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Thread: PWS Fall Hunt Questions

  1. #1
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Default PWS Fall Hunt Questions

    I have a couple of questions regarding a Prince William Sound deer and/or bear hunt in the fall. Currently thinking of Montague or nearby island, but open to any ideas. I'm also interested in Kodiak for the same purpose if that is a better option. A friend from back home wants to come up and go hunting, and I'm not hiring a guide. We can't afford a far north caribou trip and I don't want to fool with a huge swamp donkey, so I have narrowed our hunting choices to deer and bear.

    1. No boat or plane. Will need one or the other. I dunno?
    2. I realize the weather is never good in PWS, but is it better to have bad weather early or late in the season?
    3. If I bring along a relative from back home, would it be better to try for deer AND bear or focus one one or the other? I'll be the guide, so you can imagine how well this hunt is going to go.
    4. Is it better to go out of Whittier or Valdez or Seward or???

    Thanks a bunch. If you know of anything else that might keep me from drowning, freezing, or otherwise meeting a sad end, feel free to share it as well.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Obviously I would only be chasing deer and ducks on Kodiak. I hope that wards off the lecture on hunting regulations that would have surely followed.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    With your statement of not being able to "afford a far north caribou trip," either of your options won't be any cheaper I am afraid. You won't be able to do any bear on Kodiak unless you draw a tag, no black bears on Kodiak. You are in Fairbanks so Valdez may be a better option than Seward or Whittier. No matter where you go a small inflatable will greatly increase your chances. Sometimes it is better to focus on one species rather than trying for two. Allot depends on how much time you are willing to spend. How much money you want to spend(transportation to where you start hunting) And your preparation will determine your final outcome.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I agree with plardds, From Fairbanks it don't get much cheaper than to drive up north. Valdez is about the same distance, once you get there you need to get out in the Sound. Fall weather can be a beast leaving you stranded waiting on weather to leave. The deer are mostly on the islands and the Black bears on the mainland. About the cheapest you could go would be a drop off in the Valdez Arm for bears, a run out to Hitch or Monty will cost a bunch.

    I'm in Fairbanks if you would like to have a chat.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Maybe I mis-spoke about the affording the north trip part. I should have said that I prefer the idea of being able to fish and hunt for deer and black bear and sea ducks for roughly the same price of one lousy non-resident caribou. It's all about value, especially with a non-resident along.

    I can't imagine going all the way to PWS for bear that can be hunted 45 minutes from Fairbanks. So let's say that this is a deer hunting trip and a bear would be a bonus. How much to get to an island with enough stuff to camp for a week or longer, and is a boat a better way to get that amount of stuff there?

    Remember, this is one resident and one non-resident. Sure, tags are expensive for non-residents, but they don't cost as much as guides and long plane rides to NPR-A. So if I am the "guide," what is the most cost effective way to get my non-resident "client" to a deer? I'll figure out the bushwhacking and mountain climbing the same way I figured out other stuff up here. I just can't swim that far.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    If money is the main factor, I would save up and just go to Kodiak. He could meet you in Kodiak and you both could fly out with Andrews or Seahawk, way more deer there than in PWS.

    A boat would be the cheapest way out especially coming back with the extra meat weight. Sometimes groups are looking for a few to fill a boat, this might be your cheapest option.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    I would also refrain from even insinuating that you would be the "guide" and your friend as a "client." Just trying to save you some future troubles.

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    Stids as knowledge a guy on this site as anyone but it looks like you've been around awhile so you probably already know that. As for prince william sound I'd say a boat is the best way on and off the island but I'm thinking about coming from the west side and not the east. Weather effects the planes alot more than boats with fog, rain, and such. The main factor with boats is the wind which also effects the plane.

    I say look into booking a cabin in Montague or nearby islands, since that's where you already suggested. Then get a ride into the cabin and start hunting. You could pick up a bear tag just in case you run across one but Montague is mainly known for its brown bears. Also, I don't know about Kodiak, but in PWS, typically the weather continues to deteriorate as the season progresses so September is normally good, October okay, November getting pretty bad and so on. Its tough to pick a time in November to go out and not be affected by the weather. That all being said, I agree with what stid said, if you can swing it I think Kodiak is a much more successful hunt for deer.

