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Thread: Kodiak Blacktails: summer or fall?

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    Default Kodiak Blacktails: summer or fall?

    Planning a DIY Sitka Blacktail hunt on Kodiak. For those of you that have done this, would you recommend an early november hunt or late august hunt and please list pro's and con's for each.

    Thanks

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    Member Jeff U's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak

    PM sent to you.

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    Member ksaye's Avatar
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    I went the 3rd week of November and killed two nice bucks, shot some ducks, and caught some fish and dungeness crabs.

    Thoughts on the first week of November....
    1. (Pro) Deer are in the rut commonly equates to preoccupied bucks that are easier to hunt.
    2. (Pro) Early snow will push deer down to lower elevations;
    3. (Con) Daylight hours are shorter.
    4. (Pro) Potentialy less bear activity; but many bears will still be active.
    5. (Pro) Less chance of meat spoilage with cooler temps.
    6. (Pro) Could also duck hunt.
    7. (Con) Deer may have been hunted hard and weary (doubt it).
    8. Deer are out of velvet.

    Someone else with Aug experience can post their views.

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    August deer are tough to get to, but the meat is excellent. I took deer in August of 2008 and in November of 2009. The November hunt was alot easier and we saw a ton of bucks due to the rut. This year I will be doing my deer hunting in August, a heck of alot more hiking but the summer meat is the best I have ever had.

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    I was thinking of the same thing, not necessarily November tho, but I'd like to drive to Homer and ferry across.This way Id have my truck. But I keep hearing about this Naitive Land issue.And the other idea Im tossing around is still taking the Ferry across and then possibly chartering a flight.

    How does this sound to you veterens of Kodiak? Ive never hunted Blacktail,but its something Im looking at to trade off from caribou hunting. Thanks for any insights. Daniel

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    Member mekaniks's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak theplace to go

    I went last year in oct and tagged out. If you go in Aug be prepared to hike. The deer are generally still up high. When it snows later in the year OCT/NOV it pushes them lower to the beaches. GOOD LUCK!!

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Bugs !!

    I know we're supposed to be tougher than this but, Summer No See-Ums, Black flies, pretty intense in August, a non issue in November

    Everything is easier on the climbing end in November , if you have to at all as the Deer are much lower in November but if you have to work hard, the under brush is much thinner, makes it easier to be aware of Bears when you can see better around you as you field dress your deer. Also the climbing steeps is easier when Alders etc. are leafless

    Temps for your meat are ideal in November, not too bad in August but you have to deal with it right away. in November you usually have snow around to wipe out body cavity and begin cooling immediately

    But Bugs Bugs Bugs, It is a REAl Factor

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    My answer to August hunting is having Roland drop me off high enough that I don't have to walk far, the bugs aren't bad, and the bears are generally way down below me on the silvers. My August hunt in '08 was one of the most enjoyable I've ever had. We saw lots of deer, didn't have to work to hard for them, saw 1 bear, and no bugs.
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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    hunted southwest kodiak oct 31- november 9th 2008, lower sturgeon and karluk rivers....deer were generally still high as they could go, but its pretty easy hiking.....not much brush and very few trees...reminds me of sagebrush country. saw literally hundreds of deer and our group ( 3 of us with proxies and 5 without) brought back 27 bucks and 1 doe, plus 1 beautiful bear, and a few foxes. weather was pretty good till the end....was the best hunt id ever been on and that was my first kodiak trip. we are going back this year...., as last year that area was not hunted.



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    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    Default August or November

    August: warm, lots of daylight, bucks are predicable(spot and stalk they will be there and not chasing does), best meat, views are awesome from up on top, eat salmon berries on your way up, usually no one else is crazy enough to be near by.

    Novemberrrrr: can run into a buck on beach, more elussive bucks come out to chase does, usually not wary when hot on doe, calls work, no bugs,

    for meat I hunt in August, sept, for antlers I hunt in October, Nov, and December.
    Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs
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    Default weather

    If you're on a tight schedule, in November you are more likely to get weathered in or out. Your plane may be days late picking you up. Also depends where you get dropped. If you get dropped in an area where lots of people have been dropped ahead of you, the hunting might not be that great.

