I just returned from Adak and thought I'd let you know how things are out there these days.
Tracey Harmon and his wife Kim came out there with me and they hunted while I was at work (I know, tough life...). I was able to accompany them on a few forays into the rolling hills though.
Tracey shot a pretty nice bull, and one very small one that came out to the road and surrendered. But other than that, the results were pretty disappointing. We saw caribou, but no bulls of trophy class. A few had width or length, but either had no tops, no bez tines, no back points, etc. Almost none of them had palmation anywhere, and the few that did were very small. On the few occasions when I actually had a rifle in my hands, I passed on a couple of average bulls. I would have shot a large one, but I don't need to shoot a caribou just to say I did. We already have meat in the freezer.
We spoke to a guide out there and he told us pretty much the same thing. We saw the evidence in his garage, with several racks from mediocre bulls shot by clients, and not a single big one. He told us that he will no longer be able to sell Adak as a trophy caribou hunt. The reason appears to be hordes of hunters who came out earlier this year, starting in August. They cherry-picked most of the big bulls while they were still in velvet. Antler tips were still growing and very soft (Mark told us they were translucent when the velvet was peeled off). These trophies will be worthless when the tips break off.
We ran into two guys from Southeast who nearly had a caribou stolen from them by three chuckleheads from North Pole (is it the water up there? I dunno...). Their story was that they shot a bull on the road system but had to run to town (about five minutes away) to drop a package off at the Post Office before it closed. They covered the animal with grass to keep the eagles off it, dropped the package off and returned with their knives (but left the guns home). When they got there there were three guys on it, claiming they shot it!? It almost got ugly but finally the three guys backed off and went away. We saw them later in the airport and I almost said something to them, but what good would it do? I know there are two sides to every story, but...
Anyway, sorry for such a bleak report, but it's looking like Adak has really been thrashed this year. The herd is only 3500 head and it just can't handle the kind of pressure it got this year. I spoke with the City Manager and he said there have been hunters coming in on every flight. We saw them everywhere. We went out glassing yesterday morning and saw at least six or seven separate hunters prowling around the same three-mile area. It's ridiculous.
Adak might be an okay meat hunt right now, but if you're looking for a big bull, I'd look elsewhere.