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Thread: Frustrated wannabe Alaskan/Any LEOs here?

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    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    Default Frustrated wannabe Alaskan/Any LEOs here?

    Hey you lucky Alaskans,
    A very jealous NDT here. Wanted to live & hunt in Alaska since I saw "This Is My Alaska" at the age of 11, in 68'. Got my PPL in the late 80's with that in mind. Have made several seroius attempts to get up there, but I'm not going unless I can land work first, and all attempts to do so have fallen through. Last one was in 07'. Now at 53 and coming up fast on the end of my LE career (I'm a Deputy Chief of a 17 officer agency in ND, worked my way up from Patrolman over 28 years), and the financial crisis having ravaged my nest egg, it's looking like my window to get to Alaska has pretty much closed. So being, the best I can do, at least for now, is live vicariously through you gents who post here. I want to thank you for that as it gives a frustrated wannabe Alaskan a look into your world.

    I picked ND to live as to me it was the last best, most free place in the lower 48. I've lived here for 30 years now and I cannot complain much. Our deer population is considerably higher than humans (we have roughly 600,000 residents and about a million white & mule deer). The waterfowl & upland hunting is second to none and the deer hunting superb. We had a bit of a slow year for waterfowl and my two labs still split 150 some odd retrieves. I have my share of trophy whitetail (my office wall racks range from 128-153), all of which were taken within 20 miles of my farmstead. I bumped off this year's buck a mile from the yard, a basic 4x5 with 6" bases, 8" plus brows and 5 extra scorable trash points on each side. I grew up bowhunting before bows had wheels, and still do most of my bowhunting with recurves. I don't usually draw on anything I don't figure will go 125, and have my share of those as well.

    Still, it's not Alaska.

    Any Alaskan LEO/F&G, traditional archers, shooter gun accumulators (my safe is full & they are all shooters, I'm a certified LE sniper), gundog trainer types here, would love to hear from you guys.

    That is my explanation, now for a question...
    From lurking over the years, it seems obvious that unlike me being a rural ND guy, fairly easy access large game day hunts are rare up there. So being, how does an Alaskan who lives in say, Fairbanks and who doesn't own an aircraft, go about hunting moose/caribou (I'm just guessing they would be the most commonly sought critters). I'm assuming you have to have an air charter drop camp you somewhere, or you either own & launch your own boat, or charter one?

    I understand there are a lot of variables I don't know of such as game units, land boundaries & so forth. I'm just trying to get an idea how much work & prep & how much it costs a resident to hunt. If you don't have a plane, do you end up paying like a NR does?...

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    From lurking over the years, it seems obvious that unlike me being a rural ND guy, fairly easy access large game day hunts are rare up there. So being, how does an Alaskan who lives in say, Fairbanks and who doesn't own an aircraft, go about hunting moose/caribou (I'm just guessing they would be the most commonly sought critters). I'm assuming you have to have an air charter drop camp you somewhere, or you either own & launch your own boat, or charter one?

    I understand there are a lot of variables I don't know of such as game units, land boundaries & so forth. I'm just trying to get an idea how much work & prep & how much it costs a resident to hunt. If you don't have a plane, do you end up paying like a NR does?...
    well NDT... myself i just wait for one to walk on by.. there is a lot of hunting we can do immediately around fairbanks... Anchorage is the area with all the restrictions.

    as for prep work? honestly depends on what you want to do.. how bad you want to fill a tag, and how much you have to learn to find your area... honestly once your set up with all the stuffs, and know where your going.. moose season only cost a few hundred buck each year. however depending on your personal NEED list.. IE" boat, plane, wheelers, you may have a few mortgage payments to make for many years to come...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Sent ya a PM