    Personally, I'm a mid Sept to late Oct guy myself. I'm looking for prime meat, little or no bugs and the weather is usually cool enough by then for the meat to keep well if you take a little care. And there have been a few frosts and most of the alder and salmon berry leaves have fallen making spotting easier.

    Not that I hate Nov and Dec deer hunting, heck any deer hunt on Kodiak or anywhere else is a good hunt. Just things sometimes get dicey weather wise. If you can afford to wait out a storm or two, no worries.
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    Member Emers7mm Magnums's Avatar
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    Default bucks in aug

    used to love kodiak blacktails in AUG- piece of cake if you want to get up high. Pick a road system mountain, climb to the alpine and pick what buck you want, quarter them up, throw it in the pack and head back down - usually they are hanging together bright red in the green grass - pray for a little bit of wind; bugs are horrible especially when you are stuck there cutting on a deer.

    I was stationed there in early 90's and late 90's - used to kill my road system 3X3 then wouldnt go again until fishing was over. First snow in Nov, head to Sultry. Boy were those the days.

    Now, thats what i thought would happen again last year, actually went week before thanksgiving, had to wait till later in year due to deployment, thought it would be even better - wow, was I wrong. Back in the day I dont think i ever 4 wheeled out of there without myself or partner getting a buck or two. Took a buddy for a guarantee meat hunt and got embarrassed (next year I'm going to his ranch for his guarantee in Texas, has to be better than mine). We didnt even see a deer in 4 days. Saw plenty of rubs and bear sign.

    I was hoping to take my kid over there in AUG this year to get his first deer, but i was so disappointed in last years NOV hunt, probably sticking around here for archery moose. Hopefully, this great weather we are having will help out alot. BUT, if you are going away from town and going south or west Kodiak, then it really doesnt matter, you will have a blast from what i read this year. Big boys and plenty of them...

    I would love to try it in AUG with the bow though...lot rambling, sorry
    Time to get back Uncle Ted stick some more bucks!!!

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Yeah, last year was terrible for the road system bucks, only 6 more months till the season opens again, hopefully this year will be better!!

  14. #14

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    Lots of great information. When we first talked about doing this hunt it was set up to be a mid november rut hunt. Have a plane drop us off and pick us up a week or so later. After seeing my buddies November Blacktail mount I knew that is what I wanted. Dark horns, beautiful dark cape with the distintictive double throat patch. Just an awesome looking mount.

    Recently I started reading alot about august hunts. Guys talking about the longer hunting days and bucks in velvet. I also like to fish on my hunting trips and it seems like the early months are more productive for fishing.

    Decisions,decisions. Please keep the info coming

  15. #15

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    I've killed them early August through late December. They are fun to hunt anytime of the year. That said I'd take mid to late September as my favorite hunting time. The bugs are down, the meat is still excellent, the horns are out of velvet, the days are still long(ish) and the bucks are in bachelor groups up in the alpine.
    Roadsystem will be rough for a couple years due to the past 4 winters of die offs on the north end. Last years fawn crop should make it through, but it will still take a few years for it to build back up.
    Other things to consider. August fishing is really good out in the salt for kings, silvers, and halibut. The rivers will still be full of pinks though so stream fishing can be agravating. September silvers are in the rivers and halibut out in the salt. October duck season and late run silvers (early Oct). November seaducks start showing up in good numbers. December lots of seaducks, but bucks start dropping antlers mid month.

    Here's my velvet buck from last August.



    A late September buck.



    An early October buck.



    A mid November buck. (Notice the clothing in the pictures.)


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    Disclaimer: I have limited experience with this (one trip), and there are many on this forum (on this thread in fact) that have much broader and deeper knowledge than I.

