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Thread: Planning my 1st alaska trip

  1. #1

    Default Planning my 1st alaska trip

    My buddy & I our planning our 1st Alaska trip (looks like Sept 2009) and I have been researching all weekend & today (should be working but work isn't as fun) and I have a ton of questions, but one that I feel is the most important in order for us to start planning & was hoping some locals could help me out. We are planning an unguided flyin hunt (can't afford the guide fees) & would like to be in an area were we have the potential to hunt bison, elk & moose. From my research this doesn't seem to be possible, I was wondering if you guys think it is. If not, what areas do you recommend for a good Elk & or bison population? Thanks in advance
    Charlie

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    First of all, bison hunting in Alaska is by drawing (lottery) permit only. You can apply for these permits in May for hunts the same year, but the odds of winning this permit is less than 1% in most cases. It is largely considered a once in a lifetime permit and cannot be counted on when planning a hunt in advance.

    Second, Alaska has quite little in the way of elk hunting. All of our elk are concentrated on 4 islands: Afognak and Raspberry Islands in the Gulf of Alaska, and Etolin and Zerembo (sp?) Islands in Southeast. These hunts are also by drawing permit, though the odds are a little higher of drawing. There are also sometimes registration hunts for elk in the late fall (November) if the herd numbers allow, but you cannot plan on this in advance.

    That leaves moose. Moose are present over a large area of the state and most areas only require an over-the-counter tag. This would probably be the easiest of these three to plan a hunt for. In addition, you may be able to find an area that allows you a combo hunt for moose/caribou/black bear. Personally, I would target caribou as a first time hunter in Alaska, but moose is doable if you plan well and are willing to work hard at packing/meat care.

    Good luck in your planning - you came to a great source for information!

    -Brian

  3. #3

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    Brian,

    Thanks for your reply & your answers were pretty much what I expected. If we want to hunt moose & carabou is there an area that you would recomend? I found a chater called aniak air guides that seemed to be good but I have a few questions. Are they hunting a good area for moose & caribou and secondly have you heard anything about their reputation? Thanks

    Charlie

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    No, its not possible. The bison are drawing hunts only and the chance of drawing are very slim. There were 5 hunts for the 06/07 season. The best odds on one of the drawings was a 3% draw, the others were 2 or 1%.
    On at least one of the bison hunts you are assigned hunt periods that may not coincide with anything else. There's only a couple game management areas where there is both a moose and an elk season, GMU 1, the south east is one of them but the moose is either a registration hunt or drawing hunt. Same for GMU 3. There are good numbers of Rossevelt (I believe) elk on Afognak Island, also drawing or registration hunts. There may be others I'm not aware of but basically, I wouldn't consider a combo hunt for the three species listed a doable.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cmizo View Post
    Brian,

    Thanks for your reply & your answers were pretty much what I expected. If we want to hunt moose & carabou is there an area that you would recomend? I found a chater called aniak air guides that seemed to be good but I have a few questions. Are they hunting a good area for moose & caribou and secondly have you heard anything about their reputation? Thanks

    Charlie
    In all honesty, your best bet is to focus on one species - either moose or caribou. A combo hunt is a possibility, which is why I mentioned it, but sometimes that ends up being the worst of both worlds in that habitat that holds both moose and caribou is often marginal habitat for both. That being said, there are a few good areas for a combo hunt, those being Northwest Alaska out of Kotzebue or Bettles and Southwest Alaska out of Illiamna or Dillingham. Of course, the caribou populations in Southwest Alaska have crashed, so that isn't a great option for caribou. Whether planning a combo hunt or a caribou only hunt, I would focus on the Kotzebue area. If thinking of moose only or moose/bear, then your options are much wider.

    I am not familiar with Aniak Air Guides, but if you do a search through the forum archives you will probably find that they have been discussed before.

    -Brian

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Moose are present over a large area of the state and most areas only require an over-the-counter tag.

    -Brian
    Might want to research that statement, Brian. A more accurate comment would be "some" areas offer an over the counter tag. Alot of areas are a draw for moose now, especially for non res. and that includes unit 23 out of Kotz.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  7. #7

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    What is your favorite area for a moose/bear hunt & what what is your favorite are for caribou? Thanks so much for your help & if you ever want to hunt micky mouse or alligator let me know

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Might want to research that statement, Brian. A more accurate comment would be "some" areas offer an over the counter tag. Alot of areas are a draw for moose now, especially for non res. and that includes unit 23 out of Kotz.
    Fair enough, marten. Never claimed to be perfect...just trying to help the guy out with some very general starting points. There is strength in numbers, which is what makes this site so great!

    Thanks for the correction.

    -Brian
    Last edited by Brian M; 03-05-2007 at 14:20. Reason: Removed comment that was poorly worded.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cmizo View Post
    What is your favorite area for a moose/bear hunt & what what is your favorite are for caribou? Thanks so much for your help & if you ever want to hunt micky mouse or alligator let me know
    I don't have a "favorite" for either. I have only done 2 fly-out hunts, and neither was for moose or caribou. It is my understanding that Kotzebue or Bettles are the places to go for caribou. As for moose, there are lots of options. I hunt moose and caribou off the road system, but the success rates are generally lower and the regulations at times more complex (especially for caribou in road-accessible areas). Do some searches through the forums using a variety of key words. You will find an incredible wealth of info. Happy planning!

    -Brian

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    Default Heed the warnings about multi-species hunts

    CMIZO - If you are bent on going self guided, first opporuntity you have, get yourself a copy of Dennis Confer's book "HUNT ALASKA NOW - Self Guiding for Moose Caribou and Bear".

    Read it, re-read it, and follow the instructions....this is all you will need.


    My first trip to AK was (self guided) Kotzebue in 1999 for Caribou - bagged 2 book animals.

    Second trip (also self guided) I got greedy and wanted Caribou, Moose, and Black Bear - ended up with nothing.

    Third trip went back to the basics (self guided) and was very successful.

    The wolf pop'n in certain areas, the crash of the caribou herd in the SW, and the changing regs are reason enough to go guided...not to mention the inticacies of dealing with the Bush Pilot/Air Taxis/Air Freight/etc... which the first time typically underestimates.

    If you have not been there, or anywhere similar (if such a place exists) you will be overwhelmed...I strongly suggest that you either go self-guided with someone who has done it before, or go guided. The extra money you pay to go guided will be returned to you many times over.

    I would strongly suggest the following: 1. Regardless of Moose or Caribou go as late in the season as possible...the temps in early Spet have been too warm to accomodate movement by Caribou in most parts of the state. 2. Skip the multi species plan... many $$$$ with minimla payback.

    PM me for a host of other free info.

    TK

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