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    I have found Access and Transportation to be the KEY factors to good hunting and fishing. Also the most costly. To hunt from the road system is by far the cheapest, for us living along it. Most serious hunters eventually end up with multiple forms of transport, to gain a little distance from the rest. Some build their equipment, others buy it. Not at all unusual for a guy to have a plane, couple of snowmachines, couple of ATV's, a Riverboat of sorts, a canoe/raft and a backpack. Seasons along the roads are short, but the further you get from town, generally speaking, the longer the seasons. For the guy content with hunting a few weeks a year, he could easily get by with just a backpack. Some don't like to eat game, others prefer it over commercially produced meat. The more you like it, and the more mouths you have to feed, can dictate much of the amount of time, energy, money and effort one has to expend, to meet their demand. The dynamics of game populations are another huge factor up here. There are huge swings in the game populations in given areas. When you find your old haunt in short supply, you have no choice but to expand your range.
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    NDterminator...that was a very fine post. Let me just say a couple of things before answering your question. Moving to Alaska from the rural midwest (via Colorado) is the third best decision of my life (marrying my wife and having children are #'s 1 and 2). I have now lived here for twenty-five years and my children have grown-up eating moose, caribou, blacktail and black bear. My daughter took her first moose this fall, my son has taken blacktail, black bear and mountain goat...and I was with each of them when they did. It has been a wonderful life. That said, your life sounds pretty good, too. For example, I think I would really enjoy a prairie-dog shoot...we do have ground squirrels up here but we have to either salvage the meat or hide when we shoot one (that REALLY IS in our hunting regulations).

    AKres hit the nail on the head to your question. Access and transportation are very important...and it CAN get real complicated but not always. If a guy just wants to spend some time in the woods and call moose, then he only needs to cut the bottom out of an anti-freeze jug and walk into the woods from a parked truck. I know a family that does just that and they get a moose every year with a bow and arrow. You don't have to go deep into the wilderness to get a moose. I think more moose are hit and killed each year by cars, trucks and trains than harvested by hunters (I think I'm right on that).

    That said, I'm one of those guys who likes the adventure of hunting with close friends or family, so I want to get back into the country as far as I can and spend 7-10 days out there each trip. This fall (mid-August to the first week in October) I spent more nights in my tent than in my bed...and it was great. Since I have lived here a while I have acquired many tools to help me get to where I like to be, e.g., snow machine, canoe, Zodiac, and four-wheeler. However, once my tools get me where I want to be then I walk alot and climb high...and then my tools help me get that animal back out. I'm about your age and while I can still hump a hind quarter on my back I sure don't want to do that any more unless absolutely necessary...and it's really extra fun when wearing hips boots and walking through a bog (we have alot of wetland up here).

    I have never used the services of a guide, but I have occassionally used transporters (float plane and boat). Alaska is a huge place, and there are some places that require the use of transporters or you simply won't get there. I want to also add that even though you spend a wad of cash on an hour long float plane flight, it doesn't mean that you will be all alone in the wilderness when you get there. Even though Alaska is truly big, it is also getting crowded and some hunting areas are quite small and easily overwhelmed. I have seen it change alot in the short time that I have been here.

    I hope that I have added to your mental image of our wonderful state without appearing arrogant, and I apologize to the other readers for such a long post.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    NDT,

    I along with many Alaskans moved up here with not so much as a place to stay when we got here. I had just retired from the Army as an MP in Kentucky, put everything I owned in storage except with I could put in two Pickups, a small popup camper and a family in tow with not so much as a job interview scheduled. Most bussiness/companies will not give you the time of day, until you set foot on the ground. I got a job in 3 days, and still here after 12.5 years. Was it a tough road? Hell yes. Would I do it all over again? In a New York Second! Take the Plunge if its really your dream. Don't die wishing you didn't give it your best shot. Alaska unemployment right now is 8%

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    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great replies & PMs. I'm thinking I might just fit in up there...

    Doc, P-Dogs are a ball. I have to drive about 5 hours west to get into them. NDGF usually has a list of landowners that want the towns on their properties thinned. You can burn a lot of ammo in a weekend of P-dogging and you can really get to know your rifles well doing it. Most of the time when we go we take several rifles each, it's a great way to test new loads & calibers. I'm thinking next trip I might include my 338 Mag with the usual varmint rifles as I don't shoot it much (have taken one bull elk with it, shot it from the bench yesterday just for the hell of it). I'm betting it takes care of P-Dogs just peachy. Wouldn't know what to do with them if we had to utilize them other than as long range targets. P-Dog BBQs maybe?..