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    I had a friend that rode the ferry to Cordova and had a transporter shuttle them from Cordova to the cabin on Hinchinbrook Island the cost was pretty low for them and they had good luck hunting but did have to get about 3 miles from the cabin before they started seeing deer. He said that if he went again he would bring an inflatabe and small motor to travel a little more. But they had a good time and it was not that much money for what they did, cant remember the exact price but I was suprised it was not more when he told me.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Tony's got a great idea, particularly coming from Valdez. I don't think its the cheapest to do this from Whittier but possibly Valdez. As far as having to hike, plan on it if you can't cruise the beaches in a boat. The deer are very educated out there so plan on a bit of work to get them. Get up high or hope for snow to push them low.

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    Send me a pm Skinny. What's your time frame? I'll give you some ideas.
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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    If you are looking to hunt black bears you need to stay off Montague and Hinchinbrook since they only contain brown bears.

    If you are looking for a brown bear for yourself on the hunt and deer for your friend then I would hunt Kodiak and get a road system registration tag for yourself for brown bear.

    Whatever your choice a small inflatable with a motor will greatly increase the ground you can cover.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polardds View Post
    I would also refrain from even insinuating that you would be the "guide" and your friend as a "client." Just trying to save you some future troubles.
    This whole veiled language thing on the message board is annoying. I'm not sure how difficult it might be to learn Navajo, but I think if we all use that language, the Possum Cops will never figure us out. From now on, black bears are going to be "turtles" and blacktails are going to be called "goats." This might become confusing since there are already goats being mentioned, so what we previously knew to be goats will now be called "chickens." We should continue the use of "sheep" in its traditional context as it will sound particularly odd to suggest anything but a sheep has a full curl.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    This is where I got stuck in the earlier thread. I suggested that I take the ferry over to Kodiak with my boat and motor in the back, then try to drive/boat far enough to find deer.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    This is where I got stuck in the earlier thread. I suggested that I take the ferry over to Kodiak with my boat and motor in the back, then try to drive/boat far enough to find deer.

    That sounds like a great plan to me and one I have given a lot of thought to as I have some friends that really want to go over there and do some deer hunting and maybe fishing. The ferry is very economical in that way allowing one to bring extra gear and be comfortable as well as increase there ability to get around via boats or atvs.

    By going that route you could make it one heck of a combination hunt, bear, deer, ducks, and fish!

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    This is where I got stuck in the earlier thread. I suggested that I take the ferry over to Kodiak with my boat and motor in the back, then try to drive/boat far enough to find deer.
    You need an ocean boat, not a river boat for either portion of your plan.

    Many guys have used small/medium inflatables for their near shore adventures and one of these will fit into the back of your truck. If you use a RIB it will be on a trailer, but a safer option.

    Tony has a great piece of advice about Cordova to Hinch. Very small inflatable with a 5hp and some of those bays on the north and west are yours. If there is no snow up in the mid elevations you will need to hike to the timber to find the deer. If yoy go late in November and there is snow on the ground, bring one of those roll up sleds to haul the deer out with.

  17. #17
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    That's good information. I sure do appreciate it.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    I think a lot depends on whether you want to just hunt deer (go to the sound) or have the best deer hunt of your life (kodiak).
    Timing should be from the 3rd week of October thru mid-November. You will hit some bad weather - no prob as long as you are prepared.
    I'd try for the southern part of Kodiak, where the deer herd is somewhat less affected by winter (lower winter-kill figures - usually).
    Figure on spending $2000-$3000 for the air taxi. You also need to figure on hotel time at the beginning of the hunt (if you aren't able to fly on your scheduled day). About $2000 each should cover expenses - maybe a little more for your out of atate family. If your going to hunt ducks, you'll need some sort of raft - for retrieving.
    Kodiak is one of the great hunts available for nonresidents up, IMO.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    I had a friend that rode the ferry to Cordova and had a transporter shuttle them from Cordova to the cabin on Hinchinbrook Island the cost was pretty low for them and they had good luck hunting but did have to get about 3 miles from the cabin before they started seeing deer. He said that if he went again he would bring an inflatabe and small motor to travel a little more. But they had a good time and it was not that much money for what they did, cant remember the exact price but I was suprised it was not more when he told me.
    Steve Raneny at Orca Adventure Lodge could help w/the transport out of Cordova. However, I agree w/stid, Kodiak is my first choice for deer.
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

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    A buddy of mine drew a bear tag for Kodiak spring bear hunt (this year). He'll be taking his boat (which is about a 26 to 28' grayling) on the ferry to Kodiak. I think he plans on living on the boat and running an inflatable to get where he wants ... in and out of bays. I think his plan is to ferry the boat back as well. So, your earlier suggestion is definitely a viable one ...

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