.

    Don't overlook the opportunity for swaps, too. Visiting friends will bring stuff from their region and head home with stuff from your place. You can add a bunch of variety to your diet simply by building a network of friends around the state. But friendships take as much time and tending to develop as gardens.

  12. #12

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    Being from Louisiana, I hunt or have hunted Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama for whitetails; Louisiana and Mississippi for ducks; and, Louisiana for other small game.

    Having hunted in Alaska twice ('05 for Dall sheep & '06 for moose), FWIW I can tell you that hunting in the Lower 48 is quite a difference than hunting in Alaska.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  13. #13
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Costs

    I won't delve into the costs of my game meat in Alaska since I'm a non-resident. However, I read most of the posts and hear very well when Alaskans write about spending several days holed up in a boat waiting for the weather to clear and then not getting to hunt at all. I suspect that the cost of game meat (including lost wages & time) is really quite high.

    From your post, it sounds like you might be retired. If so, you are welcome to use the same guidelines I do. I spend money because I love to hunt - regardless of the outcome. That way, the meat is free.

    If you want cheap meat (even inAlaska) I suggest you figure out how much time you spend hunting and then work that many hours at a minimum wage job. Then buy your meat at a discount store.

    And, yes, I remember that this issue was discussed in a previous thread so I know some people will disagree with me. Just my 2 cents worth.

  14. #14
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default newbie

    I moved here last may to Anchorage. Only on one trip did I even come close to "catching" as much food as I could have bought in a store for much less than just the gas money I spent on the trip. That was a silver fishing trip to valdez that i spent 200$ on fuel on. I brought back 12 silvers that I would guess at 60 pounds of meat at 7.99 per pound.

    ALL of my other trips I could have bought more meat than I harvested on the fuel costs alone - and that did not include my small game and fishing license costs. A moose hunt will cost you about 400$ just for the license. I think that black bear is 250$, small game is 25$ and to shoot a wolf you have to buy the 80$ license. Ducks - well yo almost need a plane up by fairbanks to get to minto - and then you have the 5$ state and 15$ fed and the small game license plus fuel.....cheaper to buy chicken in the store...and much better odds of success.

    My wife went on a moose hunt (she was just there to help pack and camp) and the hunters ended up with a moose so we have some in the freezer. She threw in a couple hundred dollars for fuel and food for the 9 day trip and we have moose summer sausage, polish brats, cheese jalepeno brats, breakfast sausage, moose roast, burger, and steaks in the freezer - but we still enjoy a fatty ribeye on occasion. We also got some ducks and grouse - but no ptarmigan - and we hunted them two trips.

    My uncle and his wife, me and my wife went on a halibut overnight charter out of homer. Total we spent about 1400$ + vaccum bags - and brought back about 90 pounds of fillet....a little more cost than if we had went to new sagaya - but we got to go fishing!

    I went ice fishing yesterday. Took 1/2 tank of fuel at 2.99- about 13gallons and some more for the snow machines. A friend let me use his sno-go, I brought some bait. One bite -no fish. I could have bought a small bucket full of fish for the 50$ in fuel I spent.

    The non-res prices here are very reasonable IMO - try buying a moose tag in Wyoming or Colorado - if you can even get one. Once you are here for a year then the prices go to almost nothing. That said - having the opportunity to hunt and fish is worth the price of admission. My freezer is full of meat and fish that I get to relive each trip on when I thaw out dinner.

  15. #15
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default some other considerations...

    Mark, you won't even be considered a "resident" until you are here for one year, so that first year you will have to pay non-res prices for license and any tags.

    Alaska supplies more fish protein than other states; fish is a large part of our diet and the diet of many Alaskans. But 50-80 miles north of Fbks...that area is not really close to most of those fish supplies. Alaska is huge, so you will have to travel by some means to find fish and game. Most of us have either a boat or atv (or both) of some kind to access the backcountry. Some of us use private air-charters or even have our own planes. Those means of transportation ain't exactly cheap.

    A good garden and some hunting and fishing supplies many of us with 90% or more of our protein, like BrownBear mentioned. It will just take a little time to figure it all out and the best and cheapest way to do it, but certainly it can be done. The most underutilized and unrecognized source of great protein and fat is beaver...likely you could take enough beaver each year to supply your protein and fat needs.
    Good luck,

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Note the interior of Alaska is a tuff place to live off the land and thats why I will be returning to S.E.Alaska. Some places you can get deer,bear, goat and moose in the same area plus lots of fish and crab with very little travel.Of course not all of the S.E. is like that in fact most.The big islands have lots of land and few folks and fewer roads to get anywhere. If you were to bring anything to Alaska to take game besides guns bring a boat and motor that will let you run streams, lakes and coast line.

  17. #17
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Smile my two bits...

    the only real answer to your questions Mark, be prepared to buy a very large freezer or two and you'll love life here....

  18. #18
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Default

    The first year will be tough until you are a resident. Fishing might be a better option. Halibut and salmon fishing keep my freezer pretty full with about 2 good trips per year. After you are a resident, you can dip net for fish. Halibut fishing is a little pricey if you have to use a charter, but you can get quite a bit of meat from that. I generally do one good charter per year and usually get enough halibut to keep my wife and I happy for a year. Salmon has my 32 cubic foot freezer completely full.

    After you become a resident, moose, caribou and other game will be cheaper and easier to harvest.

  19. #19
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Mark -

    You can assume it will take several years before you learn the country and animals enough to become consistently successful. However, if you put in the shoe leather work and dedicate some time to it, you will have no problem getting all your meat from wild game before too long. There's plenty of critters in the interior.

    Since I moved back to Fairbanks 3 years ago, I hooked up with a good partner and we have averaged 2-4 caribou + 1 moose every year between our two families. That's around 600-900 lb/yr feeding 7 of us. I expect to have similar success rates for the forseeable future with maybe the odd off year due to major events. That's not the average for the state, but it's "realistic" for me. I don't own an ATV, airplane, or boat, but I'm willing to take some time off work to make it happen. And what I do have is the background knowledge that comes from being part of an alaskan family that has hunted this state since the 1930's. You aren't going to gain that overnight, but hard work and persistance will pay off within a few years. I'm sure it would be the same if I moved to Alabama.

    Brownbear also has a good point about trading foods. On a good berry year my wife has put up 100+ jars of jams, jellies, sauces an syrups. No, we can't eat it all ourselves, but giving it away usually results other good stuff coming back!

    Lot's of good advice on this thread. Especially about making friends. Might consider moving to someplace like Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Tok, etc until you get your feet under you. North of Fairbanks is pretty tough country and a little knowledge from some locals goes a long ways.

    Good luck,

    Yk

  20. #20
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default A note on the fish situation

    Mark,

    Unless you are planning to live off the road system somewhere, you should consider an annual trip to the Kenai, Kasilof or Copper rivers to dipnet salmon. I've been dipnetting the lower Kenai for about three years now and have been very successful in netting plenty of fresh sockeye salmon to last the whole year. I usually take a week down there because you never know exactly when the run will peak, but I'm usually done in two or three days. You cannot do this until you qualify as an Alaska resident, but it's a great way to stock up enough of Alaska's very best salmon for the smoker, the grill, or the oven.

    I second the garden idea; our daylight hours up north are so long that your garden should do quite well.

    Hope it helps!

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    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

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