Trying to plan a first hunt...
Greetings from the lower 48!
Last summer my wife and I made our first trip up to Alaska. We spent a few days on Prince William Sound site seeing and then 5 days on Kodiak watching bears and halibut/silver fishing. We loved it and have already planned to return late this summer for a similar trip.
Alaska is an incredible place and I enjoy our summer trips but I'm really getting the itch to push inland and try some hunting. I'd like to plan a trip for the fall of 2011. My number 1 goal is to see some cool country and have a true Alaska wilderness experience. My second goal is to possibly take an animal (caribou and/or moose). The party size would probably be 4 people with 2 hunters and 2 others just out for an adventure (and to help pack meet if that happens). We hunt together regularly in the Colorado high country and feel fairly secure living out of a backpack for an extended time.
I've talked to a few transporters and they've been very cooperative and helpful but they've either got a set thing they offer (and I'm not certain that its a great match for what I want) or they'll take you where you want to go (but I don't know where that is yet).
Can anyone offer up some ideas? I can't stress enough that the point is to have an Alaskan adventure (seeing game, fishing, hearing a wolf howl, etc). If I get serious about knocking something down I'll plan a dedicated trip for a hunt in the future (but I don't want to rule anything out if there's opportunity).
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and help. I'm glad there's a resource such as this for research. From down here Alaska hunting can be a tough nut to crack.
David in Denver
has been sent.
Opps - I'm going to send an e-mail instead.
Last edited by Phil; 04-20-2010 at 05:32.
Reason: different idea.
Do you raft? Float hunts are becoming very popular. The owner of this site also runs a hunt planning company and is an expert on float hunting AK. He would be an excellent contact for you if that is something you would be interested in. Do a search for Mike Strahan.
we're up for anything.
I would say we're up for anything. I spoke to Mike last week and I think he'll be very helpful. I'm just trying to get more direction from folks that have been so I can narrow down what sort of trip we want.
A dream hunt would be like the 700 miles alone video.
Something I would lean away from would be a tent on the tundra waiting for a good bull to wonder by.
hope that helps,
Well if you are leaning away from a tent on the tundra waiting for a bull, then your only real option is a float hunt. BTW, caribou migrate and keep moving. Hunting from a tent camp for caribou in a good area is a good way to get a bull. Anyway, you need to decide budget and preferred species. Moose and caribou don't inhabit the same area so you should pick a primary. On a float you can get both with some work and luck. And it will certainly be an adventure where you'll see a lot of cool country and have a wilderness experience.
hunt planning services
I haven't used them before, but Mike Strahan(owner of this site) and Larry Bartlett (pristine ventures) both offer hunt planning services. I've heard good things about both.
You can probably find a bunch of good info on this site. Also check out the fish and game site. As Bill mentioned, your budget and time will strongly influence this trip. If you can afford it, flying somewhere could improve your chances at success and will certainly add to the adventure.
A word of caution when planning a float hunt, learn about meat care. Someone shoots a bull the first day out and you are WORKING for the next week to keep it dry, safe from bears, not spoiling, etc. As I highlighted, this can be work especially for someone not used to having this concern. It can also be a very expensive lesson if the meat goes bad and fish & game finds you.
I am very familar with hunting in Colorado (been doing it for 35 years) and it isn't anything like here. A week sitting in a tent on the tundra experiencing Alaska can be great or not depending on everyones attitude but would be a good experience for me. Just getting out in this state is a good experience.
Others may disagree, but unless you've hunted here...participated in dressing a moose....camped where you have to rely only on what you brought in (there's no running to the store)....can judge a caribou or moose (which have antler restrictions)...know how to store 800 pounds of meat for a week without a refrigerator...and maybe know how to cape what you want to shoot (to include turning the nose, lips and ears because you're not close to taxidermist)...and not only know where you are going, but familiar with the area....I would hire a guide or a good outfitter at least. The "Alaska" experience can be life-threatening and ain't what you see on TV. You're new here, but look at all the threads of people that have lived and hunted here for years....still asking questions. I'm not saying it can't be done...only that you really don't know, how much you don't know and you'll have a better time with someone who does know. Same with anything.
I came up here 17 years ago with all kinds of grandiose expectations....all wrong. And have on a number of occasions, whether it's snowed-in, freezing rain that snapped our tent, creek rose and couldn't cross to get back to where we came in, road washed out behind us, moose dying in 4' of water, etc.; had it not been for being with friends that had lived here for a long time, it would've been bad. Play it safe and let someone else worry about every little detail it requires. It may be more expensive, but statistically you'll have a lot more of what you're looking for.
"We're all here cuz we're not all there"
Thanks for the input and feedback. Trust me, I'm not taking this lightly. That's why I'm starting my planning and research now.
I don't equate hunting down here to what it will be like up there but I think being proficient at living out of a pack down here will be helpful up there on whatever type of hunt we choose.
I think for the first trip up we'll try to keep things simple.
I can't afford a guided hunt.
Get Mikes book and start with that. There is also a couple of others like Hunt Alaska Now, Hunting in Alaska. You can find them in the store here. It was the way I started and now I'm hooked!! Read those and I would suggest using Mikes services for your first hunt and go from there. I guarantee that you wouldn't regret it.
The big difference here is the remoteness and quantity of game. If you aren't in a good spot you won't see much game....you might not even if you are.
If you can hump the Colorado mountains and backpack for a couple weeks you are more than qualified to hunt up here.
Sure, it is different - but isn't that why you want to come?