    ND is kind of a weird place in that even though it's primarily prairie and we don't have too many trees, we do have huntable numbers of moose, elk, and bighorn. Those are once in a life time resident only tags. I drew a moose tag in 91' and killed a big cow about an hour north of my place, near the Canadian border. Man, did the work start when that hit the ground! The moose range starts about 17 miles north of my farmstead but it's not terribly unusual to have them show up around here. A couple years ago a cow & calf took up residence in a slough 1/2 mile west of my barn, we could watch them every evening throughout the Spring & Summer. This morning I had moose sausage courtesy of a road kill that a State Trooper buddy & one of my officers claimed after working the accident that happened a bit NE of my place...

    I've put in for elk & bighorn with no luck for over 20 years. I've seen a number of 3/4 curl or better rams out in the Badlands over the years. That bighorn tag is highly coveted, the state usually gives out one or maybe two by lottery, and another is sold at auction with the proceeds goinf back into the program. That tag always goes for some serious 5 figures...

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    NDT- I concur with a lot of what has been said. I do plenty of day hunts. I just park the jeep and take off walking up the hills. I occasionally borrow a wheeler and sometimes rent a snowmachine or canoe. You can spend a lot getting far in the backcountry on a transporter or you can spend just a little gas to get down the road a piece. I know guys that kill critters every year using both methods.

    Finding a job form Outside is a tough row to hoe. I looked for 6 mos. prior to moving here without any success; I was very nervous about finding employment here. My first visit to a potential employer in person resulted in a job- I started that day. If you want to be in AK then I'd just move on up. You can always move back if it don't work out.

    Later on in my career I've done a fair amount of hiring. I think I run about 50% success getting an out of state candidate to accept a job and only about 50% of those actually show up and stay 1 year. So I can see where potential employers are reluctant to spend much time on an out-of-state prospect. No substitute for boots on the ground.

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    Member B&C 04's Avatar
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    I've been trying for those tags for about 15 years with no luck but my grandfather connected on a cow moose up by Rugby this year. Looking forward to gettin' back to our home state next year. Funny the little things that a person comes to miss that is often overlooked while we are there, for me it's Mule deer/Whitetail, Speed Goats and all the birds a guy's shoulder can handle...
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    Your dilemma about getting up to Alaska for the BIG hunt involves Priorities. I`m saving for my third and possibly last hunting trip to Alaska. I`ve killed a nice Dall sheep and a real nice Mountain goat and have sent up my deposit to hunt grizzly in May next year. It takes me about 3 or 4 years to save enough to go each time but it has been my Priority to get there while I still can. I don`t get a new pickup every 3 or 4 years and I go without many other non essentials in order to do these hunts. I can`t have my cake and eat it too----My wallet is the wrong size!!! Nearly everything revolves around the almighty dollar. It`s just how one decides to use it. GOOD LUCK---hope you make it up there. It`s a special place!

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    Member NDTerminator's Avatar
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    Hodgeman, that makes a lot of sense. ND has not been hit as hard as other states with the recession (thanks to an oil patch boom out in the western part of the state), but for my agency's most recent single opening we had applicatants from all over the country apply. THere were a lot of great looking & sounding apps that ended up not making the trip for the interview. One young guy we interviewed drove here from the UP of Michigan! Really nice young guy, too bad we didn't have more openings because I would love to had him in our patrol division (came in 4th and would currently be 3rd).

    B&C, you really put put it into perspective nicely. we have friends old & new come up to hunt waterfowl with us every Fall (I usually take 2 weeks off during Early Goose and another 2 of during General Waterfowl) and they often go bonkers over what I consider a mediocre hunt. This sometimes makes me look at it through new eyes. I thorough enjoy showing friends who have never experienced it
    field hunting like you see on the TV shows. I also have a couple pass & water decoy spots I consider to be quintessentially ND that always make a lasting impression. I love all waterfowling but to call in & land honkers mere feet from the blinds is tops. And great gundog work too. The more we hunt, the more work my labs Josie & Sunny get. Goose dogs are born, not made, and I proudly claim to own two of the best in the Lake Region. Or maybe they own me. I never can keep that straight.

    Again, thank you guys for making me feel welcome and answering my questions. I post a lot on Nodak Outdoors and understand how tedious answering a newbies questions can be...

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