    That being said, I am willing to share some of my reasons for choosing the Southern end August hunt on my first go-round. Primarily, I wanted to see Kodiak in all its green and wildflower alpine glory. It did not disappoint. I also wanted longer and hopefully sunnier days to enjoy it. The thought of finding some solitude before goat hunting began was also a consideration. As was the reputation of superior meat quality. The meat is the best tasting venison I've ever had. I'm sure the November meat is also good. I do not mind hiking or working hard on my hunts, so the spot and stalk approach is appealing to me (think orange on green up high and undisturbed). We could find bucks over a mile away, and then decide if we wanted to set chase. Although we intended to mix in some fishing that did not materialize. I would like to atone in the future. We saw a few bears and many goats which augmented the spectacular natural scenery. Meat care was a concern, and something that needs attention. But we did not have too much trouble with that. We knew bugs could be an issue, but found little trouble there either. Not sure if that was because of elevation, breeze, unusual year? It was a terrific hunt, and I'd be happy to do it again.

    Yet I feel the urge to try a September hunt and an October hunt and a November hunt. . . . . . . I tend to believe they are all good for different reasons. You just need to match up your expectations and desires with the proper season, and you'll have a great time. Kodiak is a special place, and I now understand why so many hunters go there regularly. Even though there are so many places in Alaska that I want to explore, I envision Kodiak hunts as something that could take a place in a regular rotation. If I am hunting and fishing elsewhere in August and September then I can go in November. . . . . . . I am already mentally planning my next trip. Good luck with yours.

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    I have hunted Kodiak Blacktail five of the last seven years both in tent camps and at a lodge. Three of those trips were delayed in or out of the field by weather resulting in either a hotel bill or a few more nights in a tent.

    If you intend to tent, plan on getting wet and cold if you go later than Sept. Our first trip was the last week of Oct on the Southend of the island. Wind, rain, sleet, snow and some sun all week. Plenty of deer, but also plenty of bear. Bring a bear fence for camp and one for your meat hanging area. Boondocks in Eagle River rents them for a decent price.

    Also have to worry about the higher lakes freezing over in Oct which may require a longer stay while the lake thaws again. Be sure to consider access the later you go and always plan for a few extra days in the field. The wonderful Kodiak weather likes to keep the float planes in town.

    The last three winters have been bad on the deer population on the Northern end of the island. You are only allowed one deer from the road system so taking the ferry over may not be worth it for one deer.

    I put in for Kodiak goat this year. If drawn, I will use air miles to Kodiak, fly in high for goat, use the sat phone to call for pickup and then get dropped off lower for a few days of deer hunting before flying back to Anchorage.

    Hope this helps. If not, feel free to ask.

  18. #18

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    Great info guys.

    If we do chose a late august hunt, and a deer is shot on Day 1 of a 10 day hunt, how difficult will it be to care for the meat and velvet antlers?

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Velvet antlers are tough. My kids shot his on Aug 20th and the velvet was ready to come off at that point, and did so while handling the deer.

    As for the meat we brough a BIG cooler and ziplock bags. I boned out the deer on the spot, washed and dried the meat, and put them in ziplock bags. We had the benefit of having snow a short hike away and just kept the cooler full of snow. If I had to keep the meat for very long I would likely have sunk the meat in the lake in well sealed bags.

    Make sure you bring a Sat phone. Often the airtaxis are flying right by your area and will do a meat pickup for a small charge.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ny jeff View Post
    Lots of great information. When we first talked about doing this hunt it was set up to be a mid november rut hunt. Have a plane drop us off and pick us up a week or so later. After seeing my buddies November Blacktail mount I knew that is what I wanted. Dark horns, beautiful dark cape with the distintictive double throat patch. Just an awesome looking mount.

    Recently I started reading alot about august hunts. Guys talking about the longer hunting days and bucks in velvet. I also like to fish on my hunting trips and it seems like the early months are more productive for fishing.

    Decisions,decisions. Please keep the info coming
    check out the fishing and bucks of this last November!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs
    www.kodiakcombos.